Termites are a major pest in Alabama, especially in the spring and summer months when they begin to swarm. They are capable of wreaking havoc on the structural integrity of your home if left alone for long enough.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, termites result in billions of dollars worth of damages each year. They are also difficult to remove once established. Finding out the house you just purchased comes with a nest of termites and existing damage after you paid is not a pleasant experience. You may wonder about the legality of the sale.
It is not illegal to sell
It is legal to sell a house infested with termites. It is also legal to sell a house damaged by them.
It is not illegal not to disclose
While the law permits individuals to sell infested homes, it requires them to inform you about any defects that may result in your harm, such as lead paint or asbestos insulation. It also requires disclosure if there exists a fiduciary relationship between you and the seller (the person is a doctor or someone else who bears a legal responsibility not to go against your best interests). Termites do not necessarily fall under these umbrellas, so the seller does not have to tell you without prompting about an infestation or damage (unless the damage poses a security risk).
It is illegal to neglect to answer truthfully when asked
If you directly inquire about termites, regulations decree the seller must provide the asked-for information. This includes the results of prior pest inspections. The seller may not conceal or obfuscate information.
Termites are a serious problem. If you purchased a home and a seller lied to you about their previous or current presence, you may have legal options.