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Who is looking after your Rental Property?

One of our technicians recently discovered this termite riddled property when the new Letting Agent (who we work in conjunction with regularly) requested we do an Annual Termite Inspection.

On arriving onsite our technician inspected the property and was shocked to see such extensive active termite activity that hadn’t been identified before it got to this stage. He estimated it would of taken 2 years for the house to get to this state. Unfortunately the structure of the property has been severely compromised and this property is no longer inhabitable.

As there is no insurance to cover this the Home Owner is now left with a property that cannot be rented out, which will require demolishing…. Which will reduce their Asset from a House and Land to just a block of Land… If the House and Land had a Mortgage over it this could leave the owner with a severe debt that isn’t supported by assets of equal or higher value.

How did it get to this?

In this case the Tenant either didn’t notice or didn’t care enough to notify anyone. The Rental Agent didn’t do regular inspections on the property (though some rental agents wouldn’t recognise Termite Activity in the early stages, by this stage it is fairly obvious something is wrong) or the activity wasn’t noticed by them. The letting agent didn’t ensure a yearly termite inspection was done by a licensed professional termite inspector….Finally the homeowner didn’t keep on top of their own records to ensure the property was having at least an Annual Termite Inspection and relied too heavily on their letting agent to take care of things.

What should you do?

At a minimum we recommend Annual Termite Inspections of a property. This won’t stop termites but will in general let you know before the entire structure is no longer viable. There are however some species of termite such as Coptotermes Acinaciformis and Schedorhinotermes which are extremely aggressive and will consume hardwood. They can consume 9KG of pine per week…. so not much of your house frame left.

But my home has a cyprus or a treated wood frame or a steel frame SO I’m fine…. Aren’t I? Well yes and no… A treated wood frame will generally repel termites, but our technicians have seen homes where the termites have done damage to the treated frame. This is usually because the chemical the frame is treated with has a 25yr guarantee so if the frame is older than 25yrs the chemical could well of completely dissipated. Cyprus is not their favourite meal but they will consume it if there is nothing else available. Usually though a homeowner will believe their homes has a cyprus frame and on closer inspection our operators discover it is mostly pine with a few cyprus roof trusses. So a homeowner can be feeling a false sense of security.

How about a steel frame? OK this one is definitely protected from termite attack.. however the door frames, window sills, skirting boards etc that are wood are not protected. Termites will eat plasterboard down to the paint work!

Whats the best option to protect your home?

The best option is to install a Post Construction Subterranean Termite Barrier. This will create a chemical barrier around your home to repel termites from subterranean or underground attack. If you have a barrier that was installed in the pre-construction phase this type of barrier forces the termites out to an entry point that is visible so can be seen on inspection. Often a post construction barrier is still a good idea even if you have a pre construction barrier installed