Structural Pest Control Q&A

When a property is sold, an inspection of the dwelling for termite infestation may be conducted, resulting in a report of findings which is prepared by the pest control company. The following information addresses some questions which Sellers and Buyers may have about this process.

How is the pest control industry regulated in California?

The Structural Pest Control Board (as part of the Department of Consumer Affairs) regulates all persons who perform structural pest control work in this state by issuing licenses and bringing disciplinary action against licensees who fail to comply with the Structural Pest Control Act. It meets regularly to act on disciplinary cases, issue rules, and make policy governing the structural pest control industry in California.

Is a Structural Pest Control Report required when property is sold?

Though the state regulates structural pest control firms, it does not require the issuance of an inspection report prior to the sale of property. Typically, the seller and buyer negotiate their contractual obligations concerning the pest report at the time the offer to purchase is made. Many lending institutions require an inspection to ensure that the building is structurally sound. This requirement protects the lender’s investment and provides the home buyer with an inexpensive safeguard against the cost of structural pest control repair and treatment.

How do I know which pest control company to use?

Your real estate agent may direct you to a company in your area or you may want to contact a family member or friend who has used a company in the past. The Structural Pest Control Board cannot recommend a specific company, but it can verify the status of a license or company registration and provide complaint history.

What can I expect when my property is sold and escrow is opened?

The pest inspection, including payment and completion of corrective work, is covered in the purchase contract. Subject to the agreement of the the parties, the Seller (or its Agent) will hire a pest control company to perform an inspection. The company is accountable to both the Buyer and Seller, regardless of who pays for the inspection. The report is furnished to the person who ordered the inspection within 10 working days. The Seller delivers copies of the report to the Buyer for his review, often through the Escrow Holder. The Buyer should consult with the inspection company if there are questions about the report or the company who performed corrective work. A Buyer may elect to order his own inspection.

What information is included in the inspection report?

The same standardized inspection report form is used by all companies and provides information such as:

  • Descriptions of any existing wood-destroying pests (termites), fungus, and the resulting damage that is visible and accessible on the date of inspection.
  • Descriptions of conditions considered likely to lead to future infestation such as excessive moisture, earth-to-wood contact, and faulty grade levels.
  • Recommendations for treatment or repair.

Reports are valid for two years. Companies are not responsible for conditions which develop or become visible after the date of inspection.

For additional information about termite reports, talk to your real estate agent or log on to: www.pestboard.ca.gov