Q&A: Stop the Spread!

Q. We have a termite problem in our building. One of my neighbors had termites in early spring, after which another resident got them and now I have them. My question is: is the association responsible for the extermination, or is the individual owner responsible for paying for the exterminator to come out?  

                              — Bugged in Boston

A. “In most condominiums, the exterior portions of the buildings as well as the structural components are part of the common areas and are the responsibility of the association to maintain, repair, and replace,” says Mark S. Einhorn, partner at Marcus, Errico, Emmer & Brooks, PC, in Braintree, Massachusetts. “Accordingly, if this is the case with your association, and the termites are within these areas, it would be the responsibility of the association to exterminate the areas, and, if need be, repair any damage to the common areas that has been caused by the termites. 

 “If the termites have caused damage to portions of the building that are defined as part of the units, then, barring negligence on the part of the association, it would be the individual unit owner’s responsibility to repair the areas of their unit.  

 “In addition, since the termites are most likely coming from the ground, which is common area, and are getting into the unit through the common areas, the association should exterminate within those outside areas, and could also treat within the unit, although the unit owner would ultimately be responsible for exterminating solely within the unit.” 

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