View Full Version here: : Termites
02-08-2012, 08:25 PM
4 month ago, I put in a bit of a vegie garden at the back of the house. The mulch backed up to the concrete slab, though I didn't water that far back, all the vegies were 3 or 4 feet away from the house (so they weren't under the eaves) and I hand watered them using grey water from the washing machine.
The realos are now saying there is a termite infestation in the house because of this.
Is it possible for termites to have taken hold in just this short time? I saw no signs of infestation, no mud tubes, climbing the concrete to the house.
I'd be grateful of any advice.
02-08-2012, 08:36 PM
Hi JJJ-I had termites in my house a few years ago, and from what the pest control people told me, I find it hard to believe your veggie garden is to blame.
02-08-2012, 08:40 PM
When you say the mulch backed up the slab, how far from the mulch to the nearest timber part of the house?
I'm no expert but as long as there's enough gap to see any the mud tubes, I'd say they are trying you on... what's the difference between mulch and grass as far as termites are concerned?
02-08-2012, 08:41 PM
From what I have read, Spring and Summer is their active time.
I reckon they came from the neighbours infested house. They had to reroof last summer because of them.
Here's a piccy from the day I laid the mulch, on the 11th of April.
I'll see them in court if they're trying it on. It's causing much distress here.
02-08-2012, 08:46 PM
If your neighbours house is infested, that's where they would come from. Apparently they like to tunnel along the line of tree roots and things like that.
My pest control people could not find the primary nest-could have been under a neighbours concrete slab, but some trees in my backyard were infested, and they apparently got into my house through the tree roots
02-08-2012, 09:13 PM
I would be telling them about the neighbours problems and that you will be hiring an independent pest expert to determine the termites origin and see if the agents back off then.
02-08-2012, 09:15 PM
no they have come from somewhere else - dead tree stump or other infestation and top be honest if you know there was an infestation next door then you can bet your bottom dollar that they moved to easier pickings
02-08-2012, 09:19 PM
I see that the grass and the general level of the land at the far corner, beyond the mulching, is above the timber cladding, which would not be your responsibility. How can they exclude that? And to prove it was the mulch they would have to show that this was the point of entry.
Termites can move in quite quickly, and 4 months would be enough for them to build a mud tunnel, but NOT enough for a destructive infestation. A colony is said to be capable of eating about 1 ft of a 2x4 timber in 6 months.
From a building standpoint, any timber house is vulnerable to termites, and if they are about, the main requirement is to inspect the foundations for mud tunnels which go up the stumps (hopefully concrete) and over the metal ant caps.
Australian Standard 3660 says
"Frequency of inspections"
Regular, competent inspections should be carried out at least on an annual basis but more frequent inspections are strongly recommended.
Additional inspections are recommended when bridging or breaching of a barrier may have occurred, such as by home additions, alterations, earthworks or landscaping adjacent to the building. Such routine inspections will not prevent termite attack, but will allow evidence of further termite activity to be detected, provided access to all areas is available and there are no concealed entry points. Early detection will allow remedial treatment to be commenced sooner and damage to be minimised.
Regular inspections will not prevent termite attack, but may help in the detection of termite activity. Early detection will allow remedial treatment to be commenced sooner and damage to be minimised. "
So, in that district they should have been inspecting their property regularly to ward off damage. It seems they are manoeuvering early to try to grab your bond.
Get some advice from the Qld Tenancy Tribunal, and tell them you are doing this ;)
179 Turbot Street
GPO Box 390
Brisbane QLD 4001
Ph 3046 5400
02-08-2012, 09:21 PM
Cheers Geoff, you always come up trumps. :D
02-08-2012, 09:24 PM
Unless your mulch was over the top of the slab and allowed the termites to reach the timber of the house without being seen then I can't see how you could be held responsible. They might argue that the moisture attracted the termites but they are obviously around already and the house should have an appropriate chemical and/or physical barrier.
Was going to be my suggestion too.
They are def trying it on Nettie, a third party professional report will go a long way if you do go to court.
02-08-2012, 09:36 PM
dont fret at all nettie!
THEY will have to point out in your tennant lease where it states that you should NOT mulch up to the house for fear of termite infestation!
nah its a load of boloney
you just ask them was your property treated when they knew the neighbours property needed re roofing because of that problem?
when was your property last treated? is the onus on you to do it? i think not!
dont worry...... there is no way you are responsible, and there is no way of them proving it
02-08-2012, 10:03 PM
LOL They are docking my bond for the removal of the vegie patch too. But I don't think I have a leg to stand on there. Though it was well maintained and the lease said I had to maintain the gardens.
You've got to be joking. That is insane.
02-08-2012, 10:30 PM
What! Charging for the removal of an improvement? The hide. In my younger years I left vegie gardens all over the place, and inherited some too. No one said boo.
02-08-2012, 10:35 PM
The snow peas were covered with flowers and peas, the zuccinis were only a couple of weeks away from harvesting. and the tomatoes were full of fruit.
I'll drop in tomorrow and let them know that I have taken advice on the subject. That I am going to refer the matter of the vegie patch and termites to the RTA for resolution.
Then demand they do something about the termites in the new house as I don't want my new dobbie to get white ants in the rocker box.
And ask them to remove all the gardens that back up to the house here (and the pine chip mulch) as I don't want to get the blame for the termites here.
It's the same owner of both houses you see. They can't have it both ways. No having your cake and eating it too as far as I'm concerned.
02-08-2012, 10:44 PM
03-08-2012, 08:50 AM
I have the lovely critters eating my place right now too jjj my lovelys came from the next door neighbours house via the railway line. There is no way termites just appear from nowhere or because of watering a vegie patch. If your place is new its because the new wood attracted termites from next door...they love new wood be it hard or soft wood and according to my termite people, termites are most unpredictable.
Best of luck Matt
Oh,thats all terrible jjj. Hate that about renting, there always seems to be some bad blood when you leave a place, with the owners wanting to get what they can out of you. :shrug:
Hope the new place is worth the hassle, and those naughty buggers keep away. I had them here last year (in the house) but luckily saw them before they did too much trouble.
03-08-2012, 09:45 AM
In your tenancy agreement you are allowed to have a maintained garden.
The responsibility is on the owner to provide a pest free residence.
You have not broken any rules but the owner has failed.
This is how the courts will view it. I assume the owner may consult his solicitor and will try to bluff you.
Regarding the garden removal. Let them do that. Let them charge you for it. Then refer the matter to the Tenancies Authority. You can also hit them for trauma that way. Or: Just threaten them with trauma and they may back down altogether.
The owner knows full well he can not charge you for removal of the garden. Also is aware that you are not responsible for the termite infestation. Its all bluff.
Additionallly, the owner's arguement is weakened if you were not made aware of the existing termite problem at the time you signed the tenancy agreement. It must be stated on the lease documents.
I was in Pest Control for a long time. 17 yrs. Never once was a successful case raised against a tenant for pest infestation. Yet in every instance the tenants were responsible for the infestation through ignorance and their actions.
03-08-2012, 01:52 PM
Marty, I think jjj needs to hire you to defend her case. She can't lose !!
Sorry to hear of your predicament jjj, never heard of it over here but we don't have your nasty termites either. Stick to your guns and take the advice thats been given, it seems good. I'd be having second thoughts about sticking with the same landlord ... or ask him to keep your bond over for the next property. Might stump him.
03-08-2012, 03:34 PM
You may laugh but this is how I have always been protected from termites.
In the vegetable garden, plant a rose bush on one end of the bed. Not one of those standard roses but a real bushy one.
The rose will attract aphids pretty quick and ants (little black ones). Not only will the ants eat the aphids, they love to eat termites.
Anyone with an ant problem and sets ant baits or spray to kill them, is only inviting termites instead.
03-08-2012, 03:43 PM
We didn't out bond back when we moved a few years ago.
The owners claimed that the lawns needed re mowing yet they didn't do a inspection till 2 weeks later, and the there was a crack in the bathroom sink that was there when we moved in and they wanted to fix that.
When we moved they renovated the unit and put new carpet down and new paint job.
They did the same thing to the people in the unit beside us, used the bond money to renovate.
We had been there 7 years.
03-08-2012, 05:21 PM
This is what is great about this group, ask any question and your likely to get some excellent advice! Best of luck jjj, hope you suceed in squashing their bluff.
03-08-2012, 08:07 PM
I've been got at myself before by the Real Estate Agents Of Darkness :lol:
Glad to pitch in here with all the other good info and advice.
03-08-2012, 08:40 PM
Sorry to hear of your troubles JJJ, If I'm reading this right the
owner/s of the property you used to live at was happy enough with the
ongoing buisness arrangement you had with them
(through there agent ) to let you lease another property they own ?
I wonder if the hassle your having now is more to do with there agents poor property management than anything you have done ,particularly
if there absent landords or are completely reliant on the agent to fully manage all aspects of there properties . In my experiance of 30 years of renting , (:sadeyes:, ) most poperty owners are pretty reasonable one on one , I have very mixed experiances with property managers though , the most common reaction to any interaction with them is an almost complete reluctance to undertake any preventitive work on the properties they manage .
As your still tied up in this exersise for now would it be possible to get the contact details of the owner arrange a meeting with them ... and there agent to try and mediate some sort of outcome ?... I'd at least ask to maybe glean some sort of idea whos really on your case ,somtimes it isn't the owner at all , sometimes its both.
03-08-2012, 10:10 PM
Hmm, this particular realo is notorious in this town. I've not spoken to anyone who has a good word to say about them. The stories I'm hearing from previous tenants are terrible. My new neighbors were harrassed about a single hair left in the bathroom sink. I kid you not. The woman who manages the properties.... A b@$ch is the mildest word I've heard to describe her.
Thanks for all the great advise everyone.
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