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Real estate Q&A: Can condo building force us to leave for termite tenting?

Gary M. Singer, South Florida Sun Sentinel on

Published in Home and Consumer News

Q: Our condominium building has termites and needs to be tented. This means everyone must be out of the building for a few days. Some owners are protesting the idea, its timing and the expense. Do all of the owners have to cooperate? — Hardy

A: Yes, ultimately, all of the residents will need to temporarily vacate the building for the fumigation. Your association is responsible for maintaining the common areas, including mitigating termite damage. While this has to be balanced with the resident’s rights to enjoy their homes, they must cooperate with reasonable safety, maintenance, and repair requests.

The association should ensure that tenting is absolutely necessary and that no less disruptive alternatives exist.

Good communication with the residents explaining the situation and the need for the fumigation should help smooth things over.

While moving out for a few days is a hardship, having their homes destroyed by termites is much worse. It is important to remember that communication works both ways. The protests may be more general, such as worrying about the cost or where to stay, or more specific, such as a homebound resident. Listen to the residents’ concerns and address them as best you can.


That said, not every concern will have a good solution, and eventually, everyone will need to leave for a few days.

If an owner remains uncooperative, the association may need to take legal action to enforce compliance. However, it may be necessary for the association to send their attorney to court for an “injunction” ordering the resident to cooperate.

After that, if they still refuse to cooperate, the court can send law enforcement to remove the recalcitrant person and allow the fumigation to proceed.

Fortunately, after proper communication, such extreme measures are rarely necessary.

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