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Wood Destroying Organism (WDO) Inspections in Oregon

 

Leupitz Pest Control has been providing comprehensive Wood Destroying Organism (WDO) inspections and reports (also known as “pest and dry rot inspections”) much longer that any Oregon home inspection company.  Whether you are a property owner, prospective buyer, real estate professional, or mortgage broker, our experienced and educated inspectors can provide you the very best inspection and consultation regarding the presence or absence of unwanted structural pests in your home or commercial building of interest.

Leupitz’s WDO inspections are performed based on the Industry Standards of the Oregon Pest Control Association of which Leupitz is a member in good standing.  Our inspections include all readily accessible areas of the structure including substructure crawl spaces. A detailed written report listing all findings with appropriate recommendations is issued afterwards. The inspection report subsequently issued is valid for four months following the original inspection. This report is valid for any real estate transaction where a mortgagor or real estate appraiser may require it. Such transactions may include conventional loans, Oregon Department of Veteran’s Affairs and Federal Veterans Administration (VA) loans, Federal Housing Authority guaranteed (FHA) loans, Oregon Housing Authority loans and other types of mortgages.

Frequently Asked Questions regarding Wood Destroying Organism Inspections

(Adapted from the brochure produced by the Oregon Pest Control Association)

Under what conditions is a wood destroying organism report required for a real estate transaction?

There are no laws or government regulations in Oregon that require a wood destroying organism report prior to the sale of property. However, financial institutions often require the report to ensure that there is no visible evidence of wood destroying organisms or their damage. This requirement protects their investment and provides the homebuyer with an inexpensive safeguard against the cost of structural repairs and treatment. Regardless of the condition of the home at the time of sale, a homebuyer is advised to arrange for a wood destroying organism inspection anyway. The cost of an inspection is minimal compared to the cost of repairing undetected pest damage that may run in the thousands of dollars.

Who may perform a wood destroying organism inspection in Oregon?

Any person or firm that performs wood destroying organism inspections for the transfer of real estate must be registered as a contractor with the Oregon Construction Contractors Board. In addition, any inspection performed pursuant to a VA, FHA or other government insured loan must be performed by a person or firm licensed by the Oregon Department of Agriculture as a Commercial Pesticide Operator. The Industry Standards of the Oregon Pest Control Association (OPCA) requires that all inspections for real estate transactions be performed by a firm licensed as a Commercial Pesticide Operator in Structural Pest Control and that all inspectors be licensed as Commercial Pesticide Applicators in the category of Structural Pest Control.

May an "Oregon-Certified" Home Inspector be hired to perform wood destroying organisms inspections?

The Oregon Construction Contractors Board, which oversees certification of home inspectors in Oregon, does not require a home inspector to be certified to perform wood destroying organism inspections. An Oregon-certified home inspector is not required to inspect for wood destroying organisms as part of any full home inspection. Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), in an official statement issued May 10, 1999 (Mortgagee Letter PH 99-3), affirmed that the Wood Destroying Insect Infestation Report [now called the NPMA-33 form] required for government insured loans, such as FHA and VA loans, "must be signed by a licensed pesticide applicator. In no instances may this report be signed by a Home Inspector, Fee Inspector, etc that does not maintain an appropriate pest control inspector and/or applicator’s license."

Therefore, if an "Oregon-Certified" Home Inspector is consulted to perform a wood destroying organism inspection, that inspector should also be a Oregon pesticide applicator licensed in Structural Pest Control as recommended above in the question Who May Perform a Wood Destroying Organism Inspection?

What are the rights of the buyer with regard to wood destroying organism inspection reports?

When an inspection company is hired, it is accountable to both the buyer and seller, regardless of who pays for the inspection. It is customary to furnish the person purchasing the inspection with a written report within a reasonable period of time after completion of the inspection. If ordered by the seller, the seller must supply a copy to the buyer as part of their disclosure statement. A copy of the report can oftentimes also be obtained through escrow.

If there are any questions concerning the report, the buyer should contact the firm performing the inspection. It is advisable that the buyer always orders his or her own inspection.

CAUTION: Some inspection firms limit their liability to the amount of the inspection fee only. While legal, this practice is not in the best interest of either the seller or the buyer of real estate. The Oregon Pest Control Association advises against accepting any inspection report that limits the liability of the inspection firm to the amount of the inspection fee only.

What information must be included on the inspection report?

The Oregon Construction Contractors Board (CCB) requires the inspection firm’s CCB license number be included with every inspection report. Aside this requirement, there are no other laws or government regulations requiring any specific information on an Oregon WDO inspection report. Members of the Oregon Pest Control Association use a standardized form called The Oregon Pest Control Association—Uniform Wood Destroying Organism Report. The Industry Standards of the Oregon Pest Control Association requires that the inspection report identify wood destroying organisms, conditions that are likely to promote their development, and areas where structural damage or other problems exist. Recommendations are also made for treatment and/or repair. Wood destroying organisms checked for include termites, carpenter ants, wood boring beetles, wood destroying fungi, and other miscellaneous wood destroying insects. The presence or absence of non-wood destroying pests such as odorous house ants, cockroaches, rats, mice, spiders, etc. are not included in the inspection and report.

Normally, only the main structure of the property, from the eaves line to the foundation, is inspected along with any attachments or attached appurtenances. However, inspection may be made of other wood structures detached from the main structure upon request (an additional fee may apply). Eaves, rafter tails, roof fascias, and attic spaces are normally not inspected.

The Industry Standards of the Oregon Pest Control Association requires a diagram on the inspection report that show every part of the house checked for signs of infestation or infection. The report must also state which areas were inspected and which areas were not inspected due to inaccessibility. It is important to make sure that the inspector understands what structures you want inspected so that they are included in the inspection report.

Conditions considered likely to lead to pest infestation (called "conducive conditions") are also indicated on the inspection report. These include, but are not limited to excessive moisture conditions, earth-wood contact or faulty grade conditions, and inadequate ventilation.

Will building code violations or other structural deficiencies be reported?

No. A wood destroying organism inspection is limited to reporting evidence of insect infestations or fungi (rot) infections, damage resulting from wood destroying organisms and the conducive conditions that can lead to such problems. A wood destroying organism inspection does not include inspection of electrical, plumbing, heating, air conditioning, roof components, or other mechanical systems of the structure. The inspection will not detect building code violations nor the presence or absence of asbestos or other potential environmental hazards. If you desire such information, it is recommended to hire a reputable "Oregon-Certified" home inspector to inspect for these other conditions.

What areas are considered to be inaccessible on the inspection report?

Those areas that cannot be inspected without opening the structure or removing objects blocking the opening are considered inaccessible. Substructure crawl spaces without adequate clearance, subfloors and substructure members concealed by insulation, floors covered with carpeting, enclosed wall interiors and locked storage areas are the most common inaccessible areas.

The Industry Standards of the OPCA require that the inspector list all inaccessible areas and the specific reasons why they were not inspected. Careful attention should be paid to these areas, as there may be structural pest problems that cannot be detected without further inspection. The report will recommend whether or not further inspection is appropriate.

Do all recommendations listed on an inspection report have to be completed prior to the sale of the home?

There is no law requiring that any recommendations listed on an inspection report be completed. However, many financial institutions require both the inspection and recommendations be completed prior to escrow. If it is not required, the buyer should be aware of recommendations that have not been completed before purchasing the home. OPCA member inspection firms will issue a Completion Certificate showing all recommendations on the inspection report that were completed as well as those not completed.

Is there a special form that is required for FHA and VA loans?

Yes. If you are selling your home or buying a home where the loan is being insured by FHA or VA, a special form called the Wood Destroying Insect Infestation Inspection Report (NPMA-33) is required. Members of the OPCA will attach this form to the standard OPCA Uniform Wood Destroying Organism Inspection Report. The OPCA report form will then become an addendum to the NPMA-33 form.

How long is an inspection report considered valid?

The Industry Standards of the Oregon Pest Control Association state that the inspection firm shall not be held liable for any conditions reported or omitted on any inspection report that is four months old or older at the time of the closing of any real estate transaction. This is because conditions can change considerably within short periods of time from when the inspection is performed.

Inspection reports issued on the Wood Destroying Insect Infestation Inspection Report (NPMA-33) form for government guaranteed loans are considered invalid for purposes of securing a mortgage and/or settlement of property transfer if not used within 90 days from the inspection date.

Any complaints filed with the Construction Contractors Board regarding any inspection must be done within one year of the inspection date. (ORS 701.145)

In view of these limitations, it is advisable to obtain an inspection report as close as possible to the close of escrow.

If no evidence of wood destroying organisms or their damage is reported, does that mean that the structure is free and clear of wood destroying organisms or damage?

No. Inspectors are trained to detect visible evidence that the untrained eye might overlook. However, infestations and damage could be present in areas not readily accessible at the time of inspection or may become apparent at some time subsequent to the inspection.

What recourse does a consumer have if dissatisfied with the services of the inspection firm?

If you are dissatisfied with the services of an inspection firm, contact that firm and explain your problem. If the company does not resolve the problem to your satisfaction, you can contact the Oregon Pest Control Association for additional assistance or information by telephoning 503-287-1796 in the Portland area or 1-800-656-OPCA (6722) from anywhere else in Oregon. You may also contact the OPCA by mail at P.O. Box 42042, Eugene, OR 97404.

If the inspecting firm is a member of OPCA, the association will first try to mediate your complaint. If this does not result in a satisfactory solution, you may seek the assistance of the Oregon Construction Contractors Board, either by phone at 503-378-4621 or on the Internet at http://www.oregon.gov/CCB/

If the inspecting firm is not a member of OPCA, the OPCA will assist you in providing expert opinion and advice while pursuing your claim with the Construction Contractors Board or other claims resolution process.

Even if the Construction Contractors Board initiates an investigation, the board cannot guarantee that you will receive any restitution. You may still have to take civil action.

About the Oregon Pest Control Association

The Oregon Pest Control Association is a statewide industry trade association whose members protect the health and property of consumers by controlling harmful pests in homes, business, and industry. The OPCA provides its members with the most current information about new technologies, laws, regulations and industry standards.

By choosing a member of the OPCA you are choosing a company that is dedicated to professional conduct of the highest standard and who has agreed to abide by the Code of Ethics of the Pest Control Operators of Oregon.

Leupitz Pest Control is a member of the Oregon Pest Control Association and the National Pest Management Association Inc. International.