San Francisco Termite Inspection Information


The phrase "Termite Inspection" is somewhat misleading because this inspection really addresses fungus damage (often times called dryrot) plus house infestations by termites and wood destroying beetles.

A termite inspection should address only those items that have caused or are deemed likely to cause damage to the wooden structural members of the house or building due to infestations of pests (termites or beetles) or infections of wood destroying organisms (fungus).

The exact title of a "termite" report is: "Wood Destroying Pest and Organisms Inspection Report".

In 1989, California State law mandated that all "termite" inspection reports follow the same reporting guidelines. This aids California home owners and consumers in the interpretation of these important inspection reports.

For the past 30+ years, the vast majority of all California real estate purchase contracts contained terminology as to who was going to pay for "actual" damage or infestations reported in termite reports and who was going to pay for "conditions deemed likely to cause" damage or infestations. The problem with this phraseology was that no one was able to properly interpret termite reports to determine which findings were "actual" damage and which were "deemed likely".

In 1989, the California Association of Realtors spearheaded a new law that mandated termite inspection companies to separate their findings into categories called "Section I and Section II findings. The actual law says that "if requested by the consumer", the termite company must separate his findings.

SECTION I findings are classified as "Active damage and infestation to wood by wood destroying organisms and pests". The "cause" of the damage is also classified as a Section I item.

SECTION II findings are classified as "Conditions deemed likely to lead to damage or infestation to wood by wood destroying organisms and pests if the condition is not corrected".

There are four (4) branches of pest control companies that are regulated by the Structural Pest Control Act under the authority of the Structural Pest Control Board and governed by the State dept. of Consumer Affairs :

Branch 1 : Fumigation companies These are companies that place rubberized tents over a house and inject lethal gasses for the eradication of drywood termites and wood destroying beetles.

Branch 2
: General pest companies These companies treat for household pests such as ants, spiders, cockroaches, mice, etc. All non-wood destroying pests.

Branch 3
: Termite inspection companies These companies inspect for wood destroying organisms and pests (fungus, termites and beetles). These are the companies typically involved in a home sale.

Branch 4
: Roof care companies These are the roof care companies that power wash wood shake roofs and treat with fungicides. Any company can hold licenses in multiple branches.



The qualifying manager in any company must hold an Operator's license, which requires four years of experience and extensive training.


Field Representatives are typically the inspectors or workers for the company. They must hang their licenses with an Operator. (This requirement is very similar to real estate licensees hanging their license with a Broker.)