Can’t Tent for Termites

(WSVN) - Their building has been hit by termites. All the residents want to tent to exterminate the insects but one resident is saying, “No, you can’t tent.” Can one resident block everyone else from tenting? It’s why we bring in Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser for the answer.

Not to stereotype but Albert Fanelli is Italian … meaning he knows his way around a kitchen.

Albert Fanelli, tired of termites: “I like to cook.”

But on the day we were at Albert’s, he wasn’t cooking … he was cleaning.

Albert Fanelli: “I clean this up every day. Sometimes twice a day. You see the wings that are dropped. It’s an onslaught.”

Albert’s condo is infested with termites wings. They drop the wings when they move in to form a new colony…

Albert Fanelli: “They are all over. I can’t keep dishes in the cupboard anymore. I can’t keep anything out.”

Albert is not alone. There are 30 condos at this Hollywood building. Twenty-nine owners are tired of termites and ready to tent before their units are damaged. One resident says no way…

Albert Fanelli: “And no, ‘We are not tenting. I am not tenting.’ She just refuses.”

The owners have been told by police they cannot force the woman to leave if they attempt to tent the building, meaning they have to live with this.

Patrick Fraser: “Does it surprise you that 29 can agree and one can say no and everything grinds to a halt?”

Albert Fanelli: “Yeah, sometimes the wheels of justice are slow moving.”

The woman who refuses to tent has battled with the condo association and her neighbors in the past. They even took her to court where she agreed to follow the condo rules…

Albert Fanelli: “There was a restraining order last year. She would threaten people with a knife and bang on the walls. She was taken away under the Baker Act.”

Because of the woman’s condition, Albert isn’t angry at her and feels sorry for her…

Albert Fanelli: “I have offered to pay for her lodging. Other folks have offered the same.”

But she refuses help and refuses to allow the building to be tented, meaning everyone else has to live with termites.

Albert Fanelli: “If they attack my wine bottles, I would be suicidal.”

Albert is joking about the termites attacking his Italian wine, but Howard, are all those owners stuck with termites?

Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “No. One resident cannot prevent the tenting if the association’s board determines that it is necessary. If they refuse, you go to court to get an injunction where a judge can order the resident to leave the property. If they don’t leave on the day of tenting, a judge can order the police to remove the resident.”

We spoke to the woman who is blocking the association from tenting. She told us she was worried about the poison in the chemicals used in tenting and would not allow it.

Judge Arlene Backman: “She is not here, therefore, we are proceeding.”

The condo association then went to court to ask Judge Arlene Backman to force the woman to allow the termite tenting to happen.

Judge Arlene Backman: “The motion to enforce this stipulation for settlement and access to the defendants unit is herby granted.”

Albert and his neighbors can now tent their building…

Albert Fanelli: “Oh, thank God. Yes, yes long overdue.”

And after the tenting, Albert can do what he has not been able to enjoy doing … cook.

Albert Fanelli: “I love having my friends over and cooking for them. We are family.

Patrick Fraser: “You don’t want to invite them into your place with bugs?”

Albert Fanelli: “No, not unless they have an anteater.”

A termite-eating anteater? That’s a new one. And we have heard from several people in condos and townhouses that have one neighbor that is blocking the tenting. If that happens to you and you have to go to court to get a judge to order them to get out for the tenting, they have to pay your attorney’s fees. Let them know ’cause that might get them to cooperate.

Bugged by a problem swarming around you? Ready for someone to fly in to help? Contact us. We don’t wing things. Howard has a law book. And if he can find his glasses, he will read it. With this Help Me Howard, I’m Patrick Fraser, 7News.

CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD:
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Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
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On Twitter: @helpmehoward7

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