Wednesday, February 14

I Think I'm a Slave to my Pest Control Company

State lawmakers are considering eliminating property taxes in Florida. The argument that's been used is that once you pay off your house, you should be free of all expenses, so charging people property taxes makes them slaves. I know, it's pretty silly. Even if you pay off your house and decide to self-insure, you're still going to need power and water. Plus, you probably want parks, schools, and roads. And even if you do self-insure, you'll eventually need a roof when it starts leaking. And if you refuse to pay HOA fees, they will take your house. So most of are basically slaves to our homes, and eliminating the property tax won't fix that. The talk of being bound to my house and a recent pest-control fee increase reminds me that I'm just as enslaved by my termite bond as any other home responsibility.

We bought a house that was crawling with cockroaches. That should be surprising, since the previous owner had, according to my contract, paid for a yearly termite service since the house was built (generally comes with other pest services). Anyhow, we inherited the termite bond, which is apparently good for as long as we keep paying. And we have really, really kept paying. I think we've had two increases in price along with a decrease in yearly treatments (from four to three). But we really are stuck if we want to keep the security of knowing we won't get termites (or at least someone else will pay for repairs). No one has checked the traps or treated specifically for termites in years, but my contract and my yearly renewal of it implies I'm still covered. But it keeps me from pricing other companies or even walking away from what I see as a bit of an extravagance: I'm sure we could deal with handling most of our own pest issues with sprays and traps, but I'm just not sure about termites. So I'm paying close to $1,000 a year for three visits from a guy who spends about 20 minutes spraying a chemical around my house. Think about that hourly rate. And if I consider the fact that I only pay about 3x that for my property taxes, I'd say paying for government services is a better deal by a long shot.

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