The Home Inspector Missed Problems-Now What?
The home inspector plays a huge part in the decision buying process. Many home inspectors now days are complacent in their roles as home inspectors or as i like to refer to them as… “home buyer protectors“.
At the present time, there are no California requirements to actually work as a home inspector. Wow right? I know. According to the California business and Professions Code section 7195-7199, A home inspector is not required to obtain ANY state licensing or certification.
So when you move into your new home and expect to paint it, carpet it and start decorating, I’m sure you’d be surprised to find it flooded. First thing you attempt to di is call the Realtor and exclaim “the Home Inspector Missed Problems”! To which the agent is sure to respond something like, “call the inspector”.
From here there are a few things you can expect to happen.
- You will call the agent who will refer you to the inspector
- The inspector will likely come out and explain it was “beyond the scope”
- Your inspector and likely the agent will refer you to the home warranty company
- In many cases the home warranty company denies the claim based on pre existing conditions
What is “beyond the scope”?
Beyond the scope refers to a term used most often by home inspectors when they either missed something and do not want to take the heat for it or, they never even looked at it and classified it as “beyond the scope”. To put it differently, the inspector is basically saying the item which is in question, was not visible, accessible, something he just does not inspect, or he lacks the expertise in that item to effectively evaluate it. Any one of these examples should cause concern and rightly so. Essentially it means that specific area or item was never inspected.
Home inspectors, after using the “beyond the scope” comment will usually fall back on other terms such as for example;
- Have a specialized contractor evaluate it prior to the close of escrow
- Refer this to a contractor of this trade to further evaluate prior to the close of escrow
- We suggest having this condition evaluated by a specialists prior to the close of this escrow
Looking at these comments, you can start to see a pattern right. in my opinion, the inspector is simply trying to “pawn off” his responsibilities to another. Furthermore, when you sign the inspectors agreement you likely signed something that says he will be inspecting the property according to some standard or SOP. You may have also signed away the right to sue him, but we’ll get to that.
Keep in mind that the BOP section 7196-1 actually saves the inspectors bacon. To break it down.. they basically say the inspector is just a Generalist and is in no way a specialist.Marc Mazza
To begin with , lets define big and small.
According to the BOP section 71953(b) A “material defect” is a condition that significantly affects the value, desirability, habitability, or safety of the dwelling. Style or aesthetics shall not be considered in determining whether a system, structure, or component is defective.
So legally, something which is considered to be a “big deal” to you or I may not matter to the state. I do have to say however, although a sash balancer isn’t a significant concern when the repair of one is around $150. Still, when you consider that 20 of them in a house adds up to around $3,000 isn’t that significant? I’ve personally inspected a house where there were 46 bad window balancers. As an inspector, I found that to be significant.
Can you sue your Home Inspector?
Yes you can… try. Many home inspectors will attempt to limit their liabilities by limiting your claim against them. How do they do this? In their agreement to you they attempt to do this by having you sign something that stipulates you as the home buyer will only receive the inspection fee as compensation if the home inspector missed problems, no matter how significant.
According to the California BOP section 7198 the home inspector CANNOT limit their liabilities by reducing your claim down to ONLY the inspection fee.
Home Inspector Missed Problems…
How long is a Home Inspector Liable?
According to the California BOP section 7199, The time for commencement of a legal action for breach of duty arising from a home inspection report shall not exceed four years from the date of the inspection.
What is a Home Inspector and what are their duties?
The duty of a home inspector is clearly spelled out in the BOP. On the other hand, the publics perception and expectations of what a home inspector is and what their duties are is quite different indeed. When you as a home buyer move in to your new home you do not expect to say “my Home Inspector Missed Problems”. And why should you? W
hen you hired your home inspector or chose them from your Realtors list, your expectation was that they would stay as long as it takes and find as much as they could in the time they had right? Never is this the case, unfortunately.
By and large, home inspectors are in this for the quick buck. Let’s face it, its an easy $300 or so bucks for about an hour. This is why when choosing the inspector for your home, vet vet vet.
Home Inspector Missed Problems- do they carry insurance?
Most all professional full time home inspector do. I say full time because you’d be surprised to find that there are more part time inspectors out there who are basically posers… attempting to look like the real deal. these guys are more likely NOT to carry errors and omissions insurances due to the insurance costs.
Is this common? My home inspectors missed problems?
We are all human. And until we are not, we will all continue to make mistakes. In spite of this fact, we all still must try our hardest to do our best. We as home inspectors have one single duty and that is to protect the individuals who are buying property. Protect their safety, family and investment. If you’re and inspector and are not in this for those reasons, you need not be in this business at all.
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