ASHI Approves New Code of Ethics for Home Inspection Profession; First Revision Since 1976 Addresses New Ethical Issues, Adds Clari
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DES PLAINES, Ill. - In recent decades, the business world has experienced unprecedented changes marked by the growth of the Internet, corporate scandals, and complex marketing arrangements, which have altered the way we live and work. And as these changes bring about new ethical questions affecting home inspectors, the profession's oldest and most recognized association, the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), has developed an updated Code of Ethics designed to improve the integrity, reputation and practice of the home inspection profession.
According to ASHI, the new Code provides increased organization, focus and clarity of ethical home inspection practices to add relevancy and to aid comprehension for home inspectors and the public. This is the first revision the Society has made to the original document since its creation in 1976 and will go into effect on June 12, 2004.
"The development of this new Code of Ethics is another example of how ASHI continues to be a leader in shaping the home inspection profession and positively influencing the laws regulating home inspectors across the United States and Canada," said ASHI president Stephen Gladstone, whose organization's original Code of Ethics has become the most widely used ethical standard for the home inspection profession. "We believe that by updating ASHI's Code of Ethics, home inspectors will more clearly understand how ethics apply to their inspection practices, and fewer ethical violations will occur as a result."
The Code revisions come as a result of outreach to a variety of real estate industry organizations, including ASHI's membership, other home inspection organizations, state regulators, the National Association of Realtors®, the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Federal Housing Administration, the Appraisal Institute and others. Upon completion of the revisions to the Code, an overwhelming majority of ASHI's voting Membership was in favor of the changes.
Revisiting the Code and updating it to meet the demands of today's changing marketplace demands is part of The ASHI Experience, the Society's commitment to maintaining its leadership role in technical expertise while setting the bar for excellence in customer service.
For emphasis and clarity, the Code revisions were organized into three categories. Following is an overview of the changes within each category, with particular emphasis on the additions to this updated Code.
According to Gladstone, once a consumer has narrowed down the list of potential inspectors, it is important to interview each one to understand what the inspection will cover and to verify the inspector's experience. Real estate professionals may want to advise their clients to ask the following questions before hiring an inspector:
- Conflicts of Interest: The Code continues to address items that increase the risk of affecting the inspector's independent judgment and integrity. These instances might include being compensated to inspect a property in which they have a financial interest or the compensation of other parties who have a financial interest in the closing or settlement of a property. Additionally, a new component notes that all "kickbacks" for recommending products and services will be unethical.
- Faithfulness to the Client and Others: This section of the Code continues to emphasize the need for inspectors to perform services and express opinions within their areas of education, training, and experience, to be objective in their reporting, and not to disclose inspection results without client approval. The updated Code will also prohibit disclosure of information about the client without their permission.
- Maintaining Public Good Will Toward the Profession: Revisions reinforce that inspectors shall avoid activities that may harm the public, discredit themselves, or reduce public confidence in the profession. These might include disseminating fraudulent, false, deceptive or misleading information.
To review a complete listing of ASHI's updated Code of Ethics for the Home Inspection Profession, visit www.homeinspector.org/inspectors/ethics.asp. (Click here.) To locate a professional ASHI Inspector, use the "Find an Inspector" tool at www.homeinspector.org.
Formed in 1976, the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) is the oldest and most respected non-profit professional society for home inspectors in North America. Its mission is to promote excellence and exemplary practice within the profession. ASHI's Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics are the recognized guidelines for the home inspection profession.
For more information on the American Society of Home Inspectors, contact the association at 932 Lee Street, Suite 101, Des Plaines, Ill. 60016. Phone: 800-743-2744. Or visit the ASHI Web site at www.homeinspector.org. While online, experience ASHI's Virtual Home Inspection tool, which provides an interactive overview of the 10 main areas of the home that are part of an ASHI Inspection.