The answer depends on where the house to be inspected is located and the answer could be different on the other side of the street. City, county and state governments that have issued these orders have different interpretations about whether real estate sales are an essential service and about whether home inspections are part of that service. Inspectors should seek an interpretation from the government that issued the order about whether real estate sales and home inspections are considered an essential service that is allowed to function under that government’s stay-at-home order.
What is ASHI’s position about whether home inspections should be allowed under stay-at-home orders?
ASHI does not have the expertise to determine whether real estate sales are an essential service. This is an issue for elected leaders based on the advice of medical, public health and public safety experts.
ASHI has the expertise to determine that home inspections are an essential part of a real estate sale. If a government determines that real estate sales are an essential service, then ASHI believes home inspections are an essential part of the real estate sale and that home inspections should be allowed.
If, however, a government determines that real estate sales are not an essential service, then ASHI believes all inspectors should comply with that determination and should not perform home inspections in that government’s jurisdiction.
Should home inspectors perform inspections if allowed under stay-at-home orders?
ASHI believes that home inspectors who practice prudent safety precautions may perform home inspections if they wish to do so. The decision is one for each inspector, based on your assessment of the risks involved. Inspectors in high-risk groups may wish to forgo inspections during this time. These groups include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Inspectors aged 65 or older
- Inspectors who have underlying medical conditions, such as lung and heart conditions
- Inspectors who have symptoms of a respiratory illness
(Note that these groups include inspectors who have family members who live in the same house and who share the listed characteristics.)
In making the decision about whether to perform home inspections, the inspector should consider the risks that the inspector may assume, but also the risks that the inspector may impose on others. It is likely that inspectors have no insurance coverage if the inspector is alleged to have infected others with COVID-19.
What is ASHI doing about members who perform inspections in defiance of stay-at-home orders?
ASHI believes that all inspectors should always comply with government laws and regulations. This includes COVID-19 stay-at-home orders. Non-compliance with government laws and regulations is a matter for government enforcement measures. Inspectors who believe that people are violating stay-at-home orders may wish to file a complaint with the appropriate government regulator.
ASHI’s ability to discipline members who do not comply with government laws and regulations is very limited. Imposing discipline involving allegations of non-compliance with government laws and regulations requires that the accused be afforded due process. ASHI does not have the resources to investigate such allegations in a manner that would afford the accused due process and be fair to the accused. If, however, an allegation of non-compliance is substantiated by a government agency, ASHI can act and impose discipline on a member. A complaint against the member would need to be filed with ASHI and processed according to ASHI policy.
Can home inspectors collect unemployment?
Unemployment insurance is a joint state/federal program that is administered by each state. As such, issues such as eligibility and benefits are decided by each state. As a general rule, those who do not contribute to the unemployment insurance system through payroll deductions or other means are not eligible to collect unemployment insurance. This includes most self-employed home inspectors and those operating as a limited liability company (LLC).
News reports indicate that the recently passed federal government COVID-19 relief package has expanded unemployment insurance eligibility to some people who would not normally be eligible. The rules and timing for this expanded eligibility are still being written, so ASHI does not have an answer at this time. ASHI recommends that inspectors who are interested in this should contact their state unemployment insurance agency for more information.
Will states require continuing education credits to renew licenses?
Given the postponement or cancellation of education events, inspectors are wondering how they will comply with state continuing education requirements. ASHI is not aware of changes to any state continuing education requirements. This is not surprising given that this situation had been going on for only a few weeks at the time this article was written and nobody knows how long it will last. ASHI recommends that inspectors stay in touch with their state home inspector licensing board for updates about this question.
Members should note that some courses in the ASHI online learning center are approved by some states for continuing education. All of these courses are approved for ASHI membership renewal credits.
Will ASHI require continuing education credits to renew membership?
While live education events and live chapter meetings are likely to be postponed or canceled until at least the fall of 2020, there are many other ways to earn ASHI membership renewal credits. ASHI offers many online education courses, all of which are approved for ASHI membership renewal credits. Some of these courses are also approved for some state license renewal credits. If you would like to make good use of any COVID-19 downtime, taking online education courses and attending approved virtual chapter meetings are activities that you should consider.
Because there are multiple ways to earn ASHI membership renewal credits, ASHI will continue to require members to earn at least 20 membership renewal credits during the year preceding a member’s annual renewal date. Contact ASHI headquarters if you have questions about how to earn ASHI membership renewal credits. You may find additional ways that you have not considered, such as writing an article for the ASHI Reporter.
For the most up-to-date information, please visit www.homeinspector.org/Resources-News/Covid19-Updates
Use these links to find ASHI’s suggested home inspection safety precautions: