Does an ASHI member violate the ASHI Code of Ethics by being named a “Preferred Vendor” on a real estate firm’s website and by having a direct link on the real estate firm’s website to the ASHI member’s home inspection company website?
Interpretation by the ASHI Code of Ethics Committee: No, unless the inspector has control over the link, pays for either the link or for being named a “Preferred Vendor,” or if the relationship between the inspection company and the real estate firm conflicts with the Code by being a quid pro quo.
A real estate agent in my area has been diagnosed with a serious illness and the family has no insurance. A gathering has been planned to raise money for her medical bills. I was asked if I would be willing to donate an inspection to be auctioned off at the event, with the proceeds going to the agent’s medical bills. Also, I was considering running a promotion during the next month in which I would donate $20 of every home inspection I do to this same cause. Do either of these violate the ASHI Code of Ethics?
Interpretation: Donations to charitable events organized by real estate brokers do not constitute direct or indirect compensation to real estate agents. Although this particular donation would benefit a real estate agent, it would not violate the Code because it is not connected to a referral from the agent.
Does an ASHI member violate the ASHI Code of Ethics by advertising in a real estate agency’s publication or a real estate broker−specific publication?
Interpretation: No, purchasing advertising is not, in and of itself, a violation of the Code of Ethics. It is not improper to advertise in a publication unless the content of the advertising or the relationship of the inspector and the sponsor(s) of the publication violates the Code.
Can a home inspector offer to sell a carbon monoxide detector to a homeowner?
Interpretation: The ASHI Code of Ethics does not prohibit inspectors from selling products to homeowners, as long as the inspector has not inspected the home. However, Section 1.F. of the ASHI Code of Ethics states: “Inspectors shall not repair, replace, or upgrade, for compensation, systems or components covered by ASHI Standard of Practice, for one year after the inspection.”
This provision of the Code helps ensure the objectivity of the inspection by forbidding the inspector from profiting from the finding of defects. If the carbon monoxide detector, or any other component, is included in a home inspection, selling such an item would represent a potential conflict of interest in violation of the Code. Inspectors should be careful to avoid any activities that could be perceived to compromise their objectivity.
Know the Code: The ASHI Code of Ethics can be found at this link: https://www.homeinspector.org/Code-of-Ethics