Following are important developments in key legislation ASHI is tracking for our Membership. For up-to-date information on all the bills in play go to www.homeinspectorregulation.com; click on Issues and Legislation; scroll down to the state bill for which you need information.
Alaska HB 9 On March 18, the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee heard HB 9 and placed the bill on “hold.” On Thursday, March 27, the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee held a second hearing for HB 9 at which time they recommended that it be passed. HB 9 will now go to the Senate Judiciary Committee where it must receive a public hearing before further action can be taken.
Arkansas HB 2336 Arkansas introduced a legislative proposal that would repeal current home inspector registration provisions and replace it with the Home Inspectors Registration Act. HB 2336 is sponsored by Reps. Schulte, R. Smith, Ageeby and Sens. Faris and J. Jeffress.
This bill was given emergency status and is moving extremely quickly. On March 26, the House passed an amended version by a vote of 60-28. On March 27, the Senate Committee on State Agencies & Governmental Affairs amended HB 2336 and recommended that it be passed as amended. On April 1, HB 2336 was ‘re-referred’ to the Senate Committee on State Agencies & Governmental Affairs. The Committee must once again hold a hearing for the bill before further action can be taken.
California SB 31 As previously reported, the state of California has introduced a legislative proposal that would require home inspectors to become certified by a “professional home inspection association”. SB 31 was introduced by Senator Figueroa and referred to the Committee on Business and Professions, of which she serves as chairperson. This bill is similar to last session’s SB 1332.
SB 31 received a public hearing on Monday, March 24 by the Senate Committee on Business and Professions. The Committee amended SB 31 and recommended it be passed as amended. The bill now awaits action before the Senate.
Florida HB 1131 and SB 1902 The state of Florida has introduced legislative proposals that would require a board-certified home inspector to pass a state-approved exam and follow a minimum standard of practice. The bills would also require disclosure of home inspector credentials and conflicts of interest. HB 1131 would also require home inspectors to report to their client regarding the results of the inspection within three working days and provides for penalties for not complying with the law.
On March 4, Rep. Davis introduced HB 1131. This bill has not yet been referred to a House committee, which must occur before further action can be taken. SB 1902 is similar to HB 1131, which was introduced earlier this month.
However, there are some differences between the bills, most important of which is that SB 1902 does not refer to a specific home inspection exam, the National Home Inspectors Exam, like HB 1131 does.
On April 1, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Economic Opportunities and Consumer Services held a public hearing for SB 1902 at which time they amended the bill and recommended that it be passed as amended. SB 1902 must now be heard by the other committees to which it was referred before further action can be taken.
Indiana HB 1515 As reported earlier, HB 1515 was introduced by Rep. Welch and referred to the House Committee on Commerce and Economic Development on Jan. 16. A hearing was held on the bill on February 6. HB 1515 was amended, favorably voted out of committee and referred to the Joint Ways and Means Committee. On February 27, the Ways and Means Committee held a hearing for HB 1515 and recommended that it be passed as amended. On March 3, the House voted to further amend HB 1515. On March 4, the House passed HB 1515 by a vote of 78-17. The bill was sent to the Senate and was referred to the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs and Interstate Cooperation, which was scheduled to hold a hearing on the bill on March 26.
The Senate Committee on Govern-mental Affairs and Interstate Cooperation held a public hearing for HB 1515 on March 26 at which time they amended the bill and recommended that it be passed as amended. On April 1, the Senate amended HB 1515 making a few more changes to the language of the bill.
Iowa SF 400 Iowa has introduced licensing legislation relating to home inspectors. SF 400 was introduced by Sen. Larson on March 17. The bill provides for the regulation and licensing of home inspectors, and creates a home inspection licensing board and sets the board’s duties and powers. It requires a home inspector to obtain errors and omissions insurance and gives a client up to one year to file for the recovery of damages arising from an act or omission of the home inspector. This bill was previously introduced as SF 96 and they are identical. On March 17, SF 400 was introduced by the Senate Commerce Committee who subsequently approved of the bill. On March 18 an amendment to SF 400 was submitted. If this amendment is adopted, only minimal technical changes would be made to the bill. The proposed amendment must be approved or denied before further action may be taken on this bill.
Nebraska LB 767 Nebraska introduced licensing legislative relating to home inspectors. LB 767 was introduced by Sen. Bourne. The bill requires home inspectors to be licensed by the state, sets the duties and powers of the Home Inspector Regulatory Board, sets the fees for licensure and allows for civil action against home inspectors. On February 13, the Health and Human Services Committee held a public hearing on LB 767.
According to the office of the Health and Human Services Committee, LB 767 may not be passed out of Committee. Though this bill is not officially ‘dead’, it is being held, which disallows further action to be taken.
New Jersey A567/S1685 As we reported, NJ ASHI members were fighting these amendments as major attacks on consumer protection. On March 20 the Senate passed an amended version of S1685, effectively removing the most onerous amendments. NJ ASHI members have declared victory. However, the bill must go back to the Assembly in May where it faces attach again. It’s fate is unknown. Stay tuned for more.
New Mexico SB 589 New Mexico introduced a legislative proposal that would require home inspectors to become licensed. New Mexico’s Bill was introduced by Sen. Joseph Fidel and referred to the Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee. SB 589 provides for the regulation and licensing of home inspectors, and creates the Home Inspector Licensing Board and sets the board’s duties and powers. The bill sets the licensing requirements for home inspectors and allows a client to recover damages for any act or omission of a home inspector relating to a home inspection within one year. It requires a home inspector to obtain insurance or file a bond with the board for expenses and liability resulting in errors and omission or from negligent performance.
The Corporations and Transportation Committee recommended that the bill not be passed. Because of the Committee’s recommendation to not pass the bill, it is ‘dead’ unless Sen. Fidel, the sponsor, requests that it be called up again.
New York A 06478 New York has introduced a second bill to require licensure for home inspectors in the state. However, because of the high volume of bills in the House Judiciary Committee, A06478 will never receive a formal hearing. Rather, the Judiciary Committee Chair will call for a vote on the bill and it will be referred out of committee with a favorable or unfavorable recommendation. This action could occur at any time.
Tennessee SB 882 is a bill which would clarify the remedies for misrepresentation or nondisclosure on residential property statements. Currently, it is not clear that real estate agents and brokers cannot be held accountable, either criminally or otherwise, for misinformation provided by certain professionals, including home inspectors, unless the real estate agent or broker signs the document. SB 822 seeks to clarify that issue.
Utah SB 62 clarifies the practice of home inspections by setting guidelines and definitions, listing exclusions and specifying written home inspection report requirements. The bill sets a code of ethics for home inspectors, makes home inspectors liable for home inspections not performed in compliance with the law and limits the time in which a client may file a grievance. An amended version of the bill was passed by the Senate on February 20. The bill has been sent to the House for consideration.