ASHI members in several states have been active during the summer responding to or drafting regulatory legislation. Illinois
In Illinois, Governor George Ryan signed HB1805, the Home Inspector Licensing Act, on August 3. The law goes into effect on January 1, 2003. A Home Inspector Advisory Board, housed within the Office of Banks and Real Estate, will regulate home inspectors. The seven-member Board will include five active and currently licensed home inspectors. Illinois ASHI Chapters are currently in the process of nominating quality ASHI members to serve on the Board. National ASHI sent a letter to all Illinois Members and Candidates announcing passage of the law and explaining its contents. HQ urged all Members to get active in their chapter efforts to ensure that the Board and the rules and regulations reflect the true interests of ASHI, the industry, and the consuming public. ASHI committee drafting new policy
On a related note, because of the increasing number of states now regulating the profession (25 in all) and the prospect of increasing regulation, the Legislative Committee is in the process of drafting a new policy that would guide ASHI in endorsing ASHI candidates for Federal and State regulatory boards. The Committee believes the burden of producing quality ASHI candidates falls with the states and the chapters, and the role of HQ and the Board is to support their informed efforts. The Committee hopes to present the policy to the Board at its October meeting. Central Virginia Chapter comments
The Central Virginia Chapter of ASHI (CVASHI) submitted comments and recommendations for a draft of proposed regulations that the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR) is considering for home inspectors in Virginia. The comments were in response to questions regarding definitions, entry standards for certified and associate home inspectors, renewal standards for regulants, and standards of practice and conduct.
CVASHI stated in its cover letter to DPOR, “We are committed to improving and strengthening the home inspection profession and look forward to working with you and the staff of DPOR as we progress towards an acceptable and reasonable regulatory program for the home inspection industry in the Commonwealth of Virginia.”
CVASHI got feedback on its comments from the Legislative Committee and several ASHI Members through postings on the Legislative Issues Discussion Board in the Members Only area of www.ashi.com. Legislative Committee Co-Chair Joe Corsetto noted in his response to CVASHI Legislative Chair Jasper Mersereau:
“This is a well-written document that covers the essentials in regulating home inspectors. The document speaks of issues in-depth that I’m sure will make a good impression. The specifics of the law will likely evolve from future discussions and political interests. The easy part is to write a law that regulates HIs; the hard part is keeping it intact and unmolested from all others who may want automatic entry into the business without proof of competency or more importantly experience.”Legislative Guidebook revised
ASHI members in Colorado and Florida are in the process of drafting regulatory language for their states and have asked staff and the Legislative Committee for assistance and comments on their efforts. National stands ready to assist all Chapters and Members in every state in their efforts in whatever way possible. Remember, there is a wealth of experience and knowledge throughout ASHI, so no no Member or Chapter should ever feel it has to reinvent the wheel. We can all learn from each other. To that end, the revised Legislative Guidebook has copies of all 25 state laws for review and comparison and is available free of cost. To order, call me at 847-759-2820, extension 103, or drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. ASHI protests non-funding of Rhode Island law
On July 31, ASHI President John Ghent sent a letter to Dr. Robert Carl, Director of the Department of Administration of Rhode Island, in which he stated:
“I have learned that Rhode Island recently enacted a home inspector licensing law, but that the program has not been funded. I am writing to ask you to consider the importance of putting this program into effect. Home inspectors are a significant protection to the home buying community. We are trained and objective middlemen in the highly charged and emotional process of buying a home. I would urge that you do all in your power to see that this program receives the full funding it requires.”Public hearing on California legislation (HB1574)
California has introduced a legislative proposal that would include “energy efficiency inspections” within the definition of home inspection. HB1574 passed the Assembly and was scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Appropriations Committee on August 20.
The bill specifies that a home inspection, if requested by the client, may include an inspection of energy efficiency measures and may include the following: 1) a non-invasive inspection of insulation R-valves in attics, roofs, walls, floors and ducts; 2) the number of window panes and frame types; 3) the heating and cooling equipment and water heating systems; 4) the age and fuel type of major appliances; 5) the type of thermostat and other systems; and 6) the general integrity and potential leakage areas of walls, window areas, doors and duct systems.
Note: these items are permissive, and not required by the legislation. The bill further specifies that at the time of sale or request of an inspection, a home inspector shall either offer to perform an inspection of the home’s energy efficiency or recommend the services of another individual who can perform an inspection of the home’s energy efficiency.Alabama legislature in third special session
The Alabama legislature entered a third special session on August 28. It was widely expected that SB291, a licensing bill sponsored by Senator Barron that died in the regular session, would be revisited and quite possibly passed. The bill is being pushed strongly by the Alabama Association of Realtors®. Senator Barron is considered a powerful heavyweight in the Alabama legislature, with the clout to push a bill a long way and, coincidentally, has a sister who is a real estate agent.
Alabama has had a registration law on the books since 1996, but this law would replace registration with full licensing. It would move the law from its current housing under the Secretary of State to the Building Commission, and would mandate the Building Commission to develop an Alabama Home Inspectors Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice, and require and develop an exam that home inspectors would have to pass prior to licensure or, in the case of existing registrants, prior to renewal. This bill bears careful scrutiny. In the event that it passes, a period of public hearing will allow ASHI to present comments that represent the interests of the home inspector industry and the home buying public.