The Position Statement outlines the critical components that any legislation purporting to protect the homebuying public must contain: professional standards of practice and code of ethics, a psychometric high-stakes exam, and experience, education and continuing education requirements.
Template bill designed to be shared
Understanding the needs of legislators and staff, and their habit of sharing with each other, ASHI put those components in a template Model Home Inspector Licensing bill. And, we graded all existing inspector legislation according to a weighted point system correlating with the critical components. We wanted legislators to borrow from the best, not the worst. In this way, we marketed ASHI as the preeminent private sector source of expert information on any important legislative issue, offering to work with legislators to promote worthwhile regulations.
Legislative activity makes annual update necessary
The Position Statement is a living document because statutes and rules are constantly evolving, and new bills are introduced every legislative session in the 50 states. So, in June of every year, the ASHI Legislative Committee (LGC) looks at what’s new and revises the Statement accordingly.
The 2005 edition is the fourth, and a lot has changed since 2002, when 25 states were regulated. Today, 30 states have some type of inspector regulation in place. Given that 26 of those have enacted laws in the past eight years, the trend is clear: it’s only a matter of when, not if, there is regulation in every state.
What has changed in the last year? Two states, Tennessee and North Dakota, have new laws. Tennessee’s licensing law is a great improvement over its old practice act that ranked dead last a year ago. The new law ranks Tennessee at 23, with 57 points out of a possible 123 in the Acceptable range. If the Tennessee home inspector advisory board adopts worthy standards and a valid exam in the next year, it could become a Good law. That will be ASHI’s message to the Tennessee lawmakers we meet in Seattle.
On the other hand, North Dakota’s new registration act is rated Poor. It ranks next to last, with no education or experience requirements, no standards of practice or code of ethics, and no continuing education requirements. It’s hard to see who this law is protecting. Not homebuyers, that’s for sure. And that’s what we’ll tell those we talk to from North Dakota.
Top six states remain the same
What else is new in the 2005 Position Statement? The top six graded states remain the same, with Arizona moving to five from six due to the increase in education required to 80 hours.
Other states made improvements, too, and scored higher grades. Alaska adopted ASHI’s Standards of Practice. Arkansas strengthened its education requirements. And Indiana adopted experience, education, exam, standards and continuing education requirements that took it from a ranking of 22 all the way up to 10.
Action in 33 states, with more pending
All in all, it was a busy legislative year, with almost 100 bills affecting inspectors introduced in 33 states. And it’s not over yet, with important legislation pending in key states like Michigan. Changes will be noted by the LGC when it reviews what’s new in June 2006, and releases a new Position Statement at the NCSL Annual Meeting in Boston in August 2006.
In the October issue, we’ll recap what happened at the Seattle meeting. Stay tuned.
Read ASHI’s Position Statement on Regulation of Home Inspection
Download a PDF version of the 2005 Position Statement on Regulation of Home Inspectors. If you would like a saddle-stitched brochure version mailed to you or a state legislator, contact Bob Kociolek at 847-954-3177 or email@example.com.