As we mentioned in the February Reporter, 44 of the 50 states are planning to or have convened their legislative sessions. Those states not in regular session will be having a wide variety of study committee meetings and, in some cases, special sessions. We have seen legislative activity in a number of states. The first reports follow. For more details, including links to the bills and status updates, visit the ASHI Legislative Action Center on the ASHI Web site.California SB 31
is a certification bill. It would amend the law that currently governs the conduct of home inspectors. Under current law, a person may perform the duties of a home inspector so long as he/she ‘conducts a home inspection with the degree of care that a reasonable prudent home inspector would recognize,’ and refrains from committing ‘unfair business practices.’ SB 31 would prohibit any person from calling themselves a ‘home inspector’ or a ‘certified home inspector’ without first fulfilling certain requirements. SB 31 seeks to define a home inspection professional association and define its duties in certifying home inspectors. SB 31 also would require a home inspector to disclose in writing his/her qualifications, whether the home inspector carries general and professional liability insurance, and whether the home inspector is certified prior to commencing a home inspection. Certain other items also would be added to the list of unfair business practices which are prohibited.Kansas HB 2100
specifies that contractual language which limits liability of home inspectors be null and void. HB 2100 makes any clause or provision in an agreement or contract issued by a home inspector for a home inspection report which contains language limiting or disclaiming the home inspector’s liability as to any system or component of the residential dwelling covered by such report against public policy and void.Kentucky SB 34
requires home inspectors to be licensed and defines the terms and requirements of licensure. The bill creates the Kentucky Board of Inspectors and establishes qualifications, duties and fees for board members. Home inspector renewal and education requirements, as well as disciplinary procedures, also are included in the bill. Maryland HB 178
alters specific requirements for the licensing of home inspectors, requires specific disclosures to be provided by a licensed home inspector prior to performing home inspection, and extends a specific provision relating to the commencement of specified licensing requirements for home inspectors. On January 21, 2004, HB 178 was introduced in the Maryland House. HB 178 was referred to the Committee on Economic Matters.Massachusetts S 118
outlines disclosure obligations. S 118 lists homeowner disclosure requirements and sets forth guidelines by which a person must have their home inspected prior to sale.Massachusetts S 396
amends current law by permitting the completion of a home inspection course to count as 25 home inspections.Massachusetts S 415
amends a liability clause for home inspectors. S 415 seeks to allow civil/criminal action to be taken only one year from the date of the home inspector’s report. Current law allows three years.Massachusetts H 1660
would modify time limits within which actions can be taken against a home inspector. Current law states that a complainant may have up to three years to take action against a home inspector. H 1660 seeks to shorten that time limit from three years to one year. New Hampshire SB 492
requires home inspectors to annually register with the state building code review board. The act would take effect 60 days the bill’s passage.
New Jersey S 186 is identical to SB 2412 from last session. S 186 seeks to change grandfathering eligibility requirements to any person who has performed home inspections for compensation for not less than 10 years prior to July 1998, and has performed not less than 300 home inspections for compensation. Additionally, S 186 seeks to make it possible to be “grandfathered” without completing the examination offered by ASHI. New Mexico SB 589
is a licensing bill. SB 589 provides for the regulation and licensing of home inspectors, 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.New York A 00076, A 06478, and S04616
are licensing bills introduced in 2003. On January 8, all three were re-referred to the Judiciary Committee.
Pennsylvania SB 427 would amend Title 68 of the Pennsylvania Statutes. SB 427 expands exemptions for building professionals and home inspectors who have not attained full standing in an accredited national home inspection association. SB 427 seeks to authorize building professionals and home inspections, under the supervision of an accredited home inspector, to legally conduct home inspections. Pennsylvania SB 928
establishes a departmental administrative board in the Department of State to regulate home inspectors. The board would consist of 11 members, six of which shall be registered home inspectors. The board’s duties would include establishing procedures for processing and resolving complaints, developing model home inspection contracts, issuing registration certificates to qualified home inspectors, and maintaining a list of registered home inspectors. The bill also outlines procedures for inspection reports and inspector registration. The inspector registration process includes proof of successful completion of a board-approved competency examination administered by a national home inspectors association. South Carolina H 4246
would create a Home Inspector Licensing Board, outline the criteria necessary to become licensed as a home inspector, provide for the duties that a home inspector must complete during a home inspection and, among other issues, create a statute of limitations for filing a claim against a home inspector.Tennessee SB 2731 and HB 2914
are companion bills involving home inspectors. Both bills create a board to license home inspectors and set requirements for obtaining a license. The board would consist of seven members appointed by the governor. Four members of the board would be licensed home inspectors; the rest of the board will consist of a home builder, real estate agent and an owner of a residential building. The board would have the power to issue, renew and suspend licenses, adopt and publish a code of ethics, as well as establish rules for training home inspectors.SB 2731 and HB 2914
also establish requirements for obtaining a home inspector license. To obtain a license, one must be at least 18 years old and hold a high school degree or equivalent. A home inspector also would have to complete 150 supervised home inspections, as well as complete and pass a commission-approved training course and competency test.Utah SB 28
was introduced for the 2004 legislative session by Senator Julander. SB 28 is nearly identical to SB 62, which was introduced last session and failed to pass the House. SB 28 clarifies the practice of home inspections by setting guidelines and definitions, listing exclusions and specifying written home inspection report requirements. The bill 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. SB 28 also sets a code of ethics for home inspectors, which is the only part of the bill that has been reworded from SB 62.Virginia HB 853
would allow architects and engineers to perform home inspections.
In addition to these bills dealing with licensure, certification or registration of home inspectors, several states have bills that would affect the way home inspectors perform inspections, requiring separate licensing for parts of the process. There also are bills affecting disclosure. Space does not permit full reporting on these, but they all may be found in the Legislative Action Center