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    Document Summary
    - Report Published -

    Senate Document No. 4

    Document Title
    The Need for Regulation of Home Inspectors

    Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation

    Enabling Authority
    SJR 254 (Regular Session, 1993)

    Executive Summary
    A. Study Overview

    Senate Joint Resolution 254 and House Joint Resolution 493 as passed by the 1993 Session of the Virginia General Assembly, requested the Board of Professional and Occupational Regulation (formerly the Board of Commerce) to study the feasibility of licensing home inspectors. The Board was instructed to report its findings to the Governor and the 1994 Session of the General Assembly.

    The Board of Professional and Occupational Regulation, through the means of public hearings and surveys to involved parties, studied the nature of this occupation, its effect on public health, safety and welfare, and the feasibility of regulating the occupation.

    The Board's recommendations are based on an extensive analysis of this information.

    B. Key Findings

    1. The home inspection industry has been in existence for more than ten years, and will continue to grow as home buyers seek to be thoroughly informed on the physical condition of a home and as sellers comply with the Virginia Residential Property Disclosure Act, which requires sellers to disclose all known defects in the condition of the property.

    2. Some home inspectors, as part of their routine home inspection, do cite violations to the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code (USBC) despite the Attorney General's 1989 opinion that the local government building official is solely responsible for assuring compliance with the USBC.

    3. Very few documented cases of harm to public health, safety or welfare were brought to the attention of the Board. The Board recognized the potential for harm and the uncertainty by consumers as to how or where to report the incompetent or unethical activity of a home inspector.

    4. While some states are now considering a regulatory program, very few states currently regulate home inspectors.

    C. Conclusions

    After considering the findings and the regulatory options, the following conclusions were made:

    1. The Board does not have sufficient evidence of home inspectors posing a threat to public health, safety and welfare to justify the need for a regulatory program at this time.

    2. Based on the projected number of potential regulants, and in order for the program to comply with the provisions of the Callahan Act, a regulatory program for this industry could be quite costly to home inspectors.

    3. The Board acknowledges the potential for harm as expressed by home builders, local building officials and real estate professionals.

    4. The Board believes that consumer education on how to choose a home inspector and how to report problems with a home inspector is necessary.

    D. Recommendations

    The Board of Professional and Occupational Regulation recommends that no state regulatory program be imposed upon home inspectors at this time. The Board will continue to monitor complaints filed against home inspectors with information received from Consumer Affairs Offices, and will review the need for regulation in two years or at such time as an increase in complaints would warrant.

    The Board will also investigate the possibility of publishing a consumer-oriented brochure on choosing a home inspector.