Been getting a lot of different information about condo inspections. Im a inspector in Washington. The standards of practice state that Inspectors must inspect roof and exterior. But most of the Inspectors I have talked to or worked with do not on condos. This is due to HOAs causing problems to them when they see a deficiencies in the siding and roof. If they see a problem it effects the neighbors also and inspectors have been sued by the neighbors. So many make a Statement on the report to check with the HOA on the warranty and life of the roof and outdoor materials and then refuse to inspect those areas themselves as a way to work around the SOP. Is that correct procedure? what is the best way to do this without sticking your neck out.
You have no obligation to inspect common areas.
I am called Condo Bob because I am detailed in my reporting and worked many buildings in the past so I tailor my amount of common area inspection to the property.
If your client is purchasing a unit in a 3 flat would they not wish you to give an opinion on the roof ?
Stop worrying about liability and worry about the client is my philosophy and it has served me well.
I do many multi-unit rental properties as well so experience certainly helps as with any other Endeavor.
What Bob says, I love condos too.
The reason I disclaim roofs and exteriors is because they are the responsibility of the HOA, home inspectors work for their clients, the inspection is concentrated on the stuff the client will be responsible for, mostly the interior.
If I see that a roof is old, or there are other defects the HOA is responsible I report that, along with a recommendation for the client to ask the HOA what they intend to do about it. They need to check the reserve fund status, if the HOA can’t pay for a repair all the members will get a special assessment, which could be huge, a local condo here just announced everyone has to pony up 43K each for repairs. Having said that most condos are professionally managed and better maintained and cared for than the average detached home. The higher standard for condos may be local, where I am there is legislation to make sure of that, so you may want to review what legislation, if any, governs HOAs where you are.
Other stuff to watch for are security issues (who can enter), parking, storage units etc. I do not climb the roof, but I do a scan of the exterior, try some doors, tour the parking areas, etc… I charge a lot less for condo inspections because even with all that I do they still take a lot less time to inspect and write up.
I recently inspected a $3 mil. condo on Michigan ave in Chicago. It was on the 44th floor of an 80 story building. I did not inspect the roof or “siding”.
IMO this is BS that you are hearing!
Why would a neighbor sue an inspector for alerting them to problems that the HOA has failed to maintain? Do you really think the other homeowners would prefer the inspector didn’t mention the roof is failing, and then during next rainstorm (in the PNW only 3 days away) it caused major damage?
Ignore the BS stories, and do what is right. Take care of your clients interests! If it can affect my clients purchase in any way, it gets reported. That is my job.