Does an inspector pay for decay that was found because of probing?

I recently did an inspection on a home with hardboard lap siding on 3 sides of the home. I found decay around the chimney area, where siding butts into inside and outside corner boards, along the decking area where someone applied flashing directly to the siding then on top of the decking, where siding butts into window casing. I also found window casing decay, garage door rail decay, soffit decay and front door casing decay. I used a screw driver to probe these areas and without probing would have never found the decay. One area around the chimney I probed deeper and wider because I was concerned about framing decay and sure enough I found framing decay also.

My client went on to get pricing for the issues I found and to renegotiate her contract during the due diligence phase. The seller is pi#%ed and wants me to pay for the “damage” he said that I did to his home. $500 worth. He contacted me in an email and I have as yet not responded. I feel that I located all the decay that his painters and handyman tried to hide prior to the home going on the market.

Any thoughts on this issue would greatly be appreciated.

How about

Sorry Mr Home owner but you have some rot in various places around your home .
It is unfortunate that this has happened.
If the home had of had proper continuing maintenance ( painting and Caulking ) this might not have happened.
I as the home inspector can not be held responsible for these deficiencies.
Wish you all the best and If I can be of any assistance please do call .
Thanks Your reliable Home inspector .

Roy Cooke,
I read with all of the fan fair and Hoopla that you had quit and were no longer a member of NACHI!

I thought that you were under suspension and was not to post ANYTHING on this message board!

Originally Posted by jfarsetta

For the very last time, your information is bogus. You told me of this, and I have steadfastly rejected it as BS.

Keith Swift is far from gone.

John Bowman resigned

Ray Wand self-destructed.

You have been steering your own boat with regard to these matters.

I sincerely hope that the members of ESOP who are reviewing the complaints on all sides continue to do so. IT matters not, in my mind, that you have so publicly fallen on your sword. The timing is impeccable.

As far as being vindictive, you and I know full well that the claim is without merit.

*As are most of yor claims. *
End Quote:

Quote: Roy Cooke:
Thanks Joe and we all know you are correct and Roy is gone and you are the Champ just like always .

Joe if they can read well and I expect they can then I will be vindicated but it matters not as I am gone .
Sorry Nick been good and enjoyed my stay .
Hope NACHI carries on for the better but if not so be it.
The F F are the Champs. –
Roy Cooke.RHI.
[FONT=Verdana][size=2]End Quote:[/size][/FONT]

What a shame and it was soooo peaceful with you “gone”:roll:

A screwdriver is the wrong tool to use, plus an inspection is a non-invasive survey. You need to probe with an Awl, it causes minimal damage and can be pushed in far enough to determine if there is damage to the framing members, followed up by determining moisture content. I do not need to see the decay, I can tell by the resistance,(Feel) to determine if the hidden wood is soft or not. Whenever I find surface decay, that is where I write it up as needing further evalution, by the appropiate contractor, to determine the extent of the damage, because a Home inspection is non-invasive, according to my inspection agreement, which the client signed. You need to read your signed agreement and SOP, then determine if you went beyond the SOP, and made it an invasive survey, with your choice of tools and methods of inspecting, then make the choice which will keep you out of court. Do you have any pictures of the area before and after? Maybe you could show them to us. Hope this helps.

The short answer is yes, you are responsible for any damages made to the property as a result of your inspection. As Ken stated, the physical inspection is intended to be “non-invasive,” or “non-destructive.”

However, if there is a WDO “clause” in the purchase contract (pretty standard with NAR contracts) it may be that the issue will be addressed by the termite inspector.

I still don’t see how you can make something that is broke—broker:D

If you know how a house is put together you can probe here and there to get enough information to report the rot (including to framing members) and recommend further investigation with repairs as needed but I wouldn’t be a happy camper if someone pulled my siding apart to see my framing.

On the other hand, I’ve run into areas that were so soft pieces fell apart with the littlest touch.

Without pictures it is hard to judge.

What damage did you do to anything that already needed replacing? What is she claiming is her lost?

One thing about water, is the way gravity works on it. Whenever I see a suspect area,(large amounts of caulking, fresh paint, pigment, uneven surfaces) I bend over and look up under the siding and trim. If there is water intrusion anywhere above, it will always find it’s way down to bottom, and in most cases, the person trying to cosmetically hide a problem area, neglects to cover the evidence down under.

That is the question to ask. What are they out from what you did? The key in many lawsuits is making them whole and not to profit off of the lawsuit. The wood is damaged and asking you pay to have it fixed would be consider a profit.

I agree with what was written by a few here that the extent you probed would determine if you went too far or not. With that said, it needs to be fixed so what you did is likely not going to cost anything more to the seller.

This is how the AZ SOP reads so I probe things, I probe harder if I am also doing a WDI inspection. I would not offer to pay for rotten wood. Who ever painted over rotten wood should fix it.

While this may or may not work - tell the seller that you did not damage anything that was not aready damged. All you did was expose it. While your methods may have been agressive, I have found this to work in the past.

I agree.

Additionally, wouldn’t a contractor coming in to evaluate the issue have made similar damage or worse?

I did an inspection last month where the framing in the cellar was riddled with powder post beetles. I reached up and grabbed a floor joist to give it a “wiggle” to test for soundness and a 8"x3" section broke off in my hand. I brought it up with me to show the buyers and seller what they were dealing with. Am I now liable for structural repairs to this house?:shock:

I think the digging deeper to see if the framing was rotten went too far.

If you push on a piece of wood and you fall through that is one thing.
But when you have located surface rot, it is not your job to evaluate the extent of damage through extended intrusive inspection. You refer it to be repaired and further tested by the repairer.

What about when you probe wood that is not rotten?

The two small pins on a contact moisture meter; damage.

You have to be careful. Testing can not damage.

I remember seeing several years ago a picture posted here of a 12" Bowie knife sticking into the side of a house 4" of better. Damage!

Only if you were using a 12# sledge hammer! :wink:

The same thing also applies to floor structures. I’ve seen joists and girders that have been severely torn into by termite inspectors with rock hammers. I use a rock hammer myself, but I limit the amount of wacking I do with it once I find decay. I don’t have to determine the **extent **of decay, only that it exists.

Just a tip for other inspectors. I did a inspection last week on a vacant home. The buyer started ripping rotted boards off of the rear deck, I quickly snapped a picture of him doing it.

Just another tip for other inspectors. When doing an inspection on a vacant home and she (the buyer) starts ripping off her clothes, quickly snap a picture of her doing it.:wink:

Good one!:wink:

Wait a minute. If I understand this post the only damage that Louis caused was superficial at best. So, put it back the way it was. A little caulk and paint at the probe point should do it. Or offer the seller (in the most extreme cases) enough money to buy a tube of caulk.
Although, I never probe with a screwdriver, I would refuse to improve the condition of the property beyond the condition it was in when I arrived. Since many of the properties I inspect are 30 - 40 - 50+ years old I carry a little caulk with me. Sometimes it is necessary to look a little under the surface whether it is with a moisture meter or an awl to serve you client.
I was through this once where I ran my hand over a plaster wall and the slightest pressure was enough to make the flaking plaster underneath fall to the floor. Seller wanted me to replaster wall and paint. Gave him my attorneys telephone No. Never heard a word.