Great court ruling for Texas inspectors.

Hot off the press. January 4, 2012. Appeals court rules Texas inspectors render opinions and are not subject to deceptive trades practices act (DTPA) treble damages. Will post PDF soon. It is too big to upload on forum.

Sounds good!

Until John can get the pdf version posted you can view it online here.

I read most of it. But I think it sucks…a crappy inspector got away with screwing clients by misinforming them.

Russell is dead on. The inspector should have done something to “make good”. I don’t view this a “victory”.

It would be nice to see the original report. Are files at the county level there accessible?

George Szontagh
TREC 2212
Newly minted InterNACHI member

This is a great court ruling for inspectors and a lesson not to suggest what repairs should be made to remedy an observed deficiency.

I would agree. Numerous screws loose and rotted wood in the attic.
It is a moisture condition alright…just not the one stated in the report.

And, he ain’t out of the woods yet:

The point people outside Texas may miss is the court ruled the inspector is not subject to Texas deceptive trade practices law. In Texas that is treble damages. Professionals are exempt from treble damages (Doctors, lawyers and surprisingly inspectors).

The court did rule the inspector could be pursued for other damages; just not treble damages.

Is there anyone who guarantees their inspection? Can we see the wording?

I can go with this. What do you guarantee in writing for a $300 dollar fee?

What do I guarantee or what can I be sued for? For a fee of $300, I think I can be sued for anything I say and even more so, for things I don’t say. The money has nothing to do with it, whether it be $300 or $30,000 it makes no difference.

I guess the question comes down to what do people expect for the fee. That is up to an SOP and contract. But to me people have paid me to perform a professional service to ascertain the conditions of their house, as they are at the time of the inspection. If that is blatantly disregarded or if signifiant visual items are missed you should be sued.

The inspector sucked and should be taken out of the profession, if my profession was put into the same arena as doctors in Florida then I would charge accordingly.

When inspectors sit back and realize people are sometimes using their life saving based on our decisions and inspections, they will see how serious this profession is no matter how high or low the fee is.

There is no guarantee on anything.
Judging by the limited information, it appears the inspector either didn’t see the issue or misinterpreted the issue.
In any event either intentionally or due to incompetence, he didn’t fail the roof. He should be sued and lose.

Just exactly what did you wake up smoking this morning?:shock:

I guarantee all of my clients that there are NO guarantees in this life, especially from me for $300.:smiley:

I like how you think.

You don’t guarantee your work? I do, all day everyday.

Why are you hung up on the $300? Is there a mandate in Texas to charge $300? Is there a mandate to charge any certain amount? If you feel you risk is worth more than $300, then charge what you feel it is worth, if people won’t pay it then you are not giving the client value for their money.

Nothing.

Retherford, a TREC-licensed professional real estate inspector, was hired by Frank and Terri Castro to perform a home inspection of a residence that they had signed a contract to purchase. Retherford completed the inspection in March of 2008 and noted in the “Roof Structure and Attic” section that it was “Not Functioning or in Need of Repair” because there was water damage in the attic and also observed that there was water damage in two rooms of the house, but believed that the water damage was caused by condensation from the metal roof resulting from a lack of ventilation.

Retherford indicated that the water damage was not a serious issue in his inspection report, although he included photos of the relevant areas. In the report, Retherford also gave the Castros advice on how to fix the ventilation issues in the attic. Retherford noted that the roof covering was inspected but stated “No problems were noted.” The Castros purchased the house “as is.”

In October of 2008, in the first big rain after the Castros’ purchase, approximately three inches of rain fell and water started running down the wall of Castro’s residence in the same place where the water damage was noted on the inspection report. The Castros went up on the roof to look for problems and discovered loose screws on the roof, some of which were visibly noticeable and could be turned with their fingers.

In November of 2008, Castro took photographs of the roof from the attic which showed the same damage Retherford had included in his report.
The Castros repaired the roof in April of 2009 but could not afford to replace the roof entirely as recommended.

Prior to having the roof repaired, in March of 2009, the Castros had a second TREC-licensed professional home inspector to inspect the roof and ascertain why the roof was leaking. This inspector determined that many of the screws on the roof were loose and found black discoloration stains around the screw shanks in the attic, which he contended showed long-term water damage of more than twelve months’ age. The inspector observed screws that were sticking up out of the roof from the ground which he also believed had been in that state for at least a year.

The second inspector explained the proper method to inspect a metal roof and opined that the leaks would have been discovered if Retherford had the necessary experience and knowledge to properly inspect the roof, although he did not know Retherford or anything about his qualifications. Further, pursuant to TREC rules regarding home inspections the cause of the moisture was not required to be disclosed but that adequate ventilation would not have solved the problem of the moisture because it was actually caused by a leaking roof.

The individual who repaired the roof also testified that the black discoloration he observed in the wooden beams in the attic had to have been there for longer than twelve months and that he found approximately 200 screws of varying degrees of looseness on the roof out of approximately 1500 on the entire roof when his company repaired the roof.

Perhaps I should point out a few things here:

(1) This section of the forum is for Texas inspectors, if I am not mistaken. You seem to be 1186 miles east of the subject - in Flahdah.

(2) Condemning others in your profession is about unprofessional as it gets.

(3) Deciding in advance, based on hearsay from court records that someone is guilty is just like the tradesman that follows on the heels of an HI saying that he should have seen or done this or that. Cheap shot BS talk. A little decorum is in order here, in my opinion.

So because it is in Texas, it will never affect me? Is that what you are saying?
It is an open message board. Anyone can give a response to any post here.

Hearsay from court records? You mean “transcripts for an actual court case where evidence was heard and a ruling given”?

It is quite apparent that the inspector at the least, by his own testimony, offered a solution which was improper for the condition. That is unprofessional.

You the nail on the head with that one.

I don’t find it surprising inspectors in Texas have DTPA protection. Inspectors call themselves and advertise themselves professionals, the buyer looks upon them as a professional and they have a Texas issued professional license.

However, I hear other inspectors complain about realtor inspectors to which they may be themselves but are now being beaten up even more in low ball fees and empty reports in order to stay on a realtors list. It appears they never developed a client referral base and solely rely on what’s thrown at them by a sales agent. It does not appear that the buyer is their true client.
Don’t need a smell test on that one.

*(http://www.willcoxinspections.com/realtor_referrals_house_inspector.htm).

There are avenues to which one can sue an inspector in Texas instead of the (weak to worthless) DPTA approach which only costs all the litigants money because DTPA has been thrown out multiple times now. Few lawyers have that knowledge of the law when it comes to home inspections. Maybe they should read the interNACHI message board? Why wait until a court rules to what the lawyers should have already known? Negligence, breach of contract, breach of duty (to follow the SoP as discovered by the second guy), failure to…, etc. seems to be missed in the first go around.

P.S. - The Texas SoP requires inspection of roof covering fasteners at TREC 535.228(e)(3)(i). This sub-section header says… “The inspector shall…” …(inspect and report deficiencies). It can’t get any clearer than that. I believe the second guy said he could see deficient fasteners from the ground and by ladder so it does not appear there would be a “not accessible” departure provision.*