Well… Here it is!!! the first discussion draft!
Well… Here it is!!! the first discussion draft!
No grandfathering, oh boy.
We can still make changes …this is just the panel discussion draft…at least it allows for three of the five member board to be Home Inspectors!
First blush. Not edited for my typos. Will continue with more later. The key to surviving this onerous wording is the ability of the inspector to limit liability via the pre-inspection agreement. If that cannot be done this Bill kills the inspector. You asked for a critical review. Glad to provide. No offense.
SECTION 2. PURPOSE.
The purpose of the Home Inspector Licensing Act is to provide for regulation and supervision of the business of home inspection and evaluation, including assessing the condition[why not just say “inspection” and then provide a definition for “inspection”] of residential real estate, providing comprehensive analysis[the keystone of home inspection is its general nature. “Comprehensive analysis” is going to crush the industry and objective.] of the condition of property and providing necessary evidence of condition [this means the inspector must report the basis of opinion on defects and non defects, not just the defect itself. It follows the unreasonable expectation of “comprehensive analysis”.] to clients.
**SECTION 3. **DEFINITIONS.
As used in the Home Inspector Licensing Act:
A. “client” means a person who engages through a written pre-inspection agreement the services of a home inspector for the purpose of obtaining a written inspection report on the condition of a residential building; [may an inspector and client agree to limit liability in a contract in New Mexico? The contract is keystone in this regulation but its going to be hard to get past the requirements of Section 2 above]
B. “commission” means the New Mexico Real Estate Commission; [this could mean a government jobs program]
C. “committee” means the New Mexico Home Inspector Licensing Committee as established in this act;
D. “compensation” means the payment for home inspection services pursuant to the written pre-inspection agreement; [does failure to pay eliminate all inspector liability to all parties now and in the future for the report?]
E. “fund” means the Home Inspection Licensing Fund created through fee revenue. [a Government jobs program? The way this Bill is written allows for government to be expanded without statute. Just pass a Rule; raise fees; hire staff.]
F. “home inspection” means a noninvasive, nondestructive[subjective words to be defined by lawyers and a state agency. The key missing words are “visual only, without disassembly or moving items”.] inspection by a licensee for the purposes of providing a professional written opinion [what is the difference between a “written opinion” and “professional written opinion”. The addition of “professional” increases inspector responsibility. The amount of training required (80 hours) falls way short of the expectations. A beautician probably has tougher requirements] of the condition of a building and its carports and garages, any reasonable“reasonable” is legal wording that means a lawyer or the state determines what the inspector should have done. It’s a word that empowers enforcement and neuters the inspector. Delete “reasonable” and focus the law on a “visual only” inspection of “readily accessible areas without disassembly”] accessible installed components and the operation of the building systems, including the controls normally operated by the owner of a residential building, such as the heating system, cooling system, plumbing system, structural components, foundation, roof covering, exterior and interior components and site aspects as they affect the building; [this does not limit the inspectors activity. It defines a lesser part of the scope. See section B to understand that the inspection is comprehensive. “Normally operated” does not mean “with normal controls and in one mode”. It means all controls and modes. Refer to Section B “comprehensive”]
G. “home inspector” means a person who has a license pursuant to the Home Inspector Licensing Act who engages in the business of performing home inspections and generating inspection reports pursuant to a written pre-inspection agreement; [pre-inspection means “agreement before you begin inspecting”. If you do not have an agreement and the buyer does not show up (or shows up late) you may not inspect. Only the broke ethical inspectors will comply. ]
H. “license” means a home inspector license;
I. “licensee” means the holder of a license;
J. “pre-inspection agreement” is the written agreement by which a client engages the services of a home inspector. [what is the definition of “engages”? The written agreement is much more than a mere “engagement”. It defines the Scope and limitations]
K. “report” means a written opinion of the functional and physical condition of the residential real property prepared pursuant to a pre-inspection agreement between a client and licensee as defined in this act; [the act sprinkles a lot of Scope and Standards language in it so far. The inconsistent wording confuses the Scope of the inspection. Delete all of this and write a definition for “inspection”. Then just say “inspection”]
L. “residential real property” means any real property used for residential purposes, or manufactured or modular home, which is a single-family dwelling, duplex, triplex, quadruplex (1-4 residential units) or unit as defined in the Condominium Act, except that residential real property does not include the common areas of a condominium as defined in the Condominium Act, Section 47-7A-1, NMSA 1978.
**SECTION 4. **LICENSING COMMITTEE CREATED - COMPOSITION.
A. The “Home Inspector Licensing Committee” is created. The Licensing Committee is administratively attached to the Regulation and Licensing Department. The Committee is comprised of five members initially nominated by the working group established pursuant to Senate Memorial 2 (need citation) and appointed by the governor.
B. One COMMITTEE member should be a public member.
C. Additional Committee member(s) should include three (3) Home Inspectors
- who have actively engaged [part time?] in the practice of home inspections for at least five years immediately preceding their appointment; [the appointee should practice full time during the appointment period. If you do not do this you will have someone who retires governing inspectors.]
- who demonstrate that they have passed a proctored national home inspector examination; [good opportunity for INACHI to offer a proctored test]
- who are representative of a widely diverse[what does this mean? Sex, race and ADA quotas? Affirmative action?] and geographically dispersed[25% of New Mexico is in Albuquerque. New Mexico is the sixth-most sparsely inhabited U.S. state.] cross-section of the state’s population;
D. The fifth Committee Member may be from related licensed professions to the real estate industry (Real Estate Brokers, Engineers, Appraisers, et.al.). [Make the law state clearly that no Real Estate Broker or agent may be on the board. They have a provable inherent conflict of interest. Argue this with RESPA.]
E. Committee members shall be appointed to staggered five-year terms and shall serve until their successors are nominated and appointed. [TOO long. This establishes a kingdom. Cut it to three years and include term limits. No re-appointments ever. If you do not do this you will end up with the same people making rules for 20 years. The proof is in Texas]
F. A vacancy on the Committee shall be filled by appointment from the Governor for the unexpired term within sixty days of the vacancy.
**SECTION 5. **DUTIES OF THE COMMITTEE.
The Committee shall:
A. Adopt rules and procedures necessary to administer and enforce [delete “enforce” This is what causes a State agency to grow out of control. The agency should focus on qualifications and education only. All enforcement should defer to the civil courts first and foremost. If you let the agency “enforce” the inspector will be subjected to dual jeopardy; the civil process and agency process. This will crush business. The State should not be allowed to take an enforcement action without a civil action first.] the provisions of the Home Inspector Licensing Act;
B. Issue and renew licenses to home inspectors pursuant to the provisions of that act;
C. May suspend, revoke or deny the license of a home inspector based on the act;
D. Establish standards for the training and experience requirements of home inspectors and for continuing education requirements; [Big mistake. This needs to be done by statute and not in Rule. If you allow this the board / agency will become rule makers of great consequence. Define training, experience and continuing education by statute. Anything else empowers people you have not met. Trust me, a bureaucrat can be dangerous.]
E. Adopt and publish a code of ethics and standards of practice for home inspectors [Big mistake. Let business choose a standard and ethics. Do not write one yourself. California has allowed business to adopt their own trade association standards successfully for years. Once you empower the agency or board to write the Standard you will regret it]
F. Establish and administer the fees charged for examinations, licenses, renewals and other services of the committee; and [The fees I have seen later in this document are outrageous. They do serve however to eliminate competition. 80 hours of education and big license fee serves the interest of production companies with disposable inspectors.]
G. Perform other functions and duties as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of the Home Inspector Licensing Act. [a catch all that empowers the agency. Very dangerous. Delete].
and more. Its late. I am having fun with this. Don’t get angry. I suggest you try to delete 1/2 the words and repost. Keep it simple
**SECTION 6. **COMMITTEE REIMBURSEMENT AND EXPENSES.
Each member of the Committee shall receive per diem and mileage as provided in the Per Diem and Mileage Act and shall receive no other perquisite, compensation or allowance. Compensation for employees, any necessary supplies and equipment shall be paid from the fund. “employees”? Is this a job creation bill slipped into the Committee section?]
**SECTION 7. **LICENSE REQUIRED.
A. Unless licensed to practice as a home inspector under the Home Inspector Licensing Act, no person shall:
- conduct home inspections, develop a report [this makes it illegal for a helper to type a report unless they are licensed] or otherwise engage in the business of home inspection; or
- use the title “certified home inspector”, “registered home inspector”, “licensed home inspector”, “home inspector”, “professional home inspector” or any other title, abbreviation, letters, figures, signs or devices that indicate the person is a licensed home inspector.
- use the term “state licensed” or “licensed” to refer to any inspection prepared by them.
B. A business entity shall not provide home inspection services unless each of the home inspectors employed by the business entity is licensed in accordance with the provisions of the Home Inspector Licensing Act. [So a business entity that employs inspectors in Texas must assure the Texas inspectors are licensed in New Mexico even though they do not inspect in New Mexico? A business entity is limited to the State of new Mexico?]
C. A business entity shall not use, in connection with the name or signature of the business entity, the title “home inspectors” to describe the business entity’s services, unless each of the home inspectors employed by the business entity is licensed in accordance with the provisions of the Home Inspector Licensing Act. [see previous comment]
D. The term “licensed home inspector” along with the license number of the inspector shall appear on all advertising, correspondence, and documents incidental to a home inspection. [Over regulation. Simply require it on the agreement and in the report. Its unenforceable to include in advertising and the internet. What provable public good does it do? This is Rule writing for the sake of writing Rules.]
SECTION 8. LICENSE EXEMPTIONS.
A. The Home Inspector Licensing Act shall not apply to:
- Persons licensed by the state as professional engineers when acting within the scope of their license.
- Persons licensed by the state as architects when acting within the scope of their license.
- Persons licensed by the state or any political subdivision as electricians when acting within the scope of their license.
- Persons licensed by the state or any political subdivision as plumbers when acting within the scope of their license.
- Persons licensed by the state or any political subdivision as heating and air conditioning technicians when acting within the scope of their license.
- Persons licensed by the state as real estate brokers or real estate sales persons when acting within the scope of their license.
- Persons licensed by the state as real estate appraisers, certified general appraisers, or residential real estate appraisers when acting within the scope of their license.
- Persons licensed by the state as pest control operators when acting within the scope of their license.
- Persons regulated by the state as insurance adjusters when acting within the scope of their profession. [is “regulated” different than “licensed”?]
- Persons who are employed as code enforcement officials by the state or any political subdivision when acting within the scope of their employment by such governmental entity.
- Persons licensed by the state or any political subdivision as contractors when acting within the scope of their license.
- Persons who perform warranty evaluations of components, systems, or appliances within resale residential buildings for the purpose of issuance of a home warranty agreement, provided that the warranty evaluation report includes a statement that the warranty evaluation performed is not a home inspection and does not meet the standards of a home inspection under this act. No home warranty company shall refer to a warranty evaluation as a home inspection in any written materials provided by the home warranty company. [Many years ago I investigated home inspection in New Mexico. The Realtors told me “we do not need home inspections; we have warranty company’s”. The money is in the warranty business.]
[12.1 What about persons who provide reserve studies (cost of repair and estimated life statements]
- Persons who perform Energy Audits of residential properties.
**SECTION 9. **HOME INSPECTOR LICENSURE.
A. Applicants for licensure shall apply to the licensing committee/commission. Prior to issuance of a license, applicants shall meet the following requirements:
- Have reached the age of majority ?]and be a legal resident of the United States [careful; Obama feds will come get you like in Arizona];
- Provide the Home Inspection Licensing Committee, a NCIC background report for review. [explain the acronym. What is NCIC? National Certification Inspector Committee?]
- Have completed forty hours of field training, or its equivalent as determined by the committee [this makes the 40 hour requirement non essentail], and eighty hours of classroom training [eliminates on line training], the content of which shall be established by rule; [Dangerous. It empowers the agency to become an education qualification authority. Before you know it you will hire an employee to review syllabuses]
- Pass a proctored nationally provided home inspector examination, (National Home Inspectors Exam (NHIE), as administered by the Examination Board of Professional Home Inspectors (EBPHI)). [INACHI should proctor exams. This favors one exam provider]
- Maintain the insurance coverage described in Section 14. Insurance. of this act.
B. The committee/commission, may license without proof of the training required in Subsection A of this section any person who can demonstrate to the committee/commission that the person:
- Has actively and engaged in home inspections for at least thirty six (36) months prior to January 1, 2013. [define actively. I know some active part time inspectors]
- Has provided to the Home Inspection Licensing Committee, a NCIS background report for review. [prior comment]
- Has passed a proctored national home inspector examination (National Home Inspectors Exam (NHIE), as administered by the Examination Board of Professional Home Inspectors (EBPHI)). [prior comment]
- Is licensed to conduct home inspections in another state or territory of the United States or the District of Columbia, the applicant must provide the committee/commission with a certificate of good standing from the applicant’s licensing authority and can provide confirmation of passing a proctored nationally provided home inspector examination (National Home Inspectors Exam (NHIE), as administered by the Examination Board of Professional Home Inspectors (EBPHI)). [This looks like an ex Texas TREC administrator is lobbying for EBPHI. INACHI needs to offer an exam.
C. After completion of the application form, proctored national examination and payment of the application fee, the committee/commission may issue a license.
SECTION 10. LICENSE RENEWAL.
A. All home inspector licenses shall be renewed TRI-ANNUALLY as established in rules of the committee/commission.
B. A licensee may renew the license by submitting a renewal fee, renewal application, proof of error’s and omission insurance [current insurance or proof of insurance for past three years? How does board know the inspector will stay current?] , NCIS background check and proof of continuing
education to the committee/commission every three years not later than the last day of the month following the licensee’s birth month.
**SECTION 11. **INACTIVE STATUS.
A. A licensee may put their license on inactive status by returning their license to the committee/commission. [What if it got lost? They have to pay $50 to replace it so they can surrender it!]
B. A licensee whose license has been placed on inactive status may not conduct home inspections as described in this act. [A conductor leads a group. May I play fiddle for the conductor without a license?]
C. A license may be reactivated upon application to the committee/commission.
SECTION 12. CONTINUING EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS.
The committee/commission shall adopt rules providing for continuing education programs that offer courses in home inspection practices and techniques. [Dangerous. Allows the board to become an education accrediting agency] The rules shall require that a home inspector, as a condition of license renewal, shall successfully complete a minimum of thirty classroom hours of instruction every three years in courses approved by the committee/commission. [Increasing the 30 hour requirement should be done by statute only. If you do not do this the board can increase the hours at their pleasure]
SECTION 13. LICENSE RECOGNITION.
A. The committee/commission shall issue a license to a non-resident home inspector provided that the applicant’s resident state’s requirements for licensing are the same or substantially similar to the requirements set forth in the Home Inspector Licensing Act. [No state qualifies because no State specifies comprehensive evaluations as a requirement.] In the event that the other state’s requirements are not similar or cannot be verified, a
qualifying nonresident may become a licensed home inspector in this state by conforming to all the conditions of the Home Inspector Licensing Act. An examination taken in another state is acceptable in New Mexico provided the examination was at the appropriate level and was a proctored examination. If it is beneficial to the New Mexico-licensed home inspectors, the committee/commission may negotiate agreements with other states allowing reciprocity [Beneficial to New Mexico Inspectors? What? More competition?]. The license shall be issued upon payment of the application fee, verification that the applicant has complied with his resident state’s current education requirements and filing with the committee/commission of a license history with verification of good standing by the licensing committee/commission of the other state. [EZ 1, 2 3 and I have a license]
B. The nonresident applicant shall file an irrevocable consent that suits and actions may be commenced against him in the proper court of any county of this state in which a cause of action may arise from his actions as a home inspector or in which the plaintiff may reside by service of any processes or pleadings authorized by the laws of New Mexico on the committee/commission, with the consent stipulating and agreeing that such service of processes or pleadings on the committee/commission shall be taken and held in all courts to be valid and binding as if personal service has been made upon the applicant in New Mexico. In case a process or pleading mentioned in the case is served upon the committee/commission, it shall be by duplicate copies, one of which shall be filed in the office of the committee/commission and the other immediately forwarded by
registered mail to the nonresident New Mexico-licensed home inspector to whom the processes or pleadings are directed. [Well at least it requires registered mail. In Texas they say mail. That means in Texas all they have to do is say “we mailed it; screw you”.
**SECTION 14. **INSURANCE.
A home inspector or a home inspector’s employer shall maintain a policy of insurance covering:
- All active practicing licensed home inspectors shall carry errors and omissions insurance to cover all activities contemplated under this Act. [No tail?]
- The committee, by rule, may enter into a contract with a qualified insurance carrier to make available to home inspector licensees a group policy of errors and omissions insurance and general liability insurance. [Heck I would sue the State if they screwed up that contract with an insurance company] The committee shall establish the terms and conditions of coverage, including but not limited to the permissible deductible [better put this in the statute or the Rules will change on a whim. Do not empower a Rule making agency to become a tyrant.] and permissible exemptions [add exclusions or other “insurance” lingo. A lot of insurance companies sell policies with a lot of exclusions. They rip off stupid inspectors and the public]. However, licensees shall have the option of obtaining errors and omissions insurance independently that complies with the coverage requirements established by the committee. [Insurance? Make it clear what the inspector is liable for. Insurance has an implied warranty]
B. In addition to general errors and omissions insurance, all active licensees shall carry general liability insurance to cover all activities contemplated under this Act. [How much coverage? What exclusions?]
SECTION 15. FEES.
The committee shall charge and collect the following fees not to exceed:
A. License application fee – One Hundred Fifty dollars ($150.00);
B. NCIS Background Check – One Hundred dollars ($100.00);
C. Three Year License Fee – Five Hundred dollars ($500.00);
$750.00 to get a license PLUS the insurance fee. That is a good way to kill jobs for people with a whopping 80 hours of education]
D. License Renewal Fee – Five Hundred dollars ($500.00)
E. Reactivation Fee – Two Hundred ($200.00).
F. For each duplicate license issued because a license is lost or destroyed and an affidavit as to its loss or destruction is made and filed, fifty dollars ($50.00); and fees to cover reasonable and necessary administrative expenses.
**SECTION 16. **CIVIL AND CRIMINAL PENALTIES - INJUNCTIVE RELIEF.
A. Any person who violates any provision of the Home Inspector Licensing Act is guilty of a fourth degree felony and shall be punished by a fine of not more than five thousand dollars ($5,000) or by imprisonment for not more than eighteen months or both. [Holy keeewrap. A felony? I would not be an inspector in NM for anything. Miss a screen or dripping faucet is DOA.]
B. In the event any person has engaged in or proposes to engage in any act or practice violating a provision of the Home Inspector Licensing Act, the attorney general or the district attorney of the judicial district in which the person resides or the judicial district in which the violation has occurred or will occur shall, upon application of the committee/commission, maintain an action in the name of the state to prosecute the violation or to enjoin the proposed act or practice. **SECTION 17. **REFUSAL, SUSPENSION, OR REVOCATION OF LICENSEE FOR CAUSES ENUMERATED.
The committee may refuse to issue a license or may suspend, revoke, limit, or condition a license if the applicant or licensee has by false or fraudulent representations obtained a license or, in performing or attempting to perform any of the actions specified in this Act. An applicant or licensee:
- has been convicted of a felony or a crime of moral turpitude. [If you miss a dripping faucet on a prior inspection (or anything) you are guilty of class 4 felony. This is a one strike and your out rule.]
- has made a substantial misrepresentation and pursued a continued course of misrepresentation.
- is guilty of unprofessional conduct as defined by rule; [this critique could effectively eliminate me if a Rule was passed saying anyone who criticizes the agency is unprofessional. :>)
- has violated any provisions of the Home Inspector Licensing Act or rule of the committee/commission or the committee/commission;
- is guilty of obtaining or attempting to obtain any fee by fraud or misrepresentation or has otherwise acted in a manner or by conduct likely to deceive, defraud or harm the public; [your writing ethics rules]
- has inspected for a fee a property in which the home inspector, or the home inspector’s company, has any financial interest or any interest in the transfer of the property;
- has offered or deliver compensation, inducement or reward to the owner of the inspected property or the broker or agent for the referral of any business to the home inspector or the home inspection company; [EZ to get around. In Texas they allow “inducement” by calling it “advertising”. The trick is to pay an office $500 a month for “advertising”. :> You cannot control this with regulation. An honest inspector will obey and a crook simply hands out gift cards under the table. Think you can catch them on that? I know a dozen other ways. Believe me. I wrote Ethics rules in Texas and learned “you cannot cause ethics”. or
- has accepted an engagement to make a home inspection or prepare a home inspection report in which the employment itself or the fee payable for the inspection is contingent upon the conclusions in the home inspection report, pre-established findings or the close of escrow.
- has had a license to perform home inspections revoked, suspended, denied, stipulated or otherwise limited in any jurisdiction, territory or possession of the United States or another country for actions of the licensee similar to acts described in this subsection. A certified copy of the decision of the jurisdiction taking such disciplinary action will be conclusive evidence; or
- has failed to furnish the committee/commission, its investigators or its representatives with information requested by the committee/commission in the course of an official investigation.
- has performed or offered to perform for an additional fee any repairs to a structure on which the home inspector or the home inspector’s company has prepared a home inspection report in the past twelve months, except that a home protection company that is affiliated with or that retains a home inspector does not violate this section if it performs repairs pursuant to a claim made under the home protection contract; [no problem; my cousins company will do just fine. Rules are so stupid.]
- has committed an act whether of the same or different character from that specified in this subsection that is related to dealings as a home inspector that constitutes or
demonstrates bad faith, incompetency, untrustworthiness, impropriety, fraud, dishonesty, negligence or any unlawful act. [it is illegal to spit on the sidewalk]
B) Disciplinary proceedings may be instituted by sworn complaint by any person, including a committee/commission or committee member, and shall conform with the provisions of the Uniform Licensing Act.
C) Licensees shall bear the costs of disciplinary proceedings unless exonerated. [Are you going to pay the inspectors expense if the agency initiated the complaint and lost?]
D) Any person filing a sworn complaint shall be immune from liability arising out of civil action if the complaint is filed in good faith and without actual malice. [This had to be written by one of New Mexico’s famous personal injury lawyers. This wording only serves to protect scum that files complaints with hidden malice and bad faith. This wording eliminates “if you sue and do not prevail you pay my expenses”. This really lets the cat out of the bag as to who the author of this Bill is. A trial lawyer. KILL THIS BILL]
**SECTION 18. **FUND.
A. There is created in the state treasury the “home inspector fund” to be administered by the committee/commission. All fees received by the committee/commission pursuant to the Home Inspector Licensing Act shall be deposited with the state treasurer to the credit of the home inspector fund. Income earned on investment of the fund shall be credited to the fund.
B. Money in the home inspector fund shall be used by the committee/commission to meet necessary expenses incurred in the enforcement of the provisions of the Home Inspector Licensing Act, in carrying out the duties imposed by the Home Inspector Licensing Act and for the promotion of education and standards for home inspectors in this state. Payments out of the home inspector fund shall be on vouchers issued and signed
by the person designated by the committee/commission upon warrants drawn by the department of finance and administration. All unexpended or unencumbered balances remaining at the end of each fiscal year shall remain in the home inspector fund for use in accordance with the provisions of the Home Inspector Licensing Act. [IF you get 500 inspectors to apply you will get $375.000 over three years or $125,000 per year. I guess that will pay one or two salaries but little expenses. Plan on fees going up.]
You should stress that a member of the public does not know or understand any of the intricacies of home inspection so how are they supposed to write a SOP or oversee education classes or anything else that is specific to home inspection.
I would go for the engineer. Stress that the appraiser or broker have a monetary stake in whether a purchase is made, and should not have any control what so ever over another field that could cost their main field any money. (See WA State. All home inspectors with one in education and one as an engineer, but they still had to be home inspectors)
The license number for just about every field is required on all advertising material, contracts or official company correspondence. Very easy to do and very easy to police. Just make sure they allow you to use existing stocks of business cards or other materials. It allows the public to see that someone is actually licensed and they can verify it.
Yes, the agency or state department of licensing who is in charge WILL check each syllabus for training to make sure it meets the SOP they will develop. Check with Lisa how often she has to resend items to the different states because 1 page was missing or written differently.
Watch the first license renewal. We were told the license was good for 2 years. It was actually good until the 2nd birthday after the initial issue. Some guys only had 12 1/2 month instead of 24. After the initial license, it became 2 years.
Good Luck. Your choices are to either fight it as a whole for no licensing or get the best language you can for the industry. Much of the wording is state required language and words that we may not use in our jobs are commonplace in government speak. They will have a large number of those words in use that have been proven over time and are boiler plate. Get used to the words and use them to your advantage.
Yep, that bill sucks! Fight as hard as you can! There is no way of making this turd smell good.
Good morning. Think about this option. Semi California like.
1 - The agency focuses on education and qualifications only.
2 - 80 hours is too little education. What do you require for an electrician or plumber then cut that in half. I bet is more than 80 hours.
3 - Let inspectors choose the Standard and Ethics of a recognized trade group (define that). Define the major systems required for inspection and let them fill in the details.
4 - Allow for departures per client agreement.
5 - Defer all complaints to the civil system. If the inspector is guilty then consider the regulatory penalty. Do not create an enforcement agency within the agency.
6 - Define this all in statute so a Rule maker cannot come along and change it within the agency. Believe me when I tell you the bureaucracy will feed off Rules they can grow.
7 - Define the Scope every carefully. “Limited visual inspection of readily accessible areas, without moving items, disassembly or special tools, for adverse and material performance problems only”.
8 - Exclude safety and code comparison in the primary Scope. If you want that make it an optional inspection the client can choose from. The basic inspection should be performance based only.
9 - Disarm the “but its for safety” and “it protects the public” advocates by creating the optional safety Standard. You cannot beat their arguments but you can containerize them and make the consumer pay for the significant increase in liability that comes with it.
10 - Limit it to basic home inspection. Texas is trying to regulate EIFS inspectors, corrosive drywall inspectors, pool inspectors, et al. Its about growth of an agency.
Dale, read & heed John’s comments carefully, there’s a ton of practical experience there. In my opinion, while any enabling legislation is important the real teeth will come from the “Rules” the Committee is authorized to develop and implement to ostensibly support the legislation. Just compare the TREC Rules (Ethics, SOP, Advertising, etc) to other states and/or trade associations. It dwarfs them in comparison and may get much worse.
Regarding the NHIE…once that notion has gained traction then it’s likely a done deal. Case in point, Texas has used a proprietary proctored exam for over 15 years. The exam questions were developed by and massaged periodically by the TREC Inspector Advisory Committee. Last year it was determined that 2 states (NC or SC and one other) had plagiarized the TREC exam questions and fully admitted that. Additionally, the prior chairman of the TREC IAC wanted to make it easier to grant reciprocity with adjoining states (never mind that no one had asked for such) and the NHIE was approved to replace the proprietary exam. That is now going through the bureaucracy of bidding and the development of a state specific section like Washington state implemented but, for all intents & purposes, it’s a done deal. INACHI has pretty much gone on record as saying they have no desire to compete with the EBPHI with a proctored nationwide exam.
I applaud Nick for this wise move.
Racing the folks that sell the NHIE to the bottom by marketing our test and standards along with the NHIE as the basic minimum standard that an 18 year old high school graduate must pass in order to get a state license to perform his first home inspection … made no sense at all and INACHI took the high ground.
When these brand new “license holders” begin seeking clients to hire them … legitimately qualified inspectors will need the means to set themselves apart from the entry level standard that the NHIE represents. NACHI membership and, subsequently, CMI status are the means to do that.
The “dumbing down” process that licensing represents - when everyone willing to pass a written test and pay a fee is mistakenly perceived by the unwitting public as a competent professional - actually creates the need for the higher standard that the NHIE used to market itself as.
INACHI has willingly filled that void as the NHIE re-invented itself into merely an entry level exam.
[quote=“jcahill, post:5, topic:64599”]
and more. Its late. I am having fun with this. Don’t get angry. I suggest you try to delete 1/2 the words and repost. Keep it simple
Hey John I don’t get angry… I’d rather delete the whole thing… I’m just befuddled that the state and board of realtors is trying to push this through… I like it the way it is with no government regulation. :shock:
This is all hurting my head… I am having a hard enough time trying to track down when they meet and discuss these things…State of New Mexico has a bad habit of calling public meetings the day before so no one shows up
InterNACHI is very proficient at procuring government approvals (see right column of www.nachi.org/education ) But as EBPHI admits… the NHIE is a beginner’s exam. This is confirmed by the fact that many states use it to license newbies fresh out of school. I’m fine with that and don’t see any reason InterNACHI should seek that bottom-dweller space in the industry.
In a related side note: Diploma mill ASHI uses this beginner’s exam as the sole test for issuing it’s highest certification. The ASHI logo is the inspection industry’s symbol of shame.
Keep up the good work Dale. I suspect this is being pushed through by trial lawyers and Realtors. Realtors are trying to defer property condition liability to someone else. What they do not realize it is will come back to haunt them. As it stands I would never hold a license that could get me a felony for missing a $1,000 repair need. New Mexico, the land of enchantment, will become the land of entrapment.
A New Mexico native
I have not kept up with that INACHI perspective. Sounds good to me.
I found this article that I had archived since 2003…
By Peter Engle, President GS ASHI The ASHI reporter 12/03
There has been much discussion in the Reporter and online about home inspector licensing. ASHI has provided some useful tools for local chapters facing new licenses, including the Position Statement and Legislative Guidebook that are available online. Many states now have some form of licensing in place, most have some form of law under consideration, and there are still some that have no serious threats on the horizon. But with licensing in place in so many states, we need to start looking at how to protect our interests as home inspectors and ASHI members, because as soon as there is a licensing law, there will be special interests that try to carve out pieces of it for their own cause. These interests can be as diverse as already licensed architects, engineers, appraisers, REALTORS", code officials and others, as well as semi-related tradespeople who want to perform home inspections in some manner. Another interested group comprises home inspectors who are left out because they don’t or can’t qualify for licensing. Home inspectors need to respond to this threat by maintaining an active legislative presence.
STOP AND START - NEW JERSEY LICENSING HISTORY
Like many states, New Jersey legislators occasionally made attempts to license inspectors, but the members of the Garden State chapter managed to fend off those attempts through gentle education and persuasion. That all changed in 1997 with a single event that made licensing a priority for someone who had the power to implement it. The secretary for the chair of the regulated professions committee had a bad home inspection. To be precise, it was a bad termite inspection that was performed by her home inspector. The house turned out to have substantial damage, and the unlicensed and uninsured home inspector took no responsibility. The secretary’s boss decided that it was about time to license home inspectors. Before any one in the Garden State chapter knew the bill was in play, it had sailed through his committee and was headed to the floor. The chapter mounted a hasty, but surprisingly effective, campaign to improve the bill instead of defeating it, because it quickly became clear to us that licensing was inevitable this time around.
The law was signed in 1998, and is not yet fully in effect because the licensing committee has been working since then to write and implement the rules. Here are the proposed requirements to become licensed as a home inspector in N.J.:
• Grandfather applicants must have been in business for at least three years and have performed at least 300 home inspections.
• Each applicant must also have passed the ASHI exam. (Later, the NHIE also was accepted by the committee.)
• If an applicant doesn’t qualify for grandfathering, he must take a 300-hour classroom-based course, perform 50 training inspections, and pass the NHIE. After that, he must work for a licensed inspector as an Associate Home Inspector for at least a year and perform at least 250 inspections. At that point, he can become a fully licensed Home Inspector.
Of course, the law also regulates the practice of home inspection by creating standards of practice, business practices, ethical conduct, etc.
Without debating the merits of our particular law, it is safe to say that it is one of the most restrictive in the nation. The details of the final law were negotiated with the legislative sponsors, local ASHI chapters, and some other interest groups. Together, we arrived at these requirements as the most appropriate for our state’s situation. Our position was that if there was going to be licensing, it should be meaningful, and it should guarantee that licensed inspectors were qualified to perform their duties.
CHRONOLOGY OF ATTEMPTED CHANGES
Fast-forward to spring 2002. The law has been in place since 1998, but the committee has just released the regulations that spell out the chapter and verse of what we all will have to do to become licensed, and what we’ll have to do to stay that way. We hear from our lobbyist that the sponsor of the original bill is proposing an amendment. The amendment potentially reduces the training requirement to a short course and 10 inspections, with no requirement for one year of experience and 250 fee-paid inspections. It waters down the licensing committee by adding non-inspector members; it changes grandfathering to admit many more inspectors; it creates the possibility for the committee to use an exam other than the NHIE; and it allows certain code inspectors automatic grandfathering into the indefinite future.
The Garden State chapter was joined by other ASHI chapters whose members work in New Jersey to oppose the amendment in the belief that public interest would not be served by these changes. We arranged a meeting with the sponsor and thought it was a productive meeting. We expressed our concerns, we listened to his reasons for the changes, and we reached agreements on what features could be kept or modified slightly to make them acceptable. In all, it seemed things were working as they should. Hearing nothing for the rest of the summer, we followed the advice of our lobbyist to sit and wait. His theory was that if the bill isn’t moving, don’t push it.
In parallel with that bill, another bill was floated in the Senate. This one only addressed grandfathering, and we worked with its sponsor to arrive at a bill that we could support. That bill passed out of the Senate in December. Also in December, we heard from the Assembly bill’s sponsor that he was moving on his original amendment, and that he couldn’t care less about our objections. It was time to gear up for battle.
Again on the advice of our lobbyist, we played nice, contacting the Assembly committee members and quietly contacting some of the more powerful members of the Assembly. We learned the bill was going to a committee vote one week before it happened. It passed the committee unanimously, then went to a House vote the following week where it passed easily. We never had a chance. Even more disturbing, in this process it was quietly combined with the Senate bill we had previously supported, and went back to the Senate under that title. So now we were trying to educate people on why we supported it before and were fighting it now. We fired our lobbyist.
Our new lobbyist recommended mounting a multi-pronged campaign to defeat the combined bill in the Senate. The chapter provided its members and other interested parties with tools for contacting their senators. They received the names of their senators, faxes to forward, messages encouraging them to arrange face to face meetings, and they were kept updated about the issues via e-mail. In short, we made a lot of noise in the senators’ home districts.
We went public by contacting all of the major newspapers in New Jersey, meeting with their editorial boards, and writing op-ed pieces that received good placement. There was some good press, and some bad press. The opposition was running a PR campaign as well.
ASHI national supported our position by writing a letter that was forwarded to every senator, staffer, and news outlet we could find.
At the same time, our lobbyist was working the Senate. He arranged meetings between our leadership and powerful senators. More importantly, we had some long meetings with their staffers, and with the senate researchers - the guys who write the bills and the background behind them. These young staffers hold a surprising amount of power.
The state licensing committee took our side. It passed a resolution to oppose the bill, and this allowed the governor’s office to weigh in directly and through the office of the attorney general. While we knew that the governor would never veto such an insignificant bill, the senators generally do try to keep the governor happy.
The fight lasted until the day of the Senate vote in March, and the outcome was far from determined. Minutes before the vote was scheduled, we reached an agreement. The Senate made its own amendments and passed a bill that looked much like the one they passed back in December. But we hadn’t won yet. The Assembly sponsor of the original bill was upset about the Senate changes, and he still held considerable power in the Assembly. But now many of the groups supporting his changes were forced to support us, because of a lucky alignment of the state’s budget schedule, the deadline for the licensing to go into effect, and the end of the legislative session. The bill passed the Assembly and was signed into law in May.
We won. All it cost us was about $20,000 and hundreds of hours of volunteer time. Plus, we made some lifelong enemies in the Legislature, and that’s never good public relations.
While we were distracted by that struggle, the Well Water Quality Testing Act was signed into law. It requires all private well systems to be tested each time that a house is sold. For our members who do this testing, it looked like a godsend. Unfortunately, nobody read the fine print. The law was worded in a way that prevents home inspectors from doing the testing - only the labs can do it. Also, since this is now a mandated test, sellers are paying for it. The testing is done before the home inspector gets the phone call for an inspection. Some of our chapter members lost 20 percent of their business with the stroke of a pen.
Right now, there are bills pending to make radon testing mandatory for all home sales, to change home inspector license grandfathering yet again, and there’s a really fascinating mold bill pending. That bill creates a “mold victim’s compensation fund.” The idea is to compensate all of the people being put out or permanently “injured” by mold. The bill will prohibit home inspectors from testing for mold, and it will provide money for the victim’s compensation fund via a tax on home inspectors, and only home inspectors. That’s nice, huh? Home inspectors are certainly happy to step up and underwrite the millions of dollars in claims that will start flowing in.
So what have we learned from the past year?
Never rest. Once licensing is in place, you need to maintain vigilance, and to actively engage your representatives. The name recognition you build will help enormously when a new bill comes out of left field.
Get good representation. We paid our first lobbyist for five years before we realized that he was giving us bad advice. Our new lobbyist is double the price, but well worth it. We could not have organized a campaign like the one we did without professional help, and we would have lost the fight if our campaign had been even slightly less effective. Lobbying is expensive. The members of our chapter currently are reworking our entire chapter funding and activities around the cost of this representation, but we are convinced that it is necessary.
Don’t wait for the fight to come to you. If we had been out there rubbing elbows with our representatives for the five years that the license was stalled in committee, we would have had some stable relationships to use when the going got tough. As it was, we had to open lines of communication from scratch. That’s the hard way. It’s expensive and very bruising.
Take part in local politics, both on the chapter level and on each member’s personal level. Again, that name recognition carries surprising weight. Get to know your representatives personally. Go to fundraisers, receptions, whatever. It takes time, but it pays back in the long run.
Watch peripheral developments as closely as the ones that come straight at you. Professional help is important here. Few of us make all of our money doing home inspections, and those related fields are also subject to legislation that affects us. One benefit of our loud battle is that we now have their attention and they know who we are. We bought ourselves a seat at the table, and we are now capitalizing on that seat to weigh in on related bills. This gives us significant influence to help our members.
Home inspector licensing is here to stay. It certainly is in New Jersey, and it will happen everywhere eventually. It makes sense to organize and to delay licensing as long as possible, and to be prepared to positively affect it when it does happen. It is then even more important to maintain your energy once the licensing is in place.
Licensing of home inspectors serves just one thing: it allows for soft, basic reports, cheap, low-cost inspectors, and all under the thumb of real estate agents for the sole purpose of selling homes without alarming the home buyers.
Laws allow for basic reports, dumbs down our profession, and shafts all future home buyers.
In Kansas, the reports allowed by law are so basic, that now most all loan companies want only engineers to do the reports. What these lenders do not know is that engineers are exempt from any law, rule, or regulation of any kind one and two family dwellings. Inspectors are not required to check any appliance or appliance connections, only one window, one electrical outlet, one switch per room. $199 home inspections that are only 5 pages are the norm, and allowed by law.
These laws here are so bad, that agents are no longer suggesting home inspections because “home inspectors write up short reports that say almost nothing. I recommend that you save your money”. This is another way they are pushing us away from the home buyers.
ASHI, special interest groups, and lobbyists of all types are pushing these laws into play; for what reasons…to sell sub-par properties to unsuspecting home buyers.
What is hard to understand is that most states and counties within them have no codes, and the ones who have them do not enforce them. So, what is a home defect?
Sad what is going on. It is all a scam that will come back to bite home buyers, and the lawmakers will have their name on the legislation. They will not then be re-elected.
I personally recall going to a hearing where one committee member had a home inspected, and ended up paying $40,000 in repairs that the home inspector missed. That member should now get another inspection, and see the reports now.
Terrible laws result in terrible inspections.
If I read correctly the previous study was done by realtors, ASHI members and bankers and trial attorneys. They’re certainly neutral.
Lets see … Who can set on the Board / HI that has taken the ASHI test (old Mr NHIE). Just funnels more $$$$ to the EBPHI / ASHI arena.
I feel its dangerous for us to idly stand by while this keeps going onward … Call it a newbie test all you want, it gives legislators, realtors, etc the false impression that if one hasn’t taken it you’re not qualified.
I bet my 9 year old grandson could pass most of these “required tests”.
It is nothing but a minimum basic standard allowed by these boards and lawmakers. These basic inspections will be the norm nationwide, and at $199 or less.
Ask the lawmakers, even a real estate agent if they want this type of inspection on their next home purchase.
Very good article