home inspection

I made a cash offer for a condo which was accepted by the owner. I then had the condo inspected for which I paid $425. The inspector couldn’t complete the inspection as the access to the attic had been sheet rocked closed. The inspector said he would have to come back for an additional cost once the owners opened up access to the attic. The owners were adamant that they would not provide access to the attic. Do I have any recourse to get my inspection fee reimbursed to me ?
Thank you, Nancy

Why do you think you are entitled to get your inspection fee returned to you?

Did you sign an agreement with this inspector?

Access to attic spaces on condos are generally considered a fire safety issue. Generally speaking, there needs to be a fire wall or “separation” within the attic spaces of the individual units and it may have not been provided for or was simply closed off because of a lack of separation that may exist.
It sounds as if there was no individual access from your particular unit as it may have been located in an adjacent unit or from another exterior point of entry which was inaccessible or not apperant at the time of the inspection. If a realtor was involved in the transaction, you don’t mention whether it was for sale by owner or if it was a private sale, they should have made any arrangements in advance of the inspection.
In any event, the lack of an attic inspection in a condo shouldn’t be of any major consequence unless there is something that suggests otherwise…? Contact the association as they will have the plans available which may help with any concerns.
If it’s not accessible, it can’t be reasonably expected to be performed… don’t you think?

Did the inspector inspect the accessible areas? Makes one wonder what the seller is hiding.

In a word… NO.
In fact, if it were my inspection/report, I may have called out the lack of access as being a defect.
The issue is between you and the seller. What does your Pre-purchase Agreement say about the Home Inspection and accessible areas?
Did you have a Realtor and/or Attorney involved, or did you go this on your own?

No, in accordance with home inspection standards it does not have to be inspected.

Inspector can not damage someone elses property for you.

The attic is inaccessible IAW Inspection Standards. (Look it up).

If you wish it to be inspected, you must negotiate with the seller. If they say no way, it won’t get done. They are not required to tear up their house you have no contract on.

Yes, the Inspector is justified in charging you to come back if you make the arrangements.

You paid a fee for him to report that the attic can not be accessed without damage. If he did that, you got what you paid for.

That is a hefty fee for most condo’s. If I am in the area, I would consider a drive-by. But you should not have any expectation for this to happen.

No, you don’t.

The inspector performed an inspection and made you aware to this issue, and many others I’m sure. There’s no reason to be refunded. In fact, you’ll probably need to pay more to have him come back if the sellers agreed to make the attic accessible. That’s how the world works. A service is performed, you pay for it. Another service is performed, you pay for that too.

You may, however, have the option of not purchasing the property due to the defect that the inspector found and reported to you; the unknown conditions which may exist in the attic but cannot be observed due to the defect; the seller’s unwillingness to address the issue and the inability to inspect the attic to your satisfaction. The inspector has done everything that they could or should do in this case. The seller has not. I would seek to recoup my earnest money, not my inspection fee.


Generally speaking attics in condos are considered to be common areas, belonging to the HOA. Your inspector would require permission from the HOA, and he/she would not likely get it.

Also, generally speaking condo inspections do not include inspections of the common areas.

Based upon the above I would say you have no reason to falult the inspector or receive a refund.