Home Inspector Licensing

(Dan Bowers, CMI, ACI) #1

Several weeks ago many inspectors in Kansas or nearby states got an email from a home inspectors group out of Wichita called KAREI (Kansas Association of Real Estate Inspectors) saying the Realtors wanted to once more try to introduce a Bill and institute licensing of Home Inspectors in Kansas … They supposedly asked what you thought, although they have always done what a handful of them wanted and used your dues to do it.

Since I’ve been a member of NAHI, ASHI, InterNACHI, and trained hundreds of inspectors I’ve had many calls or emails asking what I thought about this.

To start with if they try the push again in Kansas, most likely the Kansas City Realtors will want that started in Missouri.

SO, my thoughts are from someone who has been licensed in 4 different states to do inspections, has been in inspections for over 30 yrs, trained hundreds of inspectors and been active on the Boards of every national home inspection association and several state associations AND before that spent 10 years a licensed supervising Real Estate Broker myself …

It may be different in other areas, BUT where I am we border on 2 states that have no state wide licensing of builders, electricians, plumbers, HVAC contractors, remodelers, etc, etc.

In Kansas there are 105 counties … we have something like 20 with mandatory codes / code inspections

In Missouri there are 114 counties … we have about 15 with mandatory codes or code inspections

When I see the Realtor groups, Attorney’s OR certain Home Inspection Groups say that … They want to protect consumers by getting home inspectors licensed, it makes me LAUGH

If these groups REALLY wanted to protect consumers, you think they might push for mandatory codes, code inspections or licensing of the trades that build OR repair houses to start with…

Its always been about shifting liability AND once we are licensed EVERY group with more people, more $$$$, and more political clout can jerk our chain … AND thats basically EVERYONE

Our past registration or licensing in Kansas was a joke. After 4 years we had no Board Office or Staff. We had no investigator to field complaints.We had NOTHING.

Realtors or Attorney’s told the legislators and public they did NOT want to harm our profession OR control us then turned around and attempted to make it mandatory that Home Inspectors carry E & O Insurance ** AND be prohibited by law from using any type of ** language in their “Pre-Inspection Agreements” that would limit the inspectors liability. No other profession in our state including engineers, lawyers, doctors, Realtors AND those trying to push us into legislation have those restrictions to GET a license

What we had was an answering machine in an accountants office in Topeka that got fed to 1 person on the home inspection Board in Wichita that apparently made most decisions himself.

Until the last year of licensing we only had 1 home inspection association (ASHI) that had members setting on the Board representing us. To me thats like a law & Board governing ALL car makers, BUT only Chrysler has any Members on the Board that governs everyone. That was much helped along by KAREI, which has been run by several ASHI members for over 15 yrs now.

I have been an ASHI member for 33 yrs; an InterNACHI member for 15 yrs; and I was a NAHI member for over 20 yrs.

In Missouri, the Realtors 1st pushed a licensing Bill in 2002 … a few ASHI inspectors in Kansas City, Columbia & St Louis helped support it. A combined group of InterNACHI, ASHI & NAHI inspectors resisted it / met with legislators around the state AND demonstrated that MOST (not all but most) of the problems the Real Estate Community complained about were either outside the scope of what we do … OR would not have different IF we were licensed. The Realtors introduced various Bills for the next 10+ yrs … **Thats 17 yrs we’ve held the line by RESISTING

In about 2004, the Realtors or Attorney’s in Kansas pushed a licensing Bill at us … We pushed it back for 2-3 yrs, then several ASHI inspectors in Wichita formed a group called KAREI and convinced the Realtors and Legislators that THEY represented and spoke for most inspectors in the state … Although they told us they were fighting this, all most of us ever saw when we went to legislative hearings in Topeka was them setting with the Realtors and helping draft legislation, etc. Although any inspector or other person could go to the legislative hearings and hopefully get recognized and provide a BRIEF testimony for OR against regarding licensing OR the Bill … but by some strange circumstance ONLY a couple of the KAREI group (Jeff Barnes & Kerry Parham from Wichita) were in with the Realtors, etc actively drafting the Bill. … SO by 2009, the home inspectors in Kansas were jammed into licensing. After licensing was enacted it somehow seems like Mr Barnes was automatically put in play to run the Home Inspector Board, and Mr Parham took Mr Barnes place running KAREI. Until the very last year the registration Bill was in force and before Governor Brownback gratefully killed it … We had no other inspection association represented on the HI Board other than ASHI.

My thoughts are simple … Like a lot of more informed inspectors, I’m not opposed to regulation if I see an overwhelming AND demonstrated need for it. If we see that lack of regulation of our profession is causing ** significant harm or damage** to the general public – we’ll lead the charge up the hill to get regulated.

         **That  however is not the case. Home Inspectors are not perfect, but polling of  groups like the BBB, the Attorney Generals Office, and other consumer  activist groups over the past 3 to 5 years has  indicated that even florists had more complaints than home inspectors  did.**

** I am**100% opposed to ANY special interest groups like Realtors, Trial Attorneys or a Home Inspection Group trying to introduce or start licensure of OUR BUSINESS. Especially when that means that these special interest groups may simply be trying to **shift liability off of themselves, **control or manipulate another profession’s business, cover-up “non-disclosure” acts by others, or simply make it easier for someone to sue us with a frivolous lawsuit.

Dan Bowers, CMI, ACI, CRI