Inspector gets favorable ruling

Page 208 of 333 TREC agenda for February 2012 Commissioner meeting.

  • An inspector advised a buyer to not buy a home due to foundation and pool
  • Agent advised buyer to not buy the home.
  • Inspector checked roof deficient and said it was an aged metal roof on a wood shingle roof.
  • Buyer bought the home and the roof leaked.
  • Buyer asked for inspectors insurance. Appears to have wanted $17,000 for roof.
  • Buyer filed complaint with TREC.
  • Insurance company ruled condition existed before inspection. I am is unsure if they paid anything
  • TREC ruled against inspector for missing a roof leak
  • Inspector took it to an administrative judge
  • Judge ruled in favor of inspector.
  • Not sure if inspector got tagged with a deductible.

If you tell a buyer “do not buy this home” and miss something the buyer can go after your insurance and TREC can go after you.

Info is at http://www.trec.texas.gov/TrecInternet/NewsAndPublication/Meeting.aspx Upper right PDF link. Page 210.

Food for thought. Think . . . how could you avoid this?

Update: To be or not to be or was the inspector guilty and fool the judge or was the inspector innocent and get burned. Regardless, think of it from how you can learn to do a better job.

Thanks John I expect there are many more stories out there I do hope we can get more Information on law suits in our Industry .
It seems every thing is hidden I know of one In Canada from 2008 that has gone on from an Inspection where the home Owner did not follow most of what was in the Report .
I will try and give a detailed report when it is finally settled .
I have no idea when … Roy

Update: Think about different ways this could go down. Think “what if the inspector was guilty”? Think “what if the inspector was innocent”?

The objective is what can you take from this and make sure you do not make a mistake.

  • do a good inspection
  • write a good report
  • always notify your insurance company early in the complaint

I am posting for an inspector who emailed me a response.

""interesting - almost similar to the situation two months ago when I inspected the house for a buyer/flipper. The home needed a lot of work but they modified and cleaned it up and sold it. This all occurred several years ago. Now buyer is suing the seller/flipper, my former client, for negligent work.

In the body of my report I included language that was told to me and that was overheard during discussions - such as ’ we have two bids from foundation companies’ and ‘we have drainage companies looking at the crawlspace tomorrow’ - we have roofers giving us bids

Various areas of my report referred to the ‘other companies’ that have been there and those to that were to come. I said to review those reports along with my discoveries. So i complain about the length of the reports but also know that in cases like this it pays off."

"aged metal roof on a wood shingle roof"

Should have been reported as in need of repair.

The in need of repair checkbox fell by the wayside three years ago. Deficient should have covered it, although we don’t know what language he included in the report or if there was any extensive damage that was not discovered / reported.

The guy was probably asked to inspect it during last year’s drought when no roofs leaked because they didn’t ever get wet. I was placing drought language in all of my reports last year, especially those that requested infrared.

I’d like to know more of the details. John C. can you share more particulars? Do you know what county?

Glad to hear that he got a real judgement from a real court and not just from an agency that seeks to profit by the fines it imposes on licensees. Surprised that they didn’t fine him for overstepping his boundaries by telling the client not to buy the house.

Property inspected: 07/14/2009

Address: 13714 Peyton Drive; Dallas, 75240

Link is live for Google Map.

I’ve noted over the more recent history that inspecting is becoming more about CYA. It simply sucks from that perspective with some clients that make it so rough to deal with.

Thanks JC.

What do you mean more about CYA when inspecting? This is just a question not an attack, I have noticed the same thing but wondering if we are on the same sheet of music is all.

Ditto

Still reading. Very interesting. However, I note that the documents state the house is in Collin County. It is not. It is, in fact, in Dallas and just down the street from the fire station I worked at for 7 years (2004-2011).

How could they get that wrong?

John, One thing I did learn is that I apparently have the ability to take my case before an administrative law judge. Prior to your mention of this, I didn’t know I could do that.

  1. I am in the habit (recently) of taking a lot of pictures of the house inside and outside. Not for my inspection, but for CYA and for memory jogging when people call back and have a question. But, I am not taking enough pictures. This inspector apparently had some pictures of the items in question that proved his innocence or at least verified his story about repairs after the inspection. I will begin my inspections by taking a lot of photos. Thanks for that.

  2. I don’t think the inspector overstepped his bounds by expressing an opinion that the seller shouldn’t buy the home.

  3. Unfortunately, people lie. The seller lied when she said she didn’t attend the inspection.

Lastly, why did she hire an inspector if she didn’t want his opinion. Both he and the Realtor tried to talk her out of it, but she wouldn’t hear of it. She had made her mind up prior to the inspection.

Go figure.

Bruce

Is telling a buyer “don’t buy this home” making a value judgment?

Maybe Texas allows this but others certainly don’t.

For Wisconsin

Same in Illinois.

Q. Can a Home Inspectoradvise me as to whether I should buy the inspected property

A. No. A Home Inspector may not offer advice as to whether the client should engage in a transaction regarding the property, nor may a Home Inspector offer an opinion as to the value of the property.

Problem with Licensing Committees.

Contract Law and the Courts generally prevail.
Wannabe / Appointees (to HI Review Boards) have little and/or no clue what they are actually reviewing.

Leave it to the Courts and leave Contract Law to Contract Attorneys and the Judges.
Home Inspection Review Boards generally do more harm than good for the Industry…

As far as it being written down or cast in concrete, we don’t have that in Texas. It’s nice you have that to fall back on when your client says, “would you buy this property?” You can answer, “the state of Wisconsin won’t allow me to tell you that.”

Here, I get that question almost every inspection and usually avoid it by several diversionary tactics. :slight_smile:

Wow! Interesting read. TREC blew it big time. So did the inspector’s E&O insurer whose adjuster somehow made the determination that the issues he observed had been present at the time of the inspection, which was at least two months prior. During the interim, it turns out that the seller made major foundation repairs (seller was a foundation repair company), causing buckling in the roof and also replaced sections of the roof. Fortunately the ALJ had the wherewithal to compare the inspector’s photos to the E&O adjuster’s photos.

Too bad there isn’t a penalty matrix for TREC performing an investigation “in a negligent or incompetent manner.”

Thanks for sharing John.

Interesting that this same inspector has a penalty on his license from back in 2002, also.

AMEN!

It is not the place of an inspector to advise a client to find another house. To buy or not to buy is a subjective choice that is the client’s alone. It is the inspector’s job only to provide the client with objective information about the house in question. What he does with that information is not our concern. If the preponderance of an inspection report is not sufficient to urge the client to make an intelligent decision, either the report is wanting or the client is learning by trial and error. As inspectors, we can only address the former and hope to avoid as often as possible the latter.

Additionally, a case could be made that offering subjective real estate purchase advice is solely in the purview of a licensed broker, agent or attorney. Inspectors are not so licensed, and are operating outside their area of expertise without proper licensing. TREC inspector SOP specifically prohibits this.

I once, and only once had a buyer sign an agreement that stated that I had advised her against the purchase of the home I had inspected for her due to the multiple serious safety hazards noted in the report.

She told me (single mom w/3 kids) she had no funds to correct the problems and I had genuine concerns for the safety of the children. The RE broker did the same thing.

The meat of the matter is with regard to the leaking roof, telling somebody not to buy for some other reason then saying you are not responsible for something unrelated doesn’t seem kosher. The question comes down to is what was noted adequate to alert a layman to a deficiency requiring immediate repair? Was further eval. reccommended?

I know we shouldn’t advise customers about the value or affordability or practicality of a purchase BUT I would never say never when it comes to a CYA document. Maybe something we are unaware of alerted this guy to a potential problem with the client

To make a long story short that lady (the single mom) closed on the house, never made a mortgage payment and got foreclosed on in 9 months.

Reading between the lines; I think the inspector saw significant structural issues, told the buyer not to by the house and gave up on the inspection because the inspector felt they were not going to buy the house.

Well, they bought the house because they thought the foundation problem was not an issue and ended up with a house with an uninspected roof…