Inspector liability... how long?

Got a call from another inspector regarding another thread about knob & tube wiring that was missed in an attic (I think). Anyhow the question was how long are we as inspectors liable if something is missed during the inspection. I said “I don’t know, but I will try to find out”, sent out a couple emails and Joe Ferry’s office replied with "We include a clause in the agreement that limits the inspectors liability to one year, but in Florida it is 2 years. Just thought I would throw this out here.

Can you please ask Mr. Gerry to back up that statement with a statute or a cour case

Can you please ask Mr. Ferry to back up that statement with a statute or a court case

What is your thought on it Bill?

The limitations are to give the victim the best chance for a positive outcome.
Normally, they are from the date of inspection, or…the date the defect was discovered. Then, in this instance, it could be a matter of negligence.

K & T is a fairly significant issue that should have been discovered, unless there were reasons stated in the report why it couldn’t be discovered.

Regardless, if a homeowner would push the issue, it would cost the inspector more in litigation fees, than it would to correct the issue.

On a side issue, is Joe Ferry licensed to practice law in Florida?
I might want to ask an attorney licensed to practice law in Florida to get an answer.

For the same reason I would ask the AHJ for clarification on an electrical issue as opposed to taking the word from an internet electrician.

Number one - he is not licensed in Florida

Number two - where is he getting the basis for his statement.

My understanding is, with licensing, liability will last much longer than 10 years

So what are the limitations?

I already answered the question. …so did Bill.

F-ing great. Hope you folks in places without licensing see and read this.

Licensing sucks, it always has and always will.

Fight it as hard as you can if they are pushing it in your area.

I get what your saying, but my opinion is that is BS, so if the house blows away within 10 years, guess the inspector should of told me. Make him pay for a new house. I think it should go up to a year. Nick G, please chime in on this.

This is from 95-11 Florida statute.
Doesn’t specifically mention inspector…

(((In that, when the action involves a latent defect, the time runs from the time the defect is discovered or should have been discovered with the exercise of due diligence. In any event, the action must be commenced within 10 years after the date of actual possession by the owner, the date of the issuance of a certificate of occupancy, the date of abandonment of construction if not completed, or the date of completion or termination of the contract between the professional and claimant.)))

Your analogy is flawed.
There is a big difference between the house blowing away and missing something at an inspection…unless the items you missed were holding the house together! :slight_smile:

OK smart *** es ! what is the extent of our umbrella of protection in Florida?if you don’t know don’t answer.

This statement is the Builder’s limit of liability (structural), not an inspector.

You are correct… Could not find anything other than that for one to conclude “greater than 10 years.”
On a lighter note 95-11 5a sounds like the closest thing to an answer based on contractural tort (1 year)

…and I’m the one we should be concerned about. I weep for the profession.

Your license doesn’t protect you numb wads, it protects the public.

You guys are forgetting one thing. Negligence has no time limit. From the OP, I would consider that negligence, unless, of course, there was not attic access and it was found after opening the ceiling. If that is not the case, I would venture to say the inspector was negligent for not doing his job and will have to pony up.

Also, for those of you that hold multiple licenses, you will be held to your highest license. You cannot hold a GC, engineering, or HVAC license and hide behind you home inspectors license.

No one likes liability, but guess what, you have entered a profession that has tons of it. What this really means is that everyone better be very careful how they inspect and also how they report things. Things are only going to get worse before they get better. I already know of 4 cases going on where the inspector will not win. And as far as Mr. Ferry, if you want to believe him, with no Florida license, I have some land for sale in the Everglades.

Newbie to Internachi here with a quick note. I’m not a lawyer yet, just a law student. I am an adjuster with 10 years experience doing liability claims. The disclaimers Internachi provides in its literature for home inspections are pretty clear and effective. I also plan on video taping inspections and providing a copy to the client. If something does come up I can always cite the videotape I provided as part of my report package. That’s just me though as a complete newb in this business, but having heard what other insurance adjusters have said in the office about home inspectors.

That all being said, this is a pretty good guide. I’m pretty certain home inspector falls under the definition of “professional services”.

So what are the other adjusters saying about home inspectors?

Also remember that a video tape can be your best friend or worst enemy. Had the OP had a video tape, it would have shown if entered the attic and how much he inspected. It also might have shown the knob and tube if it was there. In this case there is no concrete answer because we do not have the details.

The state has set up our disclaimers. They are called the standards of practice. You cannot create extra an extra layer of protection by trying to hide behind an associations literature. If you follow your standards you should be OK. Problem is 99% of the inspectors out there do not follow their standards or do not have the education to properly inspect. Taking an online course and passing a test does not make one a home inspector, although many think it does. I have read many reports, a lot of them on inspector web sites, and they do not come close to the state standards. Many inspectors in this association state that they use the INACHI standards in their reporting. Those standards fall below the state standards. The main problem with licensing is they made it too easy. You can be a shoe salesman, chef, auto mechanic one day and three months later you are inspecting homes. There are many, many mistakes out there by inspectors that do not know what they are looking at. In one recent report an inspector said a roof was leak free, but the pictures clearly show leaks. He said it was caused by lack of gutters. In the case of the OP we do not know what happened. Was it lack of training, or was it rushing to get through his $199 inspection to get to the next one. In either case, he needs to pony up, admit his mistake, and take care of it (if indeed he was wrong).

Remember, home inspection licensing was enacted to protect the consumer, not the home inspector.

So what is the answer Robert? How long does a customer have to bring a claim against a FL home inspector?