Inspector liable for cost of removing mould

Wow, that’s nuts. He lost even though there was no mold at the time. Buyers were only 25% liable for not reading the report? That’s nuts!

4 Comments from the public .

                                                                                            **Good!**

     Some  home inspectors are in the back pockets of the agents and have no  accountability to their clients; they will sign of an inspection to  facilitate the sale for the agent rather than represent the best  interests of those who hired them - the purchasers!           
                                                             
                 Jun 9, 2012 7:20 PM
    
    
                                               **Too much info missing in the story so I say Bad Call**

     An  inspection is a good thing but it appears only a VISUAL for mould was  done and not an actual TESTING? The buyers being allergic to mould  should have not been "frugal" and paid a trained, lic, certified Mould  Inspector to perform actual testing. But it would 'appear" that they  didn't wish to spend the $ for that? (the $250-$1,000 that is). Guess  the buyers didn't feel that their health concerns were worth the $ at  the time? If I was that particular Home Inspector and I wasn't paid to  do an actual Mould Testing either by my self (If qualified) or paid a  qualified "sub" to do it? I would counter sue the buyer until the cows  came home.          
                                                           [(http://www.moneyville.ca/users/MaggieMae)                                              
                 Jun 9, 2012 6:42 PM
    
    
                                               **Another problem this situation highlights:**

     the  problem of home inspector qualifications. Some of these people spent  two years at George Brown learning their trade. Others sent away for  their diploma from a mail order house. There is no proper liscencing  process for home inspectors.]("http://www.moneyville.ca/users/Haywoody")

The inspectors PIA must have been crap. The agreement should specifically say he is not testing for mold and should recommend testing as a standard practice. No doubt an air test would have shown an elevated mold condition before they bought the house.

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I would like to see the actual court case file. This news article means nothing without the facts.
See 19 I (ix)
AB regs state:

**19 **A home inspection business shall ensure that every home inspection contract
(a) is in writing,
(b) is legible, and
© includes the following:
the consumer’s name and address;
(ii) the home inspection business’s name and licence number, business address, including street address, telephone number and, if applicable, fax number and e-mail address;
(iii) the name and licence number of the home inspector conducting the inspection;
(iv) the date of the contract;
(v) the date on which the home inspection is to occur;
(vi) the date the completed home inspection report is to
be provided to the consumer;
(vii) the address of the dwelling to be inspected;
(viii) if the contract does not include an inspection of any of the following features or components of the dwelling, a statement, to be initialled by the
consumer, indicating that fact:
(A) roofmg, flashings or chimney;
(B) exterior, including lot gradings, walkways, driveways, retaining walls, patios and decks;
© structure;
(D) electrical;
(E) heating;
(F) heat pumps and cooling;
(G) insulation;
(H) plumbing;
(I) interior;
(ix) if the contract does not include an inspection of mould or asbestos, a statement, to be initialled by the consumer, indicating that fact;
(x) a statement that unless expressly stated in the contract, the contract does not include an inspection of any outbuildings or other structures not attached to the dwelling other than a garage or carport;
(xi) a statement that the inspection will be non-invasive unless the parties agree to specified invasive procedures;
(xii) if all or any part of the home inspection is to be subcontracted to another home inspection business, the name and licence number of that home inspection business and a statement, to be initialled by the consumer, indicating that fact.

It would be great if some one can send a copy of the court case .I agree with Vern

One really bad inspector doing a bad inspection with a bad contract makes good news.

The thousands doing hundreds of thousand inspections the right way is no news at all.

You are absolutely right but the publics perception is very strongly influenced by the press. Also these incidents provide incentives for the implementation of licencing.
Licencing has some good points but can be a nightmare. It also drives up the costs. If the requirements are set properly then the ability of the inspector is improved. If the standard is too low then it is lowered.
What ever happens there is no guarantee that these mistakes will not happen.

How do you know this is a really bad Inspector ,
Some how I get a bad feeling about this Court case ,

Alberta implemented licencing on Sept. 1 2011 and as part of that process the government has approved a number of training programs. I have had the pleasure of reviewing some of them and find that several of them do not provide information that is compatible with the building codes.
They were very stringent with InterNACHI and approved our training program. I am confident that InterNACHI meets our local codes better then any of the others.
One of the programs that surprised me was the Septic end Effluent tank drawings in Alberta’s 2009 Private Sewage Disposal code and InterNACHI’s training course are almost identical.
Some of the other training programs appear to have followed the CMHC drawing that was wrong and has since been changed to something that may work. To my knowledge none of these copy cats have revised their courses to correct the original CMHC errors.

Not what I was saying. He may be great, but the press will sensationalize it how they want.

This idea that the owners didn’t know that moisture issues from the exterior could cause moisture issues in the basement is nuts. I’m sure there is plenty more to it.

I just got a call today from some renter who wants me to do a mold test so “he can prove his health problems are from the mold and the landlord will be forced to clean it up”. I tried to educate him as best I could but he was just fishing to sue someone.

Pass. I won’t feed that beast.

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    	 			 																			[Home](http://www.canlii.org/en/index.html) > 																				[Ontario](http://www.canlii.org/en/on/index.html) > 																				[Court of Appeal for Ontario](http://www.canlii.org/en/on/onca/index.html) > 																				2012 ONCA 348 (CanLII) 												
    
     		      				 					 **Halliwell v. Lazarus, 2012 ONCA 348 (CanLII)**
    
    	 			 			 				Date: 				2012-05-04 			 		 					 				Docket: 				 					 						C53309 					 				 			 				 				 			URL:http://canlii.ca/t/frg7q 			 			 				Citation: 				 					Halliwell v. Lazarus, 2012 ONCA 348 (CanLII), <http://canlii.ca/t/frg7q> retrieved on 2012-06-12 				 			 			 			 				Share: 				                      					[(http://www.flsc.ca)andWestbrook Building Inspection Ltd.Glenda Halliwell and Jenifer HalliwellandWestbrook Building Inspection Ltd. aka Westbrook Building Inspections Service Ltd.and
    
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Even though it is inappropriate to make statements about the outcome of any lawsuit without having all the facts, it certainly has become apparent in this case that the standard disclaimer widely used to curb liabilities to the costs of the report only, has certainly not worked in this case.

It also seems that the real estate agent involved in this matter had the better lawyer.

**RUDOLF REUSSE **

I agree … and would add that the case was lost, appealled and lost again … making it likely that the legal expenses have come close to matching the cost of damages (whether totally paid by him or, after he paid the deductable, the remainder paid by the E&O provider).

I don’t know if they can be enforced in Canada, but contractual agreement to arbitration clauses are enforced in U.S. courts which can take some of the sting out of this kind of situation.

I’m with you.

It sounds like he showed up to a gunfight armed with a pocket knife.

Sounds like the judge thought he knew a bit about home inspections and made up his own conclusion and could care less about the PIA. I would love to see the PIA. If the contract specifically states he doesn’t inspect for mold then Canada is screwed if you ask me. You might as well not have a PIA at all.

You should not assume that all provinces are the same. Each province has their own laws just like all USA states have their own laws. Alberta and BC have licencing requirements for HIs.
Alberta law demands a number of clauses one of which deals with mould and the client has to initial it to include or exclude that part of the inspection. It’s is the HI Business’s responsibility to draft the clause to include or exclude the mould inspection. The object of the exercise is for the client to be made aware of the status of the mould inspection. asbestos, out buildings, subcontractors etc. are some of the other items that are included within these regulations.

The very best pre-inspection agreement in existence in the world will not stop you from being sued. In the hands of a good attorney, it can keep you from “losing” … but by the time you have suffered the expenses of a trial and preparation (and, in this case, an appeal) you have already “lost” even if you somehow later “win”.

IMO, inspectors who focus on pre-inspection agreements, disclaimers and the list of other such presumed liability-limiting devices as a means of protection are on the wrong path.

If this inspector had a good PIA and a good lawyer, he would have used both to negotiate a reasonable settlement to keep the case out of trial. It is clear from the results of the trial that the PIA was unconscionable and it was little more thanhis “knife” in the gunfight. He obviously had no competent legal representation watching his back, either.

One of the many earlier “vice presidents” of NACHI (aka “vendors-in-need-of-a-title”) sold a software program presumably designed to intimidate clients from attempting to sue by appearing, with its pages and pages of disclaimers, to be ultra comprehensive and ambiguous in its wording, at the same time. That software program company is now out of business and that vice president, at last word, was away writing Harlequin novels or something like that.

But the principle idea behind the software … being that it is the prevention of the lawsuit that should be the primary focus … was sound. There is a reason why insurance companies are happier settling claims with smaller payouts than to fight to win to protect a reputation of an inspector who was right.

In retrospect, this inspector would assuredly prefer to have settled this case much earlier in the process, IMO.

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**Mould =\= Hazard**

The media and some TV shows has painted a miserable picture on mound. In fact, mould in general is not a health concern, and it is even playing an important role in producing all kinds of food, such as cheese, salami, etc. The realtor is very unprofessional in recommending home inspector for mound inspection, as this is not even in the home inspectors’ SOP. The court system is such a joke in flip-flopping its opinion. In the end, the qualified inspectors will stay away from the mess and leave only fly-by-night self-claimed specialists to fill up the void and become the scapegoat for the next dispute.

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goingconcern
Jun 13, 2012 9:00 PM

**Trying to save on inspector's fee**

In my opinion that is the biggest problem. People are trying to save $50 or $75 on a home inspection by hiring someone based on the price. Real professional should charge a professional fee and not provide discounts to get the job for beer money.

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Toronto Home Inspector
Jun 12, 2012 8:42 AM

**Always inspect**

Interesting read; as a mortgage professional with 18 years experience I have seen many clients insert the “inspection clause” as a formality or an out with no intention to actually do a through inspection of the property due to the nominal cost; I always remind them that the small cost upfront can save them thousands or even tens of thousands in the future. In addition, as this case highlights, despite an inspection problems can be missed, so if you’re buying an older home work with a team of professionals and ask lots of questions of the sellers and do not waive any conditions until you are satisfied and comfortable with the state of the property.

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Farhaneh
Jun 11, 2012 4:46 PM

**Very poor JUDGEment against the Inspector for a 6yr ago  inspection**

The inspector noted potential future problems during his VISUAL inspection. So unless he/she is one of those Psychic Inspectors that can predict a problem 3 months down the road? Its a poor JUDGEment call against the inspector. You could call this a 100% against the Buyer or a 100% against the RE Agent for referring the Inspector unless his/her name is The Amazing Kreskin Psychic Home Inspector? RE Agents that are selling homes in a “bidding war” type manner excluding offers with an inspection clause. As due to this judges ruling it opens the door for you to be held responsible for up to 100% of a buyers problems later on down the road?

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Haywoody
Jun 11, 2012 4:31 PM

**Good!**

Some home inspectors are in the back pockets of the agents and have no accountability to their clients; they will sign of an inspection to facilitate the sale for the agent rather than represent the best interests of those who hired them - the purchasers!

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c-mor
Jun 9, 2012 7:20 PM

**Too much info missing in the story so I say Bad Call**

An inspection is a good thing but it appears only a VISUAL for mould was done and not an actual TESTING? The buyers being allergic to mould should have not been “frugal” and paid a trained, lic, certified Mould Inspector to perform actual testing. But it would 'appear" that they didn’t wish to spend the $ for that? (the $250-1,000 that is). Guess the buyers didn't feel that their health concerns were worth the at the time? If I was that particular Home Inspector and I wasn’t paid to do an actual Mould Testing either by my self (If qualified) or paid a qualified “sub” to do it? I would counter sue the buyer until the cows came home.

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Haywoody
Jun 9, 2012 7:07 PM

**HOME INSPECTORS**

We purchased a home in Wasaga Beach and had a home inspection done by a local firm. They were absolutely useless. We knew the appliances worked but otherwise he didn’t see any other problems. Said we had great insulation, my husband checked months later found places with None in the attic. (which the inspector said he checked! The basement was not finished properly with electrical outlets not working, didn’t see that! There was problems in the garage, didn’t see that. I could go on, on. I could have done better. Some are just not worth the $$. Unfortunately, this company is still doing home inspections here and most Real Estate companies are using them.

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MaggieMae
Jun 9, 2012 6:42 PM

**Another problem this situation highlights:**

the problem of home inspector qualifications. Some of these people spent two years at George Brown learning their trade. Others sent away for their diploma from a mail order house. There is no proper liscencing process for home inspectors.

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Gandalf
Jun 9, 2012 6:17 PM