Its already starting. In the past 2 weeks as you know, Luke Bell, KAR and KCRAR that I know of have sent newsletters, emails and held office meetings for Realtors all over the state saying basically - “Its taken us 9 years to get this pushed through, but we’ve got home inspectors regulated AND they can’t limit their liability to anything under $10,000 per inspection AND you can start making them do this 7/01/08 OR as soon as the Bill is recorded in the book”.
This allows Realtors, sellers, buyers, Builders, etc to try and drag the home inspector into paying for almost any perceived wrong (valid or otherwise) OR things that other parties have done or not done. AND this nightmare is already starting. This week, I’ve had calls from 4 other inspectors saying things like:
**Dan **- (1) I was right in the middle of an inspection and the dishwasher started leaking - the next day the listing agent called me and said her seller said its never done that before, so when I turned it on I must have done something to make it leak, and under this new Bill its my responsibility to pay for fixing the sellers leaky dishwasher; (2) Another inspector called and said when he went to put the garage door up, it went up half way and derailed. The seller called him later that day and told him that her realtor told her there was a new law and home inspectors had some sort of $10,000 warranty to pay for things like this, etc; (3) A third inspector said someone he did an inspection for about 11 months ago called and said this past week hes got a leak in his roof. The homeowner had a roofer out and it seems the builder (NOW out of business) cheated - the builder cut corners and used felt paper ONLY around the edges of the roof. So to fix the roof, they will have to tear the whole roof off AND put felt paper down AND reroof the house. Obviously a home inspector can’t see under the roof shingles, so why is the buyer calling the inspector - the builder is bankrupt AND vanished - the inspector is left behind AND the buyers realtor told them about the new Bill in Kansas that makes home inspectors liable for up to $10,000 per inspection (for their whopping big $275-$325 fee).
Its already apparent that some agents, buyers, sellers, etc will see this as a “$10,000 warranty, repair allowance, guaranty, etc”.
Yes - its already starting thanks to the fine efforts of the KAR and certain members of the KAREI group, combined with naive legislators listening to the lies we heard in the committee meetings. We may become a financial cushion for agents, sellers, builders or a buyer looking for a $$$ fix (regardless of whose fault). We’ll be paying $1,000 - $1,500 attorney retainers just to write defense letters for $300 inspections on MANY of the defective conditions in the sellers house or other parties problems.
The attorney’s that were consulted have said several things like: a) they think its illegal for the state to try and restrict 1 groups ability to legally contract with their customers - especially since the Kansas Appellate Court has ruled several times over the past 10 years that is is legal for ANY business to negotiate their liability (in time OR money) with their customers AND no other business or profession has been prevented from the contracting process - just inspectors; b) they think the difference in time for city / rural inspectors is discrimatory;** c)** in Kansas since engineering laws **EXCLUDE 1&2 family houses **AND the engineers were excluded from HB-2315 they are not under anyones jurisdiction NOR are they forced to NOT limit their liability, get insurance, etc AND can continue to do whatever they want with NO juristiction from the engineering board OR the home inspection board - more discrimination OR possibly **a state mandated RESTRAINT of TRADE. These are just a sample of what the attorneys came up with after reviewing HB-2315, as well as possibly tying the KAR into a Microsoft type affect on another profession. **They felt they can get an injunction on the Bill and put it into hearing before a Dictrict Court for rulings.
They also felt this might be of interest to the Justice Department or someone like the FBI, from the KAR’s aspect of interference or manipulation.
They think this would make a hell of a great media story - either locally or nationally for some enterprising investigative reporters. Kind of reminds one of the Alamo - 200 to 250 home inspectors fighting off 20,000 to 25,000 real estate agents in Kansas for the right to control their own profession. ESPECIALLY when those same real estate agents or **KAR **have been instrumental in fighting any type of state mandated building codes, code inspections, licensing of builders, OR mandatory consumer protection laws like radon testing or landlord safety checks on housing.
**However the attorneys want a $17,000 retainer to get started. **I’m told several groups are looking to see if any law firms would like to take this, and see who they can sue for $$$$$ IF the inspectors agree to give the attorneys 80% of whatever they can get from anybody OR any entity for ANY reason.
The attorney’s also suggest raising rates SIGNIFICANTLY in Kansas (like $100-$150 per inspection OR MORE) to help compensate for the extra liability. **AND **they suggest starting to **hammer everything **thats not 100% correct AND referring almost everything thats not 100% correct to “licensed contractors” for further review and analysis, AND to NOT inspect **NOR **even look at ANYTHING thats not required by the National Inspector Association you belong to **OR NOT **required by the state statutes (i.e. things like appliances, fireplace flues, furnace heat exchangers, etc).
As we all know, ALL national home inspector associations, exclude many things like appliances, fireplace flues, heat exchangers, etc. If they’re outside your National Standards, they’re outside the Kansas Home Inspector Law. So great - lets address them that way. At the current time most of us check most of these components for our clients anyway as a courtesy - **however **- under the new Kansas Law with $10,000 of liability, here’s what my insurance company and my company attorney have both suggested that we start doing to address these Kansas liability issues:
Mr Inspector, how did the appliances work - they look really old. I don’t know Mrs Buyer, we don’t operate these anymore for Kansas homebuyers because of the $10,000 liability issue. If you were buying a house in Missouri we’d still do them as a courtesy, but since its in Kansas …
Well Mr Inspector, is my fireplace flue clean - does it look OK to you. Gosh, Mr Buyer we don’t check these in Kansas anymore - the $10,000 liability thing that the Kansas Realtors pushed, you know. If you decide to buy a house in Missouri, we’ll be happy to look at them for you.
Mr & Mrs homebuyer, there is a water stain on the ceiling under the 2nd floor bathroom. I’ve checked it with my moisture meter and its dry at this time, **BUT **there could be water damage **OR **a toxic mold inside the ceiling cavity where we can’t see AND we recommend removing the drywall prior to closing to examine the hidden areas AND we recommend a FULL mold test prior to closing. If we were in Missouri, we’d simply tell you there were old water stains that are dry at this time - we can’t see inside the walls - and monitor this in the future. Why do it the other way in Kansas? Its real simple - the Kansas $10,000 liability thing.
I think the Kansas home buyers are gonna start paying a lot more for a lot less AND getting a lot of referrals to get other inspections done.
Can’t do it any other way. The way the Kansas Realtors have influenced the Bill has seen to that. Whats very funny is as someone with a degree in Real Estate when I read the local Realtors own contracts, they’ve got so many “limits of liability” for themselves its a downright joke.
Other than that, nothing new out here in rural Kansas.