Kansas Home Inspection License FooPah

As most of you know, When it was originally passed the Kansas Licensing Law was “Sunseted” till June or July of 2013

What that meant was certain Senate or Committee Members had doubts of the number of problems the real estate community kept telling them that home inspectors had caused AND some of the other concerns Realtors brought up.

So the Bill was NOT permanent BUT was TEMPORARY & “Sunsetted” this year. The Realtors, Trial Attorneys and select members of the KAREI / ASHI group have done their calling, writing, etc and CONVINCED the legisators LICENSING has cleaned up the profession in Kansas and reduced the consumer complaints to only 2-3 in the 3+ years of licensing. Actually as you know 4 years ago when we checked with the AG’s Office, BBB and Consumer Groups like HADD we found out we weren’t perfect BUT had less complaints than FLORISTS.

In short the hundreds OR thousands of complaints were NOT there.

Anyway the legislators PASSED the Bill or otherwise approved KEEPING the Bill in place. NOW the SURPRISE

Governor Brownbacks Office VETOED it. I’m told UNLESS the legislators OVERTURN the Governors Veto, its DEAD.

I’m also told that the Governors Office did NOT feel that UNLICENSED home inspectors had created SIGNIFICANT harm to the Kansas public; AND under the Boards original leadership (I will not repeat the name mentioned) the Board had not demonstrated the ability to provide leadership or direction to the home inspection profession in Kansas.

PS … Now I guess its possible that home inspectors in KS writing the Governor OR the legislators could PERMANENTLY kill the Bill

Interesting …

Dan Bowers, CRI, ACI, CMI

Certified Real Estate Inspector, NAHI
Certified Master Inspector, iNACHI
ASHI Certified Inspector #1038
Certified Mold Inspector
FHA Compliance Inspector
FHA 203k Consultant, Plan Reviewer
EDI Certified Stucco / EIFS Inspector
Licensed HVAC Contractor / Technician
NRSB Certified Radon Measurement Specialist
Code Certified Residential Dwelling Inspector
Licensed Building Contractor - 1&2 Family
Flir Certified Level I Thermographer

The only significant harm has been done by the Kansas Association of Realtors, by allowing, by law, basic, minimum standard home inspections. Inspectors in Kansas are giving home buyers basic reports, and putting the shaft to every home buyer in the state.

Perhaps my emails and words are getting around, and my explanations on my web site about these “laws”.

You know the drill. No appliances or appliance connections (gee, I do not need to mention the open electrical wires on that disposal). One window, one switch, one outlet per room (to heck with the others that were broken, hey, I found one that was OK in that room; no defect).

I publicly challenge any Kansas politician, governor, senator, congress person to call me, and I will inspect their home, and get them to realize the differences between a basic home inspection, and one by a Certified Master Inspector. And for not much more money.

Heck, we have two board members on the “Kansas Home Inspection Registration Board” who are appraisers; not licensed or experienced in home inspections. These people know nothing about inspecting a home.

This is a total waste.

Dan, you remember that committee person back in 2008 who complained about that inspector who inspected her home and missed $40,000 in foundation repairs? She wanted HI laws. She got them. However, now most inspectors in Kansas now say nothing about foundations in any report. I challenged her to get a basic Kansas home inspection, then hire me and let me do the inspection on her home the next day. Her eyes would open wide. I have offered this with many other committee members; no takers. I have also done this for a few bankers who wanted me to re-inspect properties that had been previously inspected by low-cost HI’s. They were all very surprised at dozens of defects I found, that were not on previous reports. And pictures do not lie.

What we need in Kansas is free enterprise. Let the market speak for itself. Not the government. They have other more serious problems.

Gary -

What you got to keep in mind however, when writing these people is that NO state law ANYWHERE requires an inspector to check EVERY single outlet, switch, fixture, rafter, floor joist, etc. It’s NOT feasible.

We SPOT CHECK like components … SoP of every licensed state OR of ANY home inspector association use language to refer to “SPOT CHECKING” or “Checking a Representative Sample”, etc.

When you INFER we can’t go beyond that MINIMUM standard, they can see that is not correct and it WEAKENS your position.

AND yes we had incompetents OR cheapo’s before licensing AND still got them afterwards, but now the real estate community can throw up their hands and say:

"I had no idea the HI was incompetent, I’m just the sales person … The state said he / she was competent and gave them a license, so don’t blame me … We made the HI get E & O or bonded, so sue him.

Gary when writing these people try and focus more on:

  1. the lack of a need for the licensing;
  2. the lack of significant harm to KS residents;
  3. the poor law along with tarnished past leadership of Board;
  4. the association bias of past leadership on Board, etc.


Well, no registration or licensing laws will ever prevent unscrupulous behavior; so the Kansas governor’s idea that some form of regulation isn’t needed if no unscrupulous behavior is observed is wrong headed. The rules shouldn’t be about trying to regulate someone’s behavior they should be aimed at ensuring practicing inspectors are competent to do what each claims to be able to do - competently and thoroughly inspect homes.

Kansas was registering inspectors if they met appropriate criteria and nothing more. Maybe it gave one or two persons pause when considering home inspections as a profession; but I doubt that it turned dishonest inspectors into paragons of righteousness overnight. In fact, I’d venture to say it has zero impact on “unscrupulous” persons. If laws actually did that, we’d have no need for a police force.

No law requiring someone be registered or obtain a home inspector license can stop unscrupulous behavior any more than a realtor’s license stops some realtors from being 'zoids, or a vehicle registration stops folks from driving drunk or breaking any other law in their cars.

Laws aimed at regulating inspectors that are aimed at ensuring an inspector is competent protect consumers and inspector alike. Any law that doesn’t ensure competency is pablum.

According to the article, registration in Kansas ensures that home inspectors are certified by national home inspection organizations - big whoop. That means they’ve joined a club; it doesn’t mean the inspector is competent. Sure, the clubs will all say that their members are competent and wave around a bunch of statistics, but we have all known inspectors who have been long time members of every one of those clubs that, in our hearts, we believe to be the worst inspectors on the planet. The clubs are powerless to enforce competency. They try to do it with continuing education requirements but in many instances those are a sham. I recently attended one conference where I had to leave the lecture hall to use the bathroom. As I walked through the hallways of the hotel hunting for the men’s room I counted no less than 11 inspectors wearing name tags with their association logo on them sound asleep on various divans and chairs outside of the conference room. When I returned to the conference I checked the state-mandated sign-in sheet. Yep, there were the names of those I recognized among them. Wonder how much they were learning sleeping in the hallways?

According to the article, registration ensures inspectors have financial responsibility like surety bonds and liability insurance. That still doesn’t do much to protect consumers; it’s just another “requirement” that is nothing more than a minor speed bump. It was probably dreamed up by someone that thought it would prevent some folks from entering the profession and becoming his or her competition. It doesn’t do any more to protect the consumer than errors and omissions insurance protects the consumer. If E & O actually protected consumers we wouldn’t be reading articles bemoaning how some poor schmuck got a lousy inspection and the lack of competent inspectors. I read stories all the times like that in states that have regulation and mandatory E & O - the E & O costs apparently don’t discourage incompetents. Maybe they even make those inspectors more careless because they think that if they screw up they’ll be covered regardless.

According to the article Kansaw inspectors are being required to maintain continuing education. OK, now at least there is finally something meant to help the consumer, but unless you’ve tested every one of those practicing inspectors and identified those among them who are incompetents, it’s like closing the barn door after the horse has bolted. Yeah, eventually the guy/gal should become more competent after attending enough continuing ed, but that can take a lot of years - what about all of those homes he or she is “experimenting” on in the meantime?

According to the article, registration makes sure that they are not felons. Hmmm, current felons, as in suck up artists conspiring with realtors to whitewash a house for a nice kickback in the form of guaranteed future referrals, or felons such as a convicted rapist? By the way, what’s this about anyway? Who says a past felon can’t be a perfectly capable home inspector? There have been thousands of persons who have been felons who cleaned up their act and went on to become law abiding citizens; why is home inspections so sacrosanct that a felon can’t do this gig? I guess I can understand a former crook not being allowed to be a cop or a banker or a stock broker, because there’s the potential for huge temptation in those types of jobs but there isn’t a whole lot of temptation in crawling around in attics and crawlspaces and risking one’s *** climbing on ladders and going into homes laced with parasites and ringworm. There’s nothing there that a former felon who is intelligent enough can’t do and do well.

If someone is going to be a crook he or she will be a crook regardless of whether or not there is a licensing or registration law.

From my own experience; I know that here, where we have licensing, not registration, the law requires: 1. mandatory minimum education specific to home inspections 2. mandatory testing of every inspector to ensure that the inspector at least has minimal competency; and 3. mandatory minimum mentoring by a licensed inspector to ensure the inspector knows how to at least write a report to the standard.

These requirements were all designed to ensure that consumers could be reasonably confident that the inspector hired is minimally competent.

Even inspectors here who were grandfathered were forced to take the NHIE or they were denied a license. Those practicing inspectors who couldn’t pass it, regardless of how long they’d been in the business, found themselves forced to either leave the business or go back to school to get minimally trained so they could pass it. That rule doesn’t guaranty that an inspector will be the best inspector on the planet, or the most honest and ethical inspector on the planet, but it does weed out those who aren’t minimally competent - none of those Kansas requirements do that.

The mentoring and report writing requirement exposes an inspector to the profession and what he or she is going to be required to do as an inspector. Some folks find the mentoring easy; some find it tough. If the person doing the mentoring is doing so conscientiously the new inspector will learn quite a bit and has to prove to the mentor that he or she knows how to write a report that meets the state standard. I’ve mentored about half a dozen inspectors over the past seventeen years. Only one of them went on to become an inspector - the others decided just in time that they weren’t cut out for it. The guy who went on to become an inspector went on to spend thousands to go to school in Utah. Then he returned here, opened up his doors and a month later called me to turn over his client “list”, saying he was getting out of the gig because he couldn’t put up with the realtors’ bull**** anymore - granted, that was before licensing, but I’m not sure that if he’d gotten his license today he’d still be in it. I think he’d thought it was going to be an easier gig than it is.

There is a little wrinkle in this rule; if the mentor writes a lousy report, he or she is probably going to certify a lousy report. That can come back to bite the mentor. If an inspector’s report ever comes into question because it’s not complete, the inspector’s mentor is probably going to end up getting his or her reports audited to determine if they meet state requirements. If that investigation determines the mentor’s reports don’t meet the minimum standard either, both inspectors are probably going to receive some kind of notice of correction from the Department of Licensing and may even be required to undergo additional training or have their license suspended.

That rule is aimed at consumer protection; but it too cannot guaranty honesty or ethical behavior. In fact, it can’t guaranty a good report either. There are hundreds of inspectors who were grandfathered and only required to take the NHIE. Nobody audited their reports to ensure they met requirements. Still, if those inspectors write a lousy report today DOL has the teeth they need to take corrective measures, whether that be to fine the inspector, suspend the inspector’s license or force the inspector to undergo additional training.

Our law also has a code of ethics that is codified. It prohibits an inspector from specific types of unethical behavior that unethical inspectors are known to perpetrate; but like any law it can’t stop anyone that is bound and determined to break the law. The COE is important because without it DOL’s disciplinary options are limited, with it, they can take action against those behaviors and in extreme cases close an inspectors company down completely. Membership in a club and adherence to a club’s COE doesn’t provide the consumer that kind of protection.

That’s consumer protection. It’s not perfect but it’s a heck of a lot better than the Kansas registration rules.

I think the Kansas folks should get serious and go back to the drawing board. If they want regulation they need to develop something that will protect consumers and they have to prove to their gov that it can - to a point.




By the way, it’s faux pas not foo pah.

E&O insurance companies will tell you that 90% of all claims against home inspectors are without merit. Of the 10% left, 90% of those were caused not by incompetence, but rather complacency (the inspector knew how to do it right, but didn’t). That leaves 1% due to lack of competency. Competency can’t be determined by the NHIE, which is little more than a memory test of 300 facts. You simply can’t determine or improve competency with one memory test. You need multiple, robust courses, where each course has multiple quizzes that don’t permit you to advance until you pass the quizzes with a score of 100%, followed by multiple high passing cut-off score final exams.

Just because everyone has a driver’s license makes them all good drivers, right?

Anyone can take a test. Anyone can go to school, take dozens of classes, get a nice certificate (diploma) and get a job, or start a business. It never will mean that the person is good at what he/she is trained for.

Any SOP is a bare, minimum standard. I go way above them. Those that abide by the SOP’s are just hurting the rest of us. CMI’s and inspectors with years of experience knows how to inspect, report, present, and properly inform the home buyer. We should be getting paid for it. It is tough for us to compete with $199 inspections.

Kansas has the worse laws, rules, regulations, SOP’s of any state. They are basic, minimum, and did not serve the home buyer properly.

I have mentored dozens of inspectors who want to become one, and all of them never made it through the third inspection with me.

Our industry will never get to the upper level, unless SOP’s are changed, and raised to the highest level. Perhaps that is what we need; another level along side CMI’s, or even higher. Until that day comes, cheap, basic inspections will command cheap prices. As in any industry, you get what you pay for…

It is hard for me to understand why HI licensing is needed, when most counties and cities have no building codes, so how do you know for sure if a defect is truly a defect? Most contractors of any trade are not required to be licensed or regulated in most all counties, but yet us HI’s are. What a fiasco.

Is that what you call it? Leadership? What does that mean?

Dan, I have not heard anything as of today. Please keep us posted. I did send a short email to the Governor yesterday.

Mike O’Handley -

WHAT article are you referring to … I got no clue what you’re talking about. If you’re quoting some recent article, IT WAS FILLED with BAD and FALSE information. For Example:

In Kansas YOU do NOT have to BELONG to ANY home inspector association to be registered / licensed.

In Kansas YOU do NOT have to TAKE or PASS the NHIE. THe NHIE is BUT 1 of 2 Exams that are recognized for LICENSURE. The NAHI state licensing exam is the other recognized test.

In Kansas the home inspection law** DOES NOT** prohibit a felon from obtaining a HI licenses. It give the Board the right to look at the circumstances. IF it has been MORE than 5 years since the conviction and serving of punishment (jail, parole, suspension, etc) and the person has now proven to be of good morale character, and the crime was not for something like murder, armed robbery, rape, etc etc they may receive their Home Inspection licenses (at least 3 or 4 have done so). This provision was the same as that for licensed real estate agents and some other professions in Kansas

So I’m NOT sure WHAT article you’re REFERRING to BUT it AIN’t RIGHT

Interesting how these E&O insurance companies are so free with so many of these statistical percentages concerning claims against home inspectors … yet continuously refuse to answer the simple question “How many lawsuits against home inspectors did you defend in (insert calendar year, here)?”

I’m sure that there is a good reason for that. :wink:

LOL. Well, in defense of E&O insurance companies, the purpose of insurance isn’t to cover your printer should you drop it. It’s to cover the catastrophic events… which should be rare (like they are in the inspection business).


Many inspectors in the old boy network of 10+ years ago invented licensing as a means to cull the herd. Admit this, as it is fact. ASHI “model licensing” was littel more than a thinly veiled map to controlling the profession state-to-state. The laws were draconian, and considering that whatever complaints against inspectors were caused by those already in the profession, actually guaranteed NOTHING in the way of protecting the consumer. I saw no provision for addressing the existing complaints against bad inspectors. They were simply grandfathered in, while barring otherwise competent individuals from earning a living absent to indentured servitude to licensed individuals.

Many state constitutions require that laws passes include MINIMUM competency requirements. I believe that it is only a matter of time and money before electricians and plumbers start having their licensing provisions challenged in court before their arbitrary standards for licensing start coming into focus. But for now, let’s look at inspectors…

No one has EVER substantiated a need for licensure, even as a means of “protecting” the public. That is because there is no true, scientifically proven, trackable, and statistically comparable DATA ewhich has been collected over a number of years (say 3), which supports the measure.

The realtors and inspection orgs started everyone down this road, by allowing incompetent inspectors to join their ranks (or referring them), then trying to control the number of people entering the profession.

What we have left are nonsensical laws, as in the State of Florida, or laws which are arbitrary (most other states).

This is an unfortunate reality. The NHIE is no better nor worse than most other exams. It proves you can remember the answers to a test. For those who are poor test takers, it presents a hardship. For thoose who may be slightly learning disabled, it is arbitrary, and I suspect discriminatory.

All it takes is money to challenge, and likely defeat much of this nonsense. I am all for minimum standards, that are truly minimum standards. Do not bar entry into the profession, which in many cases is not a profession, as demonstrated among our own ranks and with many realtors. Provide education.

Change the fee structure for the realtors, where they have less skin in the game if a deal falls apart. Properly compensate those who carry the greatest risk of being sued (the inspector). Start with the simple things, like having a means of complaining about undue influence on the part of realtors during an inspection. Yank their licenses.

There are already laws on the books governing realtors. Enforce them. Also, start with a REGISTRATION of inspectors to establish an accurate database of names.

There is a lot of work to be done to clean up the real estate profession prior to aiming at inspectors as a bandaid on a severed artery.

Mike, your moniker for as long as I can remember is “One Team… One Fight”

Our industru is the furthest thing from that saying as anyone can remember. Here in NY, we formed a quick consortuim of inspectors from around the State, from ALL associations. We left our guns and knives at the door and over a three day period, hammered out a COE and SOP for our state. Either we got together, or the PEs and licensing board would do it for us. The process worked and I got to know my compadres at a professional level I never before understood. They all turned out to be good guys. Reasonable. Mutual respect for our associations.

Our industry will continue to be treated as the bastard stepchild because we ALLOW it. Plain and simple. Always have, and I suspect, always will.

My yearly fee to have my state “license” renewed is $200 in Kansas. In the last two years, it has been zero. The “board” waved the fee for reasons that are not clear. One was to not have any HI’s leave the business, so the “board” could tell the state that they still had hundreds of members. One estimate before licensing took effect in 2008 was 600. One estimate was 550. Actual number of inspectors who became licensed was 180. Now the renewal is free, the number remains at about 140. If the fee was still implemented, the number would most likely be way under 100.

Why the state required fee was not collected is a mystery. Having the governor appoint appraisers to the board is another mystery. Why state laws that were implemented where never enforced, ask the state attorney general.

Why records of HI’s were being kept on a home computer in someone’s garage is not the way a state would handle any record keeping.

Hiring an outside accounting agency to handle bookwork, and never audited or monitored by a state agency is amazing. Where did the money go that was collected years ago?

There has never been a “public” board meeting. I believe the last one was just a “conference call” years ago.

The KHIRB web site is not state sponsored.

Kansas laws are the laughing-stock of all Kansas RE agents, who got what they wanted all along; us out of their way of doing proper home inspections.

This effort by Governor Brownback may also be politically motivated. I bet that the lawmakers, who just passed the laws to be renewed, where arm-twisted by the campaign contributions form the KAR.

It could be also that the then former Governor Sebilius, who is now head of health and human services department in DC, signed the HI bill in Kansas just hours before resigning to go to Washington. She is also heavily involved with the Obama health care law.

People in Kansas, as well as the Governor, do not like this new health care law, and are against the health exchanges. Who knows for sure.

I hope our Governor does the right thing. Home inspection laws could have been, and should have been, much better for the future home buyers of Kansas.


I am not saying that the Kansas HI laws are all bad. They limit an HI’s liability to $2,000. They limit the term of response/litigation to one year. They limit on what we have to do on every inspection.

However, they force insurance requirements, registration and education. Sounds like health care and gun laws, doesn’t it? What’s next?

Dan Bowers,
This is the article I was referring to:


According to that article, “The Kansas Home Inspectors Registration Board ensures home inspectors are certified by national home inspection organizations, have financial responsibility like surety bonds and liability insurance, maintain continuing education and are not felons.” “The state doesn’t license inspectors, but it registers them if they meet the appropriate criteria.”


I agree that some licensing laws were misguided attempts initiated by members of some associations to limit entry into the profession by members of competing associations or to block entry of new inspectors who would compete with them period. I think that in most cases those have been dealt with by those in the profession through additional legislation.

I can’t speak to other states but I can speak to Washington because I was involved with the process here from inception. We formed a coalition made up of all stakeholders here, including those from iNACHI and every national and state organization, as well as independents. That coalition managed to stop two poorly thought out licensing bills and the senator sponsoring the bill finally listened and got her bill passed the third time around only after meeting with and making changes suggested (insisted on) by the inspector’s coalition that had fought her to a draw twice.

It might surprise you to know that a home inspector here doesn’t have standing to make a complaint against another inspector. Sure, if another inspector is practicing without a license, a licensed inspector can point that out to DOL - as can any citizen - and DOL will investigate that and take action as needed, but inspectors can’t make complaints about another inspector’s practice as long as the inspector is in compliance with the law. The only persons that have standing to make a complaint against an inspector in terms of that inspector’s business practices or competency are the consumers that hire that inspector. DOL will not even entertain complaints made by others who don’t have status. That I know after serving two consecutive terms on the board.

By law here, licensing laws cannot be an obstruction to new business. By law here, laws can require that someone prove competency to enter a profession but those competency requirements must be minimal in nature. State law prohibits putting up requirements that would make it impossible for anyone but the most experienced person on the planet to leap that bar, or which favor only those who are already in the business. Certainly, if they aren’t allowed to do that for doctors and lawyers and engineers no inspectors were going to be able to do that. After the licensing law here was passed, the board that put together the licensing rules, education rules, code of ethics and standards of practice had to always keep those parameters in mind.

There was lots of hand wringing and name calling here when the law was passed requiring every inspector in the state to take the NHIE regardless of experience; however, the test ended up identifying about 35 very experienced inspectors who couldn’t pass the test. Most of those inspectors ended up working hard to get themselves to the point where they could pass that test. Some got another legislator to sponsor a bill that would have allowed them to be licensed without testing but that bill got sent to committee to be studied. In the meantime, the licensing deadline passed and made that bill moot, so some of those few ended up spending thousands to get the necessary training, in addition to the test, when they could have simply studied a little harder and saved themselves a lot. Some of those never did pass the test and left the business. As far as I’m concerned, if after being in this business a number of years one can’t pass that very simple test, one shouldn’t be out there inspecting homes, so good riddance to them.

The point wasn’t to stop new inspectors from getting in; it was to ensure that those in the business already were capable of performing an inspection to at least the minimum standard required, and then ensuring that new inspectors entering the business already had the basic tools they needed to perform an adequate inspection to that minimum standard before he or she ever hangs out a shingle. The rules weren’t designed to put persons out of business - though some decided that their businesses weren’t important enough to them to pass a minimal test - and the rules didn’t “level the playing field”, which is something I heard a lot from experienced inspectors who felt that licensing would eliminate the edge they’d have by being in the business for twenty years versus a newbie, everyone still has to compete with one another on the same level as they did before licensing and that ability isn’t association dependent.

There was a time here when lots of inspector discussions would revolve around various competing organizations. We don’t hear that anymore. Folks are focused on running their businesses and the system seems to be working well.

If anyone would like to know more about the way licensing evolved here, I’ll be happy to talk to them via email so they’ll have some insight into the process.

Mike O’Handley
Kenmore, Washington

Interesting. Thanks Mike.

Thanks Mike for showing the article. Unfortunately it looks like the reporter got info from an ASHI inspector that doesn’t know much about the law.

Not unusual, seeing where he’s from. You saw my earlier response, so you know whats REAL. The yo’yo’s pushing the “Lets go get Licensed Button” held hands with Realtors all the way to the bank. Up here a few unknown ASHI guys got adopted by the Realtors and although other inspectors could attend committee meetings AND talk briefly, the ONLY group that got to participate in Bill writing, etc was some ASHI members most of which the rest of us had never heard of.

They’re very proud of their registration act (not a license). Please read the wording on the Kansas Home Inspector Registration Board site.

"If you began business between July 1, 2007 and December 31, 2009, click here for a special notice regarding the education requirements of licensing.

My thoughts is they called it REGISTRATION so some guys and legislators opposed to licensing would fly with it.

I send in educational credit documents, insurance requirements, and the application every year, and the “board” sends me a license.

Last two years I have not had to send in any fee. It is a license. Not a registration.

I have asked some other fellow inspectors and also real estate agents and many seem to not know about this new ordinance going into effect next week.

So, outside of the article referenced, I don’t see anything on the KS website regarding no more regulation of licensing.

Is this true, or just a rumor created by media?

Dear Whoever …

I see you have no profile or zip squat and you just joined 6/25/13 so lets help you understand. If you care to READ the original Bill you will discvover written into law it was a SUNSET Bill due to expire 7/1/13 UNLESS extended OR made permanent. The legislative session ended with NEITHER the Bill being made permanent NOR being extended. Figure it out from there…

The Board is to have a tele-conference this week deciding how long to keep the web site up AND will likely post an announcement … UNTILL then we seem to have people in the Kansas home inspection business that can’t read OR have to have their mommy tell them its OK to go PEE.