Has anyone ever thought about the amount of liability that falls on our shoulders. The city inspectors are held harmless for anything they look at. Home inspectors are liable for everything we look at.

Two simple examples: Roof is installed. Improper shingles were used and multiple shiners are found in the attic. Ctiy passes the roof. Home inspector inspects the home and finds these deficiencies. If they are missed, guess who gets the phone call. Not the city.

City just went out and passed a drainage system for a washing machine. The unit dumps water into a non approved wast system (a green bucket in the ground) and they pass the drainage line running in an upward slope to the septic tank. Miss that one as a home inspector and see who gets the call.

I could go on and on and I am sure all of you have similar stories. Everyone here has missed something at one time or another. If you haven’t you just haven’t been caught yet.

And no, these were not items that were missed, but called out, and both times the “realtors” and the sellers had the same thing to say. “the city passed it, so it must be OK, and I am not fixing it”.

So true

Your right. Everyone else gets a pass.
But, if everyone else did their jobs correctly, there would be less need for HI’s.


Actually that is not totally true. It might apply to new construction. On any re-sale we are basically doing a performance inspection - finding faults over time and reporting deficiencies due to mechanical (or other) failure, age, and improperly installed items due to no permitting or homeowner work done wrong. No different than taking a car in for an inspection before buying it, except it is on a larger and more expensive scale.

But not only are we responsible for what we see and report on, we are also held responsible for items that were permitted and done wrong. Eventually this is going to catch up to some of us and result it law suits.

It may get very dangerous out there soon. The lawyers are always looking for other areas to make a buck in. Watch out for billboards that say “Have you bought a home in the last ten years. Did your home inspector miss something. Call Don Foundation - the screw your home inspector lawyer”.

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Nathan, do you have any, or access to, statistics regarding lawsuits/E&O claims against home inspectors? If you do and are willing to share it would be greatly appreciated.

Better review your SOP’s, we are not technically responsible for many issues related to “installation”, lack of permits/code etc although most of us do provide the client with much more than the minimum except the ones that actually work for the agents.

From what I have heard, there are lots of lawsuits and they have all been directed towards the inspectors that do even less than minimum inspections with quick reports. They typically have employess and/or do a high volume of low quality quick walk through type inspections that are based on simple observations as opposed to detailed, thoughful investigations of the house and its components. Some of these are even charging high fees to cover themselves when they often have to hand over money to clients in order to keep the licensing agency from finding out what a poor job they do.

The best thing that they could do for the good inspectors is to require any inspector who refunds money or pays to have missed items repaired, report these payments to the state and post them visibly on their website so the public will really know what is going on. If this was done, there would be less inspectors and the quality of inspections as an average would increase dramatically, at least around here.


Actually we are. Here are a few examples:

AC condenser unit not strapped down.

Water pipes not properly secured to the home when they run along the wall

Improper water heater relief lines.

Hot and cold faucet handles reversed.

Pool enclosures / fences that do not self close or the lock is not high enough.

I could go on and on, but I think you get the point.

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Good info.

Thanks Nathan.

These stats seem a little high to me.

If on average an inspector performed 150 inspections a year:

1:2000 = one claim for every 13 inspectors

1:1000 = one claim for every 6.5 inspectors

Those numbers equate to 255 law suits per year based on 3400 inspectors doing 150 inspections per year. We have double that amount of licensed inspectors just in the state of Florida. Now half of them probably are not doing any business. Some are doing a lot more than 150 inspections per year. It only takes one law suit to put most companies out of business, depending on what kind of insurance they have. Most companies in Florida do not carry E&O. Based on those numbers each inspector can expect a call about once every three to four years. Once the lawyers get into the mix, it will get even worse.

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Not down here! It is a catch-all when something breaks in the home…either the inspector or the insurance company will pay…

That’s the statistic I would like to see. Ones that exceed the deductible compared to ones that do not.

And how many total claims in general that exceed the deductible.

Unless you have worked as a code inspector, your only venting frustration. Yes, there are a few bad code inspectors, but in the larger municpalities, houses are bungalos. Try taking a hospital, 30 story high rise, high school, etc… from the ground up. HI’s have many bad inpectors, but let’s not knock the industry because of a few.

98% of all the code inspectors I know try to do a good job. The other 2% are power hungry jerks.

I think its the other way around…98% are typical municipal employees and the 2% do it right.

I wish we could tape these inspectors doing their “final” walks. I have seen MANY of them and I would say 2% of them do it right. I mean take the time to check ALL aspects of their areas. I see many have 2 or 3 things they look for and thats about it.

It would take me (a home inspector) about 1 hour to check the “electrical” system. Which would include, mains, panels, ALL outlets and the wiring within the attic area. When was the last time you saw an inspector spend more than 10 minutes on a job?

  •  ...When he locked his keys in his car!  He he! :D*