New York Home Inspections & COVID-19

As of March 28, 2020.
New York home inspectors can request a designation as an essential business in New York.

InterNACHI® Certified Home Inspector obtained a designation as an essential business in New York. Thank you for sharing, InterNACHI® member Kevin Moore from HomeChex in Lancaster, NY.

Take InterNACHI’s free, online COVID-19 Safety Guidelines for Home Inspectors and Contractors Course.


That is non essential and this pandemic should not be taken lightly.
Look at all the new cases and deaths today in the States.
It is getting out of hand and people should stay home.

1 Like

When they close the ice cream stores, dollar stores, home depots and such ill consider it. I was exposed more at HD yesterday just walking through the paint section with 50 people standing there then i would be in a months worth of inspections


I had to cancel on a guy today. Sent him your direction FYI. I agree on the HD reference. I went to OP Lowes yesterday and have never seen it that busy.

1 Like

Thanks Mike, hopefully your waiver will come through shortly!

Yes we could… but should we? With all due respect but how can we explain that doing home inspections is somehow fighting COVID-19? The NYS AHI president got a clear response in writing that home inspections are not considered an essential service. []
They are also addressing this question in this last email (see below) that we got a few days ago and it makes a lot of sense to me to stay home, stay safe and stay alive. Even if we loose a month’s worth of income or so. Also the realtors are not supposed to work as well.

" 3/30/20 update regarding COVID-19


Over the past 10 days I have heard from home inspectors, brokers, real estate agents, and real estate organizations. It has been wonderful to talk with everyone. I have been thanked, cursed, told I am selling out the industry, I am not doing enough to keep home inspectors from working, not doing enough to allow home inspectors to work, and been asked for clarification.
These are interesting times. None of us has lived through a global pandemic before. My hope is that we all live through this one.
The issue that is central to all the phone calls is that Empire State Development has granted waivers to some home inspectors and they are out and about inspecting homes. “Why them and not all of us??” “Hey, how come they can work and not me???” “What is wrong with the folks at ESD???”
Well, here it is. The folks at ESD are busy as little beavers dealing with far more than just home inspectors. You know those garment companies that are now making PPE? They needed waivers to do that. You know those manufacturing companies that are now making PPE or ventilators, they needed waivers.
ESD does not have time to investigate every request and they are going to, at this point, take people at their word that what they are doing is to deal with COVID -19.
You see, in order to request a waiver, you need to certify the follow affidavit :
I hereby certify that I have reviewed the guidance issued by the New York State Department of Economic Development d/b/a Empire State Development and I have determined that my business is NOT an essential business or function as stated therein but I am requesting that my business be designated essential because it is in the best interests of New York State to have my business’s workforce continue at full capacity in order to properly respond to the COVID-19 emergency.
(Bold added for emphasis)
If you can in good conscience explain how your doing home inspections is somehow fighting COVID-19 you too can have a waiver.
We are at a point where if we are all really good citizens and stay at home and limit social interaction, we may be able to hold the death count to 100,000 - 200,000 US citizens. That is now the best-case scenario. Never before and hopefully never again will doing the right thing be to sit down and get paid to not work. I know it goes against our work ethic. It just feels wrong. Well, sometimes we must do things we don’t want to do for the greater good.
So, what about the people that got waivers? Time will tell. First of all, there shouldn’t be any more work out there because realtors are not supposed to be working . Will they in the long run lose business because they are seen as poor citizens? Will their insurance not cover them because they weren’t supposed to be working? Will the state go back and audit the businesses with waivers to see if they really were helping with COVID-19 rather than their bottom line? We don’t know.
What we do know is that if you really care about your community you will stop inspecting houses , vacant or occupied, even with PPE’s, even if you took a course, even this is supposed to be the busy season…
Just Stop!!!
If you are looking for something productive to do, take a look at the NYS SOP and Code of Ethics and make any changing you want to see and send them to me. It has been a long time since they have been updated and once this situation in the world is resolved, we will be working on the SOP.
We are all in this together- 6 feet apart
Annie-Laurie Hunter
NYSAHI president
315-481-4237 "

NYASHI has nothing in writing and it is their opinion. ESD makes the final decision. Saying that they are just taking people at their word is ludicrous. You have to download a pdf and send it to them. They should stop spreading false information.When your business was not listed specifically, The wording right from their site.“If the function of your business is not listed above, but you believe that it is essential or it is an entity providing essential services or functions, you may request designation as an essential business”.

1 Like

We are very essential for a real estate transaction as we look for health and safety issues. Stop all transactions then we are not essential.Someone purchasing a home should have the right to an inspection.To be honest if you don’t agree with that then you shouldn’t be an inspector.

1 Like

Yes Kevin, I totally agree with you that our service is very important for the real estate transactions and hope that makes me eligible to be a home inspector, lol. As far as I know the home inspections are not mandatory in NY State yet and I think they should be under normal conditions. But that does not give us the right to go against the social distancing and temporary closure rules set by our NYS Governor and the US President and possibly or unknowingly spread the virus or become sick ourselves.
The continuous virus updates on the TV stress the paramount importance of staying home in order to save innocent lives. Also the real estate agents are not considered essential and should not be working at this time either.
PS: It looks like they have that in writing, as it was stated in their previous email (see below).

" New York State Association of Home Inspectors (NYSAHI)
Presidents Letter March 2020
An Update from us on COVID-19
Shut it Down!!!
We have just received guidance in writing from Whitney Clark, Deputy Secretary of State for Business Development that Home Inspections are not an essential Service.
As we go forward, we will continue to update you as to resources for self employed people as well as when we can resume working. In the mean time, please stay home, wash you hands, and if you do venture into the world for necessities practice social distancing.
Stopping the spread of this pandemic is everyone’s job now . I know it is hard to not work especially when it means there isn’t money coming in, but we need to do our part ensure that the most people possible survive this virus.
When in your life have your been asked to save the world by sitting on your butt???
Together, we can do this.
Be well, wash your hands, and pull out the list of tasks to do around the house and go wash your hands again.
Annie-Laurie Hunter
NYSAHI President "

No they just keep saying that they do,post it then.(which would still mean nothing as ESD is who is in charge of guidance whether a business is essential or not)They are even sending fake emails to inspectors now. Some inspectors have waivers so we are following the rules and not going against anything.

I am 100% with Kevin on this. I do not answer in any way or care in the least what NYSAHI has to say about anything. My guidance is taken directly from the state and not from an interpretation of the law by the President of an association I don’t belong to or care about.

ESD is the only place that information should be coming from. No reason that they would be issuing quite specific letters of exemption if they didn’t want the work to continue. Just look at the letter Kevin received, it was not generic and absolutely showed a good review and understanding of his business function.


Well said Michael and I totally agree!

I applied for essential business statice in my province and was refused. I should have taken note of the state oder before I applied. *Note the wording, ‘Supports essential services.’
I had 3 emergency inspections calls last week alone. That’s why I was reopening my on site home inspection business at the end of March and hung my COVID-19 CERT in advertising after taking a self imposed isolation period. I canceled many inspection while refusing many others for a period of around >< 14 days. Last year I turn $10,000 in review in March.

Should everyone be doing this?
I feel this way about that. Only in emergency situations. Only if they have the proper training and PPE.

Too that business owner. Be safe out there. Your health and others can be drastically affected. In my eyes your are truly professional caring soul. Keep safe please.

Anyone know how long it takes to get a response from ESD after you request approval?

The designation of an essential business is not about being essential for real estate transactions or for our own well being but by doing our part of sacrifice in order to prevent the spread of the virus (even if that cost us money) since it can save innocent lives, that could also be our families or friends. The person applying has to certify (as far as I understand) that by performing his service “it is in the best interests of New York State to have my business’s workforce continue … in order to properly respond to the COVID-19 emergency.”
Is that okay with our conscience to agree that by inspecting houses we help to lower the virus impact and not the other way (even without realizing it), or maybe unknowingly bringing it home to our families? I am not a member of NYS AHI either but they are our only local association here in NY State and I am grateful that they keep us informed with the local updates and fighting for our rights at the NYS government level, just as Inter NACHI does on the national and international scale.
We are in this fight against the virus together and I would not go out anywhere that could put my life in danger or endanger my family, even if the stay home rule was not required. We should all be fighting the virus spread with everything we can. I do my best to respect the rules even if it’s not easy and everyone should make their own conscious choice.

“Tommy” Decebal Adamescu, ACI, CMI, CPI,
Board Certified Master Home Inspector,
ASHI, NAHI & InterNACHI Certified Member,
Termite inspector, Infrared thermographer,
Energy assessor - Long Island/Queens/NYC,
516-851-5833 -

So the ice cream store that is open is fighting the virus how? The construction site that can have one employee work is fighting the virus how? The home depot that has 100 people next to each other is fighting the virus how? Please

I’ve always said everything needs to be shut down for 30 days but until they do all they are doing is taking away people’s income. Loved all the people shoulder to shoulder watching that ship come into ny harbor. Really working well

Well guess what everyone. This is all a moot point. I need to go do my own research and find the text of the EO and how it changed but here is an email I just received from NYSAR:



Today the Empire State Development agency clarified that residential and commercial showings along with back office real estate work, appraisal services and home inspections are essential real estate functions effective immediately. The official notice reads as follows.

Essential Businesses must continue to comply with the guidance and directives for maintaining a clean and safe work environment issued by the Department of Health and every business, even if essential, is strongly urged to maintain social distance to the extent possible.

The following functions of real estate and/or realtors (sic) are considered essential: residential home and commercial office showings; home inspections; and residential appraisers . (emphasis added)

Back-office real estate work is deemed essential, but please utilize telecommuting or work from home procedures to the maximum extent possible.

This designation is a recognition by the state that real estate licensees, real estate home inspectors and real estate appraisers provide a critical service to New York, which is vital to the wellbeing not only of New Yorkers but also for New York’s local and state economy. However, as you prepare to conduct those services for your clients that have been deemed essential, NYSAR reminds all its members that they must fully comply with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s “New York State on PAUSE” directive, which says that “ essential businesses must continue to comply with the guidance and directives for maintaining a clean and safe work environment issued by the Department of Health and every business, even if essential, is strongly urged to maintain social distance to the extent possible.”

“Our industry has been given a great responsibility in this time of crisis to help meet the needs of New York’s residential and commercial property buyers and owners, and the overall welfare of the local and state economy,” said NYSAR President Jennifer Stevenson. “But our priority must be to the safety of our customers, clients and indeed for ourselves, as we all continue to practice socially responsible distancing that is helping to flatten the curve during this national health crisis. Our mantra must be ‘safety first, work second.”

While our industry is one that relies on personal contact to best serve our clients, during this crisis, we will all need to adjust our approach. For example, you must limit person to person contact and observe the six-foot separation guidance.

NYSAR is working on further guidance for how we can continue to serve our communities while adhering to these critical important health directives. For information on best practices and complying with the essential activities outlined by ESD, please visit the NYSAR COVID-19 FAQ’s HERE.

Helpful information from the National Association of REALTORS® can also be found at this link.


Bullshit. They backed down and told us to all go home and not work when the EO said the specific opposite of that. The Governor specifically mentioned realtors in his speech and their lobbying arm beat on ESD’s door and got that exempted. NYSAHI is nothing more than garbage to me after this.

1 Like

And lastly,
I received this today as well:

Dear Business Owner:

Thank you for seeking designation as an “essential business” pursuant to the revised New York State Executive Order 202.6 with respect to your business function of home inspector. Based on the information you have provided, that business function is an essential business and/or supports an essential business and is not subject to the required 100% workforce reduction pursuant to the revised Executive Order 202.6. However, your business has been designated as essential solely with respect to those employees that must be present at the business location in support of essential business activities. No other employees/personnel shall be permitted to work from your business’s location. Any other business activities being completed at your location that are not essential are still subject to the revised Executive Order 202.6. Please continue to comply with all other Executive Orders and recommendations from the New York State Department of Health and please consider reducing your in-person workforce to the extent practicable.