One of the fastest growing sectors in the housing market is home/property inspectors (HPI). The HPI mainly inspects existing homes and commercial buildings. The home/property inspection sector includes sole-operators, firms, and franchised businesses. In addition, consulting engineers, architecture firms, and testing companies are engaged in specialized technical inspection on commercial buildings (e.g., high-rise buildings, shopping malls).
The majority of HPI work on residential inspections. The HPI typically provide services related to potential home and property purchasers, existing home and property owners, financial institutions, and real estate agents. The home/property inspectors are becoming an integral part of the consumer’s decision to purchase a home. It is important that consumers are making their decisions on qualified people. Unfortunately some consumers fall victims of an inspector that is not properly qualified or may not be a member of a provincial home inspection association. Many home inspection associations in Canada have already created and set the standards of practice, which include ethics and discipline of its members.
Even with the move towards national certification which is voluntary, there is still concern that the lack of a mandatory requirement will result in home/property inspectors operating without the minimum standard requirements. Thus, consumers may still be susceptible to these operators resulting in substandard inspections.
Also, the home inspection is the only segment of the home purchase that is not regulated by any provincial or federal laws. For example in Ontario there is:
Real estate agents
(Real Estate and Broker’s Act)
(Loans Brokers Act
(Business Practices Act
Sales of Goods Act
This leads to the larger question on whether this sector should consider to be regulated under provincial legislation. If not, can a self management or self regulatory model suffice?