Rodent infestation

This is outside of our standards of practice. I performed an inspection more than 30 days ago. The clients have moved in and said there is a mouse infestation and roaches. I found plumbing leaks, electrical issues, insulation problems and even horizontal cracks in the crawlspace, all of which were fixed by the seller before closing.
I saw no evidence or mouse droppings or roaches when I did the inspection and the seller was vacuuming when I showed up to perform the inspection. The house is in show quality at the time of the inspection, lived in and otherwise. Who knows when these things can move in, especially when someone is moving out.
All things considered I gave 2/3 of my inspection fee to the realtor to help cover the cost of the exterminator who is likely dragging me for something that can be subjective based on time and lived-in home conditions. That is also outside of the standards of practice.
This is a rant as much as a question. Is there any further damage control that I can do? With such a considerable time lapse how can one stand on the standards of practice, still support the client and realtor without getting dragged?

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I would have never done that. It’s a lot like admitting you were wrong.
What does your SOP say?
Here is part of the NACHI SOP…
2.2. Exclusions:

I. The inspector is not required to determine:

  1. property boundary lines or encroachments.
  2. the condition of any component or system that is not readily accessible.
  3. the service life expectancy of any component or system.
  4. the size, capacity, BTU, performance or efficiency of any component or system.
  5. the cause or reason of any condition.
  6. the cause for the need of correction, repair or replacement of any system or component.
  7. future conditions.
  8. compliance with codes or regulations.
  9. the presence of evidence of rodents, birds, bats, animals, insects, or other pests.
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I will admit that it was a knee jerk reaction to maintain the relationship with the realtor. I have a printed copy of the report with detailed pictures in the crawlspace and under the sink with no droppings. The exterminator now says there are.
SOP says in exclusions Letter I.: The inspector is not required to determine the presence of evidence of rodents, birds, bats, animals, insects or other pests.

I would just point them to the SOP…Did you provide them a copy?
Is it posted on you website?

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I send it out with every inspection report. I will point the realtor to it when I address him later. He gave me a lot of inspections last year and I want to maintain a good working relationship. It sounds silly, but I’m in this a 1.5 years and I need to build a strong network and keep my best referral sources happy.

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Never cave in when you know you are correct.

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You’re right Roy. First time it’s happened. Likely the last.

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Stick to your guns, Shawn! You’ll learn how to Kindly say no and if need be say no another way…it takes time but you’ll get there. :smile:

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Why? Did the agent pay you for the inspection?
Did you get a signed release?

FWIW, mice and roaches can come & go any time. If they weren’t there, then they weren’t there.

I have a rental property that was treated for termites with Termidor and sprayed for bugs by a licensed pest control company when it was vacant before the tenant moved in. Believe me, there were NO bugs in that house.
Well, I get a call about a month after the tenant moves in saying it had a roach infestation and I needed to take care of it. They were all his roaches that he brought with him!
I did have it sprayed and charged him for it. I won’t go into what that house looked like after he was out!

In my opinion it’s a mistake not to comment on evidence of rodent activity. I make it a policy to comment on an evident rodent problem. Rodents carry disease and can destroy electrical wires and Plumbing distribution systems.
You may have not seen any evidence. But offering a refund will not begin to cover the real damage that these clients can begin to claim. I truly hope that you can dodge this bullit.

Roden infestation?? Do you mean Rodan?
image

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Did you do a pest inspection? Did you have a inspection agreement signed with a clause in your inspection agreement that states the inspection does not include pest ? If you do then then why are you refunding your inspection fee? When you refunded part of your inspection fee did you have the client sign a release from any further potential allegations or law suits? You may have refunded money to pay for pest control, but your still on the hook for any further problems you may incur if you do not have a signed release.

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You will not be business for much longer if you don’t stand behind your standards of practice and your home inspection agreement. You want business then stand behind your reports and your standard of practice. Do you think the realtor cares if you get sued or go out of business.

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Me neither Roy, I would never give the listing agent anything except a smile. Kill em with kindness, And cash your check. Move on.

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Thanks for all of the feedback. There was no evidence at the time of the inspection and the SOP is the guide. I do have a good agreement and send the SOP with each report. I asked the agent how I could make it right, without having made it wrong. If it’s a mistake I stand up and own it. But next time, if it’s outside the box, I just let the SOP stand up to it.

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Tough situation to be in Shawn. Being sympathetic is important, noting the SOP and pointing out the pictures with no droppings, etc. were all good responses. Keep this incident in mind for the future, as it will likely not be the last time someone wants you to pay for their problems. Seems like you are on the right track.

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Shawn; this is a challenging situation because I know you want to maintain relationships, and in some jurisdictions the realtors and the board controls the market. However, if you signed the agreement and the clients signed the agreement. Then, both parties should abide by this agreement.

I know that it is in hind sight, but just ask them not to ask you to violate an agreement. By asking you to pay for something not agreed upon. Then, they are in essence asking you to violate an agreement you made with them. So, you violate the agreement to yourself and to the client. Tell them the company has a no tolerance for employee violations of this policy, and like somebody said :).

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I have been in similar situations (garage door fell off track during testing, apparently missed a cracked window). In both situations I could point to the SOP and say “Sorry”. Philosophically, I am in agreement with those who maintain that when you are right, you don’t budge. After all, why even have a signed agreement if the parties don’t abide by it?

It has been wisely said “You can be right, or you can have a relationship”. For better or worse, our relationships with those who refer clients to us (Realtors or otherwise) is crucial to our ongoing success. Fairly or unfairly, the expectation on the part of the general public is that a general home inspection will ensure that there are no flaws in the property, with the client casting themselves as sole arbiter of what the inspector “should have caught”, which is usually “everything”.

In both of the instances I mentioned, I took money out of my pocket to help smooth things over. Both times the agent expressed their appreciation for my integrity and willingness to help. The value of these actions far outweighed the cost, and I don’t regret doing it.

Early on in my career, a client claimed I “missed” a leaking water heater, even though photos that were in the report showed no evidence of leaking or any other deficiency. Not having been given the opportunity to examine the unit before he replaced it, and given the fact that he did not even read the report, I told him I did not feel under any obligation to pay for the replacement of his water heater.

Naturally, he trashed me on my HomeAdvisor reviews, and HomeAdvisor would not remove the review because he made no “factual statements”. With the help of my wife, who is a customer service professional, I crafted a response that not only mitigated the damage, but won over potential clients who appreciated the way I handled it, so I was able to make lemonade, as it were.

Overall point being, sometimes you have to give even when you know you are right, and you are the only person who can judge when that is.

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No way, no how! A home inspection is a snapshot in time. If there were no dropping’s or roaches when you were there then there’s no way for you to report on them. Not to be impolite but sounds to me like you got bounced for your fee.