Say "NO" to Grandfathering

Having spent a couple of years watching legislation develop in the various states, I have made some interesting observations.

In New Jersey, an inspector did a poor enough job (according to one state senator) that cost a home owner $100,000 in damages — leading to (at that time) one of the toughest home inspector bills in the country. Interestingly enough, the inspector who did the bad inspection was “grandfathered” under the new bill and among the first to be licensed.

In Massachusetts, an inspector cited by the legislature as an example as to why licensing was necessary was not only “grandfathered”, but ended up sitting on the Massachusetts licensing board.

Inspectors in every state where licensing is being considered seem to determine a good bill from a bad bill…by whether or not they will be “grandfathered”. They oppose legislation that affects them…but will support it when it affects their competition.

This is why several members of NACHI and ASHI are getting together to form a National Coalition that will oppose every “grandfathering” clause in every bill proposing home inspection legislation in every state.

Why should the bad guys (like New Jersey and Massachusetts) be off the hook? If it is a good bill…a good bill should be applied equally, across the board. If it is a bad bill, it should be opposed by all home inspectors…period.


Grandfathering = Bad
Reciprocity from another licensed state = Good.

So your opinion is the state should be able to look at your business and decide that you failed to do something in the past so you can’t have a license now.

So who do I get my money back from?

No that isn’t a flippant question. I have about 15K (in direct business investment) invested to date. Not counting 1000’s of hours. In a low population market where 100 inspections a year would be high volume. Under the most recently scuttled bill I would have to suspend my business (read stop earning a living and supporting my family), take months of time and thousands of dollars to undergo an ill-defined training program. If the program was available at all, at any price. If it wasn’t I was told by the sponser of the bill I would just have to wait. She turned away when I asked how I was to pay my bills in that time. I heard later she considered the question frivilous.

Not to mention that I am a legally registered and operating Corporation for the purpose of doing home inspections in my state. The state would have been in the awkward position of taking my corparate registration fees with one hand and denying me the ability to do the work of the corporation with the other. I asked the Sec of State office and they had no plans to refund my money.

I suppose you could say that’s tough . (You wouldn’t be alone as one State Senator did exactly that) But I believe I have the right to reap the benefits of my investment in money and time that has been legally made.

I am for raising the standards of the industry. But “ex post facto” rules are only designed to get your competition out of the way. If you really want to raise the standards of the industry and benefit consumers as well then the only sensible and fair approach is to have decent continuing ed requirements as well as a board ready to discipline an inspector if they deserve it. The continuing ed increases skills while the board weeds out the incompetent. Such forward looking requirements are fair and equitable for everyone.

Because licensing laws are often promoted as a means to “protect the consumer” by “raising the bar” the subject of “grandfathering” is an appropriate one to address.

If the proponents of HI licensing laws are truly concerned with consumer protection then “grandfathering” should NOT be permitted as it flys in the face of the very argument they are putting forth.

If on the other hand “grandfathering” is part of legislation to protect the interests of current HIs then the proponents should be honest and say so.

IMHO you really can’t have both ways.:wink:

Then you must accept, sir, all that it brings.

I oppose licensing. Period. I have no confidence that the same people who brought to me Viet Nam, the public education system, and FDA approved balogna have any business trying to tell me how to do my job.

But those who do…those who favor licensing and push for legislation that will take the decisions away from the home inspector and his client and rest them with the state…these people should be required to meet the same standards that they wish to impose. Do you not agree?

The answer to preserving your investment is not to seek to be “grandfathered” but to vigorously oppose and defeat the injustice by stopping the bill from becoming law.

Exactly. If the licensing bill is a necessary thing, then “grandfathering” is obnoxiously wrong.

For instance: “Effective January 1, 2008, the law will require that convicted pedophiles will no longer be licensed as child day care attendants. Those convicted pedophiles who are already employed, however, will be allowed to continue to care for children under the “grandfathering” clause.”

If the law is right, then grandfathering is wrong. Plain and simple.

I usually disagree with Mr. Bushhart just on general principle. But in this case, as much as it pains me to admit it, he may be right.

Opposing grandfathering is not about having the state deny anyone a license. It is however, saying that just because you were doing something for X number of years, you are not exempt from the meeting the same prerequisites as a new inspector fresh off the street.

Have you looked at Tennessee’s grandfathering james?

After all licensing is the great equalizer, once licensing law are in place we are all equal in the eyes of the state and the buying public.

Licensing solves nothing, grandfathering clauses prove it.


I agree with you totaly. There should be No grandfathering, everyone should have to meet the standards. Not only will that provide better consumer protection “Or at least prove they know the basics” it’s also the the only fair way to do it.

I just cant figure out why anyone in an un-licensed state would push for licensing. Im for raising the bar, but we can control our own industry without government involvement.

Non licensed states should set up a consumer recovery fund and be required to attend a certain amount of continueing education. Licensing solves nothing. There will be good and bad inspectors licensed or not. That is how it is in every industry, people do make mistakes. A recovery fund would help protect the consumer.

Love it - great comments. I never have really favoured grandfathering. The comments are right on the mark. It too often assumes that one is qualified enough and can perform their job adequately enough to be exempted from verification or the red tape to prove themself. Who inspects the inspector? If in doubt a free pass becomes the reality of creating doubt and exhibits potential lack of credibility. Market that however you would like!

So I keep hearing. Over and over, ad naseum. And yet, I never see any proof.

Within 5 miles of me I know of one inspector who will inspect any house for $179.00 and another who doesn’t turn the key over in the truck for under $600.00. I fall somewhere in the middle.

Can’t wait for the $179 guy to charge $600 so I can too. After all, once everyone is licensed they are all equal in the eyes of the buying public right?

Hi Michael,

I’m afraid I don’t agree with you.

When the word is “grandfathering” it’s like calling the estate tax the “death tax”. It carries the connotation of some staggering old fart who can’t get out of his own way. Instead consider that what you’re really talking about is a way for legally operating businesses to continue to operate.

What I think is appropriate is that these legally operating businesses should have forward-looking requirements imposed upon them. Such as taking a national certification examination or other things that they can do moving forward to stay in business. What I absolutely oppose is imposing some “ex post facto” requirement. (For those not up when they are legalese that is a requirement that would have been done some time in the past to qualify for your license now in the future). I might also add that it is a requirement that is not generally viewed favorably by the courts. Unless there is an overwhelming public need it doesn’t seem particularly fair to tell someone they had the will done something in the past (like performing a certain number of inspections) to qualify for a license in the future.

If you want something that is truly in the interests of the consumer you impose forward-looking requirements on the home inspectors, decent continuing education requirements so that all licensed home inspectors must improve their knowledge and finally you constitute a board that will actively work to discipline home inspectors who fail to meet the published standards or to perform their inspections in accordance with the state-mandated standards of practice.

That approach means you don’t have to hand a license to anyone. You could require all home inspectors to pass a particular test or group of tests as part of proving that they have the minimum knowledge necessary for a license.

I have absolutely no problem in saying clearly that I will oppose any legislation that causes any legally operating Home Inspection business to be put out of business because of a backward looking licensing standard. Legislation like that has only one purpose (I call it the ASHI purpose) which is to “thin the herd” of competition.

Neither do I.

My position, though, is that the entire bill should be defeated.

To “grandfather” a particular group of inspectors is an unacceptable alternative to a bill so designed. Any restrictive measures that would keep others out of the profession should also eliminate those in the profession, if the reason is to “raise the bar”.

That is to say that if an inspector without “A” is not worthy of becoming licensed under a new bill, then it must also stand that an existing inspector without “A” should shut his doors and stop inflicting himself upon the public, as well. To say otherwise is equivalent to saying that “A” is unnecessary.

How is this grandfathering in any sense?
You have inadvertantly pointed out exactly the problem with new laws, it picks the winners and loosers.

I very confused. Please explain.

How about no regulation at all?

Again, how is this grandfathering?

Sir, you appear inconsistent.

AS does ALL HI regulation!

The simple fact that ones business began before another or ‘X’ date should have no bearing on the competence of the business in question. The only thing that should matter is if the business can meet the criteria the government sets as the base minimum acceptable standard, those who can should be licensed, those who can’t must do whatever is required just like any other business who is seeking a license.

The message here is if you have been keeping up with the standards of our profession all along chances are little will be required from you, if not expect to do whatever it takes to be deemed acceptable.

Remember, in regards to licensing in almost all circumstances it is your fellow home inspector who is petitioning the government on your behalf, there are very few cases where consumers are demanding home inspectors be licensed. By removing grandfather clauses from pending bills insures that those who are bringing these bills have no unfair advantage over their competition. My guess is once the legislators have been exposed to this logic and they understand that it truly levels the playing field they will adopt it wholeheartedly as it is what appears to be the fairest to their voting constituents.

I think that is the whole point of the thread…to defeat the bill.

Removing grandfathering is a strategy that would make many established home inspectors oppose the bill. It would work effectively to reduce the support for the bill.

Can you imagine if such a bill passed? No grandfathered inspectors? The opposition from the HI community would be immense.

Just like the strategy of eliminating realtor referrals to inspectors. It is a concept that would have the greatest resistance from HI’s in legislation.

James has some pretty good strategies, I have learned…but I have also learned that the discussion really has nothing to do with the the concepts as if they were to be instituted in legislation…they are just roadblocks to legislation in the first place.
…That is the whole point of thread…:smiley: …Licensing solves nothing

I agree.

And licensing proposals that are supposed to be good for the industry and good for the consumer should not exclude anyone. This exclusion, when it exists, is evidence that the bill is flawed.

What if I wrote a bill that said “Presently employed inspectors will be required to pass a written test and score a 90% in order to be licensed and future applicants need to show proof of employment for more than 5 years in a building related trade.” Who would think of even proposing something as proposterous as a more restrictive requirement for existing inspectors than future inspectors? But the reverse is okay? We think not. If a law is a good law, it can be evenly applied. If not, the law is not a good law.

We will lobby each legislature in each state in which a bill has been proposed to eliminate any proposed “grandfathering” clause. It is the right thing to do.

The problem I have with not having a grandfathering clause, is the legislations that have an education (not continuing education) requirement to become licensed; ie. 120 hour Home Inspection School. I completed a school, but is was not 120 hours, and I don’t have any intentions of stopping and going back to school for basic home inspections.

Licensing requirements will not be something just for “the other guy”.

If licensing is a good idea and the basic minimum standards one must meet to become licensed are deemed to be necessary, it is ridiculous to think that a license should be issued to anyone who does not meet these standards.

If the governor of a state determines that a law is necessary to ensure that home inspectors have a minimum of 120 hours of HI formal education to protect the citizens of his state…then that should be the law for all inspectors. Why would a governor choose to protect only some of his citizens, and not others? This is the question that will be asked to each legislator in the US considering a “grandfathering” clause.

If the law is good and the standards are, indeed, necessary…then they should apply to everyone. If the law is not good and/or the standards are not necessary, they should apply to no one.

Pretty basic.