State Control of HI Industry - Good or Bad?

Well, interestingly enough, many authors of bills seem to be saying that the industry could and should regulate itself by proposing regulatory boards consisting of HIs. Kind of seems a bit redundant, does it not? If HIs could regulate HIs, then why the law? But then…through these boards…those with the agenda are able to further it by ignoring or re-interpreting the language that you were so careful to see included.

I’ll use New York as the most recent example where no one ever expected or intended for their new licensing bill to legally prohibit them from inspecting their own home, or the home of a son or daughter. But it did and now they are stuck with it.

New Jersey’s original language was so restrictive that, in one year, they only licensed…what?, two inspectors? They had to scrap the whole thing and redo it.

In Arizona, where the education vendors you mentioned are flooding the market with “licensed” inspectors, they are lowballing each other mercilessly…so now the ASHI inspectors are teaming with local media to perform “sting” operations to show how “just being licensed is not good enough”. It’s crazy.

The market…the people who pay for the service…will take their money to the inspector they can trust. In this regard, the industry will be regulated by someone even more competent than the HIs, themselves…the industry will be regulated by the consumer and his dollar. License or no license, bad inspectors will not stay in business long. That is all the regulation necessary and, frankly, the most effective of anything that can be proposed or imposed IMO.


My response was the James proposal of the HI Industry regulating itself, I not in favor of the “State” controlling much of anything, or of any organization controlling me or my business, but when the Regulation is on its way it makes sense to me to influence the regulation to benefit us as best we can if we can’t stop it.

I can argue with the Politcians that this is a Bad Bill, but how do I argue that we shouldn’t be regulated?

It’s easy to argue for no regulation. Ask them for the facts and reasons for regulation. We are easy targets because we are often agreeable to legislation that “we can live with”.

Meet with your local state rep. It starts with one phone call, or one letter, and goes from there.

It is much easier to alter a regulatory law than to pass a new one.

We fought one off here a couple of years ago by having many, many inspectors write and call the governor. He vetoed the bill.

The government always wants to regulate, that is what the government does. We don’t need to be part and parcel to their preference though.

Fight it till you can fight it no longer.

If HI’s could Regulate HIs, then Why the Law? To give authority to the Regulatary boards, without the Law, there would be no authority for the Board and no Regulation.

Blaine asked why the Industry needs regualation at all, the KIRO story is one example, what protection does the consumer have against fraudulant HI’s who may or may not have Insurance or assets to cover the costs incurred by the consumer because of the HI’s fraudualnt or incompetent report?

Here’s another example, not HI but Real Estate, here in Idaho they only recently required General Contractors to be registered and to have a Bond, until then all you needed to be a GC was a Plaid Shirt, a Pickup, and a ladder rack. Being a fast growing area, with no regulation, we attracted some real scum, many people who had paid deposits, gotten loans, etc were left with partially completed homes or homes not built to their specifications, by “builders” who ran off with their money to another State, no Insurance, no Bond, often not enough money left to pursue legal action against the “builder” who probably had no assets anyway, this happened so often that Idaho finally began minimal Regulation of General Contractors, the Bond probably won’t cover the consumers loss, but the insurance companies will go after the Contractor.

The similarity is that in the HI Profession we have many frauds, incompetents, scumbags and Inspectors who do not follow minimal regualtions and liciensing requirements, who make us all look bad and because of them we will end up regulated by the States

Being out West where Home Inspections are fairly new we have a chance to look at all the Laws that have been passed by other States, 30 now, and hopefully we can eliminate most of the problems that have been found in other legislation, Hopefully.

The New York thing abount not inspecting your son’s or daughter’s, etc. house, I see nothing wrong with that, its called a Conflict of Interest and even if you disclose the relationship to the buyer or seller you may not have much of a defense if you end up in court.

My sister is a Realtor here and she refers buyers to me after telling them that I am her brother, I add a line to my contract that I have the client initial that says they acknowledge and accept the relationship. It may still cost one or both of us some day.


It is apparent that you favor licensing. You are under the impression that it will help your business. That is a business decision that you are certainly entitled to make, although it is not one that can be corrected when you find it to be in error.

In any event, the point that you feel that licensing is good for you - personally - does not make it either “inevitable”, right or in the best interests of the consumer or the industry.

When it comes down to it, I feel that licensing would be good IF the ethical guidlines were strict and the standars HIGH.

Seeing how we’ve all found ourselves living in a litigation society where one can justify his or her stupidity in the legal system, it’s unlikely the standards would represent anything close to the NACHI community’s level of expertise (as I’m quite impressed with the standards NACHI sets for itself). Make the licensing tests too hard, and litigation ensues. In America we’re slowly reaching the point where it’s “discrimination” to state that somebody doesn’t have the intellect to perform a job even if the statement is based upon objective measures.
Thanks to the power we’ve given our lawyers it’s unlikely a difficult licensing exam in any state would last very long. And when they have dumbed it down to let everyone in, we’ll then make one in spanish, and then make different versions for different geographical and racial segments of the population. If the people aren’t passing, something must be wrong with the test, right?

Because of this I feel licensing isn’t in the HI community’s best interest. If groups such as NACHI could flex enough mussle in the political arena to dictate test formats and standards, it’s most certainly worth another look. Once the profession is licensed, it only makes home inspections an implied requirement for selling and buying a home. Undoubtedly this can only help us all out.

I’ve already asked them for the “facts and reasons”, Protection of the Consumer, Insurance, Bonding, and Minimal Requirements to become a Home Inspector and standards for what and how we inspect, that’s been their answer, then they ask the same questions I’ve been asking why should everyone else in the Real Estate Industry be regulated and Home Inspectors not.

Its easier to alter a law before its passed at all than to alter it after it has been passed, that’s what many of us are trying to do. We stopped it last Spring, but I don’t know if we will be able to this coming year. You said you fought off regulation a couple of years ago, but you have it in one or two counties now don’t you?


My county has been licensed since I moved here. It stinks. Has done nothing to help the consumer either.

As I stated before, we have inspectors who don’t go in attics, don’t call out FPE panels, etc.

How does licensing protect the consumer? We all know that 80 class hours and a test, plus a background check and whatever other feel good items they want to throw in does not make a competent home inspector. We also know that seasoned inspectors make mistakes, licensed or not.

We also know that mentoring is a farce. I’m not exactly in the mood to train my competitor who lives two blocks over.

Bonding? I guess I would ask how many inspectors are brought up on theft charges of personal items, or whatever. GL should cover damage, and most occ licenses require GL.

Yes, it is easy to alter a bill before it goes before the legislature, but that is where the true alteration takes place. Legislators know bills and home inspectors know home inspections. Bills that go in often come out completely different than what they began as, with or without a home inspector groups blessing.

As a licensed inspector, I will again state, licensing does nothing but raise fees.

James asked:

Who said the government would grant those organization the right to self govern? Most licenced professions in Ontario are managed by appointing outside non members to the oversight boards. That takes the power and the ability to manipulate the processes out of the hands of self interest and those with conflicts. Self regulation will never do that.

I’m already forced into licensing in Washington State James, the trouble is it’s licensing by the Department of Agriculture as a Structural Pest Inspector. I’m not in favor of HI licensing or regulation, morr because I don’t like regualtion than I think it will either benefit or hurt my business. I learned in 22 years in the Army to always have a Plan “B”, or C, D, E…Plan A is to stop the proposed legislation, which after talking to different people and members of State Senators Staffs the past couple of weeks is looking more and more difficult, Plan “B” is to alter the legislation as much to our benefit as possible if it can’t be stopped. I had a couple go rounds with them last spring before the Bill was stopped, now after the KIRO Report it is looking to be harder this time around.

Several HI’s have been talking with WSDA about changing or compromising on the Present Law, I thought I was “original” in one argument, but several other Inspectors have had the same idea, talking with the WSDA I proposed that the present Law be changed to where Home INspectors would still be required to pass the WSDA SPI Test and to be “Registered”, but not be required to do the Complete WDO Inspection, instead they would be required by Law to refer any conditions or conducive conitions to a licensed Pest Control Company. if that would eliminate my WDO portion of my E&O then it would benefit me, Dr. Soumi said that he could actually consider that as several of us have brought it up, I’ve also asked WSDA to consider allowing Home Inspectors to include a Waiver in our Contracts where clients could waive the WDO Inspection, if the two Inspections were kept separate it might be easier to charge for both, Soumi didn’t like that idea very much, now I’m trying both ideas on the State Senators who are involved.

Like I said, we’re already regulated in Washington, the original bill was passed 15 years ago when there were very few HI’s in the State, I live and Inspect in Idaho also, but Idaho is not very friendly to Regulation, which, other than being a 4th generation Idahoan, is why I live here, although with all the “New” people moving here it is changing for the Worse.

For the other New Inspectors in Washington, especially the ones who are doing business without the SPI License you should check out the fine print in the Old Bill, the part about Grandfathiering, 250 Inpsections are required, or, down in the fine print:

NEW SECTION. Sec. 4. (1) Applications for certification of
34 registration under this section made on or before January 1, 2008, will
35 be approved without meeting the requirements of section 5 of this act,
SB 6229 p. 2
1 if the applicant has performed more than two hundred fifty inspections
2 prior to December 31, 2007, and on or before January 1, 2008, has
3 passed the national home inspector exam.
4 (2) This chapter does not apply to:
5 (a) Architects licensed under chapter 18.08 or 18.96 RCW;
6 (b) Engineers licensed under chapter 18.43 RCW;
7 © Plumbing contractors or journeyman plumbers licensed under
8 chapter 18.106 RCW;
9 (d) Contractors who are contracting for work on his or her own
10 residence;
11 (e) Real estate appraisers certified under chapter 18.140 RCW;
12 (f) Real estate brokers and salespersons licensed under chapter
13 18.85 RCW;
**14 (g) Structural pest inspectors licensed under chapter 15.58 RCW;

**Pretty stupid isn’t it, waiving the required number of inspections and the NHIE or equivilant for a SPI License that you can get with a few hours of study , a simple test, and a $45 fee

Mentoring is not necessary, Peer Evaluation should be, Bonding there are more than one type of Bond, a surety Bond or Performance Bond would give some protection to the consumer. As far as protecting the Consumer, not to put down Independent Inspectore, but there are many Independents out there, and many Association Members who either have no SOP or do not follow an SOP, the State could establish one and fine and or suspend the license of violators.

How is licensing going to raise Fees? The Market will bear what the market will bear, I raise mine every time I think I can get away with it, licensing has nothing to do with what I charge.

Looking a Charlotte County requirements it seems that the only requirement is to have passed the NHIE or be in one of the approved trades or fields, where is their SOP or any other regulation?

Ray, my dear naive friend…

Where do your “outside non-members” come from? Who is it, now, trying to dictate to you? What will you do when these men have the backing of your government behind them?

This truth was also discovered and published by one of ASHI’s national lobbyist’s Janet Swandby.

Stir everyone up, I am a big proponent of injecting mass chaos into the system, muddying the waters goes a long way in helping to stall legislation, this is truly an area where anarchy seems to work.


The trouble here in Washington is that Last Years Bill was not killed, it was sent to the Sunrise Committee for Review, where usually a lot of Bills die, recent Media Coverage of Home Inspectors has lit a bee in some State Senators Bonnets and they are very likely to introduce the same Legislation “after Review by the Sunrise Committee” during the next Legislative Session. We may be getting a Law that has been written FOR us, we supposedly have a NACHI State Rep on the Advisory Board, but we hear nothing from him, it’s hard to organize chaos when there is no communication.

I assure you, there is no one from NACHI representing NACHI members on this board. There may very well be a member of NACHI (who, possibly, could hold membership in other associations as well) on this board, but there is nothing compelling him to observe your interests or report to you. Local issues is not a NACHI National project.

In Washington there is an Advisory Group made up of HI’s from various organizations and members of WSDA who have been working on new Legislation for the past year, one of the Members declared himself the NACHI State Rep for the Advisory Board, I’ve asked who appointed him yet not even Nick has answered, Nick did get involved with the earlier attempt at licensing this year, too late but he did write letters to the right people.

Nachi is not just National, it does have local chapters and local issues:

November 30, 2006

Re: The Washington Home Inspectors Legislative Advisory Group

Dear Fellow Inspector:

Last January, a group of home inspectors met to form a coalition. In general, this gathering was the culmination of an ongoing effort to bring together Washington State home inspectors who represent various national and state associations. Specifically, the group met in response to a Washington State inspector licensing bill (SB6229), sponsored earlier this year. The group believes that the bill is not supported by, nor is it representative of, the home inspection profession.

The Washington Home Inspectors Legislative Advisory Group is made up of Washington State professional home inspectors and/or owners and officers of home inspection businesses. Members are variously affiliated with:
¨The American Home Inspector Association (AHIA)
¨The American Institute of Inspectors (AII)
¨American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI)
¨National Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI)
¨National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI)
¨National Association of Building Inspections Engineers (NABIE)
¨Washington State Pest Control Association (WSPCA)
¨Washington State Home Inspection Association (WSHIA)
¨Independent professional home inspectors
¨Owners and operators of home inspection franchises

Some of the members of the group are in favor of licensing; others are not. However, all agree that licensing, in some form, is inevitable. Rather than wait for others, unrelated to the home inspection profession, to determine how and when we should be licensed, this group has set about the task of developing a home inspector licensing proposal. It is our goal to create a proposal that is consumer protection oriented, and also reflects the knowledge and experience of those of us who work in the profession. We are planning to complete the proposal by the 2008 legislative session.

We are interested in your input. Each of us is contacting his or her local chapters and/or national associations in an effort to solicit feedback and opinions about any aspect of licensing. We want to hear what you think about training, continuing education, experience, testing, governing agencies, licensing fees, and any other issues you deem important.


Members of the group can be reached via the Editor of The Inspector’s Journal. Just send an email to ********** specifying which member your correspondence is meant for, and it will be forwarded immediately to the designee. You can be assured that we will review and consider any information you direct to our attention and will do our best to keep you advised of our progress through emails, your respective organizations, if applicable, or via The Inspector’s Journal.

Sandy Hartman
Advisory Group Secretary

Nachi Reps have been contacted, no reply, and no progress reports either on this Board or the Inspector’s Journal from any source, a good example of self regulation.

I am going to try to attend the meeting in January, if our Nachi Rep doesn’t like it, then I’ll be there as an Independent. Without information on what the Board is attempting many other interested Inspectors may unknowingly end up working against the Board. Either Nick appointed our Rep or he Appointed himself, that’s the way I heard it, either way Nachi Members of Washington State should be kept informed about things being done in our name, if not then what do we need NACHI for?

It looks like you have already been introduced to the integrity of the political process of formulating home inspection legislation.:wink: Be wary of anything else you are asked to swallow during this process.

These people who are disguising themselves to your state legislators as “representatives” of you and the industry are there to push their agenda. That’s what it’s all about. Your legislators actually believe that this is true and have no way of knowing otherwise without hearing some very loud noise to the contrary.

Those who want this bill, as you have already pointed out, have a great deal of money to gain and they are very organized in their effort.

NACHI National will not lead your fight. Form your own group, make a plan, then inform Nick exactly how you would like for him to support you - and he will do it.

You need to start right away letting your legislature know that this “advisory board” represents only themselves (and possibly your ASHI chapter) and NOT you and the remaining inspectors. Start there. If you don’t…or if you try to work through this group and add to their credibility by doing so…you will be spoonfed their bill. You have no representation on this board.

I’ve already told the Senators involved that the Advisory Group doesn’t represent me or as far as I can tell, any other Inspector in the State, if they did they would be keeping us informed. I’ve also been talking with the WSDA and WSPCA about their views on licensing and sounding them out on different ideas I would like to see and listening to what they have to say…its the old know your enemy thing.

Part of our trouble in Washington is that it is really two State, the East and the West, with the West having all the population, and the vast majority of Home Inspectors. In Eastern Washington, there are only 20 or so NACHI Members and I only take seriously about 4 of those, the ones who have the required SPI License, I have been doing some digging and I post most of what I find out here for the other Washington NACHI Inspectors, whether they agree or not.

The Advisory Board has contacted the two Senators who sponsored the last Bill, right after the KIRO Report, and members of WSDA and WSPCA have said that they have heard that the Legislation will make another appearance during the next legislative session. So far I haven’t contacted any Senators from the East Side, once the Bill is presented again I will, I don’t want to give them time to jump on the Licensing Wagon with the other Senators who support it.

If someone comes up with a half way decent Bill, especially one that addresses the SPI Issue, I don’t know how much support there will be for defeating it, the big support for defeating it earlier this year came from the conststant mention of ASHI in the Bill and the influence of the Education Vendors, many of the Inspectors I talked to both in the East and in the Seattle area are not seriously opposed to a Bill being passed especially if some of the issues are addressed. I can live with it which ever way it goes, I don’t believe it will actually have much effect on most of us, if its too bad, then I can just cut my business back to Idaho only, I’m just getting established in both States anyway. Its not worth getting t5o excited over right now anyway, no one knows what, if anything is coming, if not this year it will come next year though, politcians can’t stand seeing someone they don’t control.

Lewis, you have mail