State Control of HI Industry - Good or Bad?

Ray, I have not read all of the volumes of posts in the Canadian threads on this topic…but from those I have, it appears to me that in Canada there are a variety of organizations lobbying for government recognition of them to legitimize their power over the industry. They hope to achieve this through the legislative process. If you do not feel they are capable, now…why on Earth would they be more capable once backed by your government?

Let me see if I have this correct…

We can’t regulate ourselves in a private industry that needs no regulation, yet we also can’t show a quantitative analysis of the need for licensing.

We have to license because there are sooo many bad inspectors that we will grandfather all of the baaaaad inspectors so they can stay in business.

We will trust the government(s) to regulate our industry. The same government(s) that do soooo many things better than private industry. Sure. :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll:

I’m really looking forward to that governing board of lawyers, consumers, realtors, politicians and home inspectors. They will always decide what is in the best interests of the home inspection industry, and for me in my personal business dealings.

The heck with that!:twisted:

You can fight bad legislation, and even delay it, as was done here in Washington, but then some idiot like the HI in the KIRO News report, makes the Headlines and gets the Politcians all stirred up.

You never answered my question, how do you argue to the politcians once they have been stirred up, again, that the Home Inspection Industry should not be regulated like all the other trades involved in Real Estate.

The Industry controlling itself? Tell me how that would happen and how you would keep the Special Interests within the Industry from taking control, how would you get NACHI, ASHI, NAHI, and all the rest to cooperate, or even talk to each other? If you came up with universal standards and SOP’s wouldn’t that in essence do away with the different HI Oragnizations, and do you think they would sit by and watch that happen? How would you control the Industry, Locally, Statewide, Nationally? The bigger the Industry gets and the wider the control becomes the more like Government it becomes.

The HI Organizations have a small amount of control over HI’s, but how would the Industry control Independants?

Politicians respond to the concerns of their constituents and to lobbyists. They do very little thinking on their own. They will do (or not do) what it is they think their constituents want.

There is one…only one…single…solitary…home inspection association that is pushing licensing. They are doing this as a means to maneuver themselves into regulatory positions and taking control over an industry that they USED to control when they were the only game in town.

They have a strong lobby…but they do not represent the majority of home inspectors and…when your representatives learn this…they will have a different point of view.

The argument should never, ever, ever be…“why not regulate home inspectors?”…but “why regulate home inspectors”. Other industries that are regulated…or unregulated…have no place in the debate.

Your question indicates that because X is regulated, then W,Y and Z must also be. Not true.

I was independent for years. My clients satisfaction controlled my business. I would suppose that like a bad restaurant, store, auto repair shop, or any other business that doesn’t have licensed personnel the bad home inspector won’t be in business all that long. Why do we need an association or government to control independents?

I’m always amazed that anyone wants the government, or an association, or anyone other than themselves to control any aspect of their business.

I believe that, if people were honest, they would admit that it is the other fella’s business that they are hoping to see controlled.:wink:


Here in Washington its not just the ONE Association Pushing for licensing, as the HI Industry has grown so has the number of Vendors, especially ED. Vendors, if they can get a Law passed where they are the “Providers” then it would greatly benefit them. The First proposal was mainly ASHI providers, now with so many more vendors they all want a piece.

Washington is one of those States that over regulate almost everything, always “protecting” us from ourselves, New, or the same old, legistlation will likely be proposed in January or February 07’, mostly because of the KIRO Report, we may be able to stall it once again, especially if its the same bill from last spring, but eventually there will be one passed, A group has been meeting for the past year trying to come up with a Bill that we could live with, but I believe the effort has been delayed by in fighting among the different Associations and even among members of the same Association…Self Regulation doesn’t seem to be working.

As far as the use of the Term “Industry”, we are part of the Real Estate Industry, where X, Y, and Z are already regulated. Like I asked, when I talk with my State Senators how do I argue that we alone should not be Regulated by the State? What makes us different?

And again, how would you propose that the HI Industry regulate itself?

First, explain why the industry needs regulation at all.

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?