This is Larrys’ version of the letter, and again use it if you like it, or change it to better represent your opinion.
To: The Honorable Representatives Steve Conway and Alex Wood
RE: Engrossed Senate Bill 5788 Licensing of Home Inspectors
I am writing you as I understand you are the chair and vice chair of the Labor and Commerce Committee and you will be reviewing the aforementioned bill. Please accept my thanks in advance for taking the time to read my comments.
About a year and a half ago, Senators Kohl-Welles and Spanel introduced Senate Bill 6229 regarding the licensing of home inspectors. While it caught many inspectors off guard, it was a good thing in that it prompted the development of a home inspector’s coalition, something many had been trying to develop for years. That coalition came to be called the Washington Home Inspectors Legislative Advisory Group, WHILAG, and it embodies inspectors who belong to all the national home inspector associations as well as independents. In the end, Senate Bill 6229 died, but WHILAG proceeded on, working to develop a bill which would represent the interests of both the consumer and inspector.
Last year was almost history when KIRO TV aired a piece about a couple who reportedly lost their home because of issues with rot and a failed septic system which were not detected during their home inspection. It was an emotional and sensational news piece in which Senator Kohl-Welles, orginal founder of SB 6229 was also interviewed. About a month after that piece aired, Senate Bill 5788 regarding the licensing of home inspectors was introduced, sponsored by Senators Spanel, Brandland and Kohl Wells. WHILAG immediately tried to become involved, but the Senators showed little to no interest in working with WHILAG to put together a cogent, well thought out bill. From there, the speed at which the bill was pushed forward has effectively left home inspectors out of the loop. From public hearings, to the Senate Committee on Labor, Commerce and Research & Development, our watchdogs have only been able to provide one or two days notice to rally home inspectors across the State. For example, the Senate’s public hearing scheduled for a Monday was not announced until the Friday before, too little and too late for many who would have liked to attend.
In a statewide letter writing campaign in concert with the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) and the National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI) we have all asked the senators the same question: Why the undue haste in cobbling together a bill? Why are you not working with WHILAG? On March 12th, the bill passed the Senate floor after Senator Spanel informed the senate that all stakeholder’s concerns had been addressed.
In 2008, my yearly license fees will jump from $60.00 to $600.00 and $500.00 per year thereafter. That will reflect in increased fees passed on to consumers, fees which at this point, will not provide them increased protection unless the bill is reworked.As one of these stakeholders, my concerns have not been addressed and this bill has been rushed through the Senate with unnecessary haste and lack of proper review or consideration by the professionals whose lives it will impact. Some of my specific concerns and comments are as follows:
- E**liminate dual licensing as a home inspector and a pest inspector. Home Inspectors should be able to perform their inspection and look for conducive conditions and damage without having to hold both licenses. **
- R**equire a nationally-recognized psychometrically-evaluated examination along with a specific Washington state test module. There are established testing criteria that must be met to make the examination legally defensible to protect the state and the profession. **
- C**hange the composition of the home inspector board to eliminate potential conflicts of interest which may come about by having a real estate broker and an educator on the board. **
- A**dd exemptions of other licensed professions and trades when acting within the scope of their own license. The law should be clear that other licensed professionals can look at or inspect specific aspects of a home without having to be licensed. **
- A**dd back in the enforceability sections of the original bill which were removed for unknown reasons. **
With all due respect, this has been a very frustrating process. I would support a reasonable bill, but I remain confused as to why there has been so little attempt to proactively consult with the professionals in the field whose lives this will impact instead of forcing them into a defensive position. As I am sharing this letter with other inspectors, I hope you will receive many more letters similar to this from other inspectors of similar thinking.
My thanks to you again.