Will photos be used against you?

Sunset review evaluates regulatory agencies every 10 to 12 years to determine if changes need to be done. TREC Sunset review is in 2018. This is the time to present some of the problems that have happened to home inspection due to regulation. The following is one topic to discuss.

When TREC receives a complaint they are authorized to investigate every aspect of the licensee for other errors. TRECs objective is to get an acknowledgment of negligence from the inspector when possible.

Did you know photos can be used against you? Photos are not required by TREC, however, most inspectors use photos to aid the client in understanding the report. Photos help the public. TREC, however, can look at every photo and try to find something the inspector did not report on. It has happened. TREC is using a benefit provided by the inspector to aid the consumer against the inspector. Logic would dictate that inspectors should use fewer photos to avoid scrutiny by the regulatory agency.

Be careful.

Well if you do your job it shouldn’t be a problem . Has a photo ever been used against a inspector ?

I see so many unreported items in Inspectors’ reports both actual reports and sample reports. Inspectors need to get into the habit of ensuring they closely review any photo they use in their reports.

Seems to me that is not completely possible with on-site reporting where the inspector is ‘rushed’ to produce the report (self-imposed).

Yes. TREC was reviewing an unrelated item and found an omission in a photo. They found the inspector negligent and incompetent. I will find the enforcement action and post it.

I occasionally provide consulting services to inspectors and lawyers. I am not a big-time expert and I rarely accept cases. I can attest that the plaintiffs expert is scanning every image for an omission. When I review a defense case I am looking for “proof of inspection” and the other side is looking for “proof of negligence”. A picture is worth a thousand words. It can work for or against you.

For those Inspectors it is a numbers game. If they only charge $250.00 for an inspection and can push three out a day with on site reporting that’s $750.00/Day, $3750.00/week (Mon - Fri work day), and $180,000.00/year (48 weeks). It doesn’t matter that the reports are junk! The number of consumers that pursue bad inspections is very small compared to the number of junk inspections done. At $180K/year the trash report Inspector can afford a higher E&O insurance premium to cover the small possibility they will be called on the carpet.

As I said it is a numbers game stacked against the consumer!

I’m occasionally contacted by consumers who have Inspector problems. In very few cases have I actually been able to side with the Inspector after reviewing their report and pictures. I regularly see pictures used in one section of a report that contain issues not reported in another section of the report or anywhere in the report. The picture was used to illustrate an issue found but contained one or more other unreported issues. These are issues that are explicitly required to be called out as per our SOP and not just “questionable” issues.

I agree that there are pros and cons to using photos in our reports. We do use them to help clients and agents better understand our comment. However, we really try to take close up photos of defects and leave out as much information around the photo as possible. We dont want a photo to display a defect that was not called out.

Example of why to complete reports in the office…