Home Inspectors - liability?

By
Real Estate Agent with Windermere Real Estate
http://actvra.in/854

I'm hoping this post finds a few savvy home inspectors here on ActiveRain!  I had a situation recently, where the home inspector missed some MAJOR water damage in the crawl space - in fact - it's hard to believe he even went down there, and didn't note the OBVIOUS moisture, and mold! 

Please don't think I'm ragging on home inspectors - I'm not!  I know there are good and bad ones in every profession, including (and especially!) with REALTORS!  But this guy just must have been being absolutely lazy.  There was obvious mold in the crawl space of this home, which was built in 1978.  The buyer ordered a full inspection, and the report didn't note ANY water damage, moisture, or mold, but the inspector claimed he went into the crawl space!  The buyer (after the sale) contacted the home inspector, and got NO response, after several calls and emails, and finally called a lawyer.  The lawyer sent a letter to the home inspector, which noted the damage, and basically said the cost to fix this problem would be high, and that the buyer would not have purchased the home had this been discovered by the home inspector!  The inspector's lawyer sent back a letter basically stating that he is not liable because the contract signed said the max liability on the home inspector's part is the cost of the inspection ($375).  Buyer's lawyer said that will never hold up in court...  

I'm really just looking to see if anyone here has been through this, or if any inspectors on here can tell me about an inspectors liability in missing something so obvious!  Buyer hires a home inspector to find these things out BEFORE purchasing the home... 

Please comment if you have ever been in this situation, or are a home inspector with some knowledge about this!

 THANKS IN ADVANCE!

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Anonymous #62
Anonymous
Bill Gosch

June 20 post reply. Inspectors do not report on code violations as stated in the ASHI standards of practice. Some code violations are v ery obvious in the sloppy workmanship that had been done, but codes are changing on a yearly basis so the home buyer still has some work to do themselves, unfortunantely many are starting to believe that the Home inspector is the final step in the purchase. I have discovered many buyers do not read the report and/or access the hyperlinks information section of the report before signing off on the home. Code violations and termites are a big issue that i make clear to my clients are not in the inspection, verbally and written.

August 19, 2012 05:43 AM
Anonymous #63
Anonymous
Cindy

Got all of those other stories topped!! When we bought this house we were right out of 23 yrs in the navy with still a pretty trusting mindset. Living in military housing for over 24 yrs and with the V.A. loan and a V.A. inspector We were in th mindset the V.A. was looking out for US. Well after the first week of buying the house back on 2003 the whole main drain had collapsed and we had poop in the tub. $6 grand to fix that, then the Insurance Company said sorry can't insure the roof. By winter our floors started sagging, like 4 inches from the wall to the front og the fridge. Found out the sellers had not even measured the support beams which cracked the floors. The neighbors driveway is our property with a fence in between, How the hell do they miss these things. We went to level theinside  porch floor, and decided to take of the vinyl siding which was on the inside wall only to find asbestos underneath which was almost powdery, Yje seller by the way put the siding there and on the contract it said no asbestos lnown, BS He is still the main contractor for the town with ties to town council by the way. That cost us almost $1k, I removed it myself instead of having a pro do it, who can afford $21K, also had to illegally transport it 80 miles myself. The Foundation seals were rotten, with new wood just placed there not even nailed in. We had no gutters, drain spouts, which I found out the V.A. frowns on. Mold in the closet and bathroom ceiling. Basement is stone walls with the wonderful musty smell. Now our water heater went out last week, found out the furnace and water heater were never, NEVER vented into the fireplace and the whole backside of the furnace vent pipes were so bad, when He touched the back of the pipe it disintigrated and his fingers went right through it.  the man that replaced and fixed all that today with a liner said there was No Way in Hell the home inspector could have stepped foot inside the home at all. So for the past 8 years we have been exposed to constant Carbon Monoxide and Yes we have all the symptoms. I have had a cough and weird chest pains for the past 2 years. So to get a $400 water heater it costed about $3k plus a lifetime health issue. There was LIVE cloth wiring in the basement as well. I fought the town the state and called every lawyer in Ct with absolutely NO Help at all and almost went insane with the stress of it all. The Blatant disregard for someones health and saftey who is spending so much money is just beyond my comprehenshion. The hot wires, the carbon monoxide poisoning, floors all jacked up, property lines, The town building inspector, town hall, clerk title deed, collapsed main drain, basement leaks when it rains,  asbestos, not to mention roofing tar the size of tires buried along the side of the house that they covered with dirt because they let it run down the sides of the house then covered it and the asbestos with vinyl siding, We have dug up 20 bags of trash in the yard while I was trying to plant a garden. We are just hard working stiffs that try and abide by the law, Retired Military who only wanted a home  and a place to set our feet for more than 2-3 yrs at a time. This home buying ex[erience has completely hardened my heart and I Trust NO ONE in this town or state for that matter any more. It was supposed to be a little quiet corner town, when You looked up the town info at the time all we could find was good schools low crime and a peaceful little place, that all changed 3 days after we moved in when the car windshiled was busted out, Our cars have been broken into 6 times, tires slashed 3 times, fromt window of house broken with rocks in the middle of the night, stray cats so many you can't count, skunks burroughing under porch, chases by skunks in the day time and this house is only 2 blocks from town hall. This was our first home, I will NEVER buy another if we can even sell this one. Every other  home around here now are full of section8 lowlifes who have absolutely no regard for anyone else, drugs, sex offenders, police if your lucky MIGHT show up if you call. Why is it that the people who try and follow the rules always get screwed and the ones who break the rules get the breaks. If I have any advise to give it would be, GET More Than 1 Home Inspector and Never Trust anyone to DO THEIR JOB! Because Now a Days the majority of people don't care and are Greedy, Lazy, and Decietful. I used to have faith in people, I grew up where a hand shake and Your word MEANT something. Now that Hand Shake is clouded by how much they can take from You, scan You or just outright LIE to You Just like that V.A Home Inspector. if He would have done HIS JOB with Pride...... We would not be having all these health issues which now are due to His lack of character and yes My fault to for TRUSTING the V.A whom I thought was looking out for the saftey of a home and it's occupants. I have lost ALL FAITH, Trust and Hope. Very Sad what Our Society has come to, This is NOT the AMERICA I grew up in. Unless You have a ton of money to fight these people running the towns and state, Your nothing but a ant crawling down the sidewalk begging for a crumb and sidestepping the ones who try and stamp you out for their own prosperiety. Good Luck to all seeking that American Dream. The Leave it to Beaver and happy Days are just a memory, 8 years of carbon monoxide poisoning and a lifetime of illness to look forward to. 20+ yrs of serving our country and this is what we got to show for it. Yeah.

September 11, 2012 09:20 PM
Anonymous #64
Anonymous
paula wiser

We had bought a home back in 2003 and everythg passed well today we noticed our wall was pulling away from floor called insurance adjuster he says well that was there along time the owner probally covered it up and now it is rotten can anyone tell me who i can call to get this covered we have water and homeowners it seems like everytime we nbotice things going wrong insurance always has a excuse

 

October 12, 2012 11:21 AM
Anonymous #65
Anonymous
Buster

I am a seller in the process of seling our home. At the last minute before closing, I was told that after a home inspection by the buyers that their home inspector found asbestos tile under the hardwood floor.

First of all since home inspectors are required to be non invasive, i.e. cannot destroy or modify any part of the home during inspection, how could an inspector determine the presence of asbestos. I am assuming that they pulled a heating vent cover and may have noticed some for of tile under the hardwood, but determining asbestos by sight is unheard of.

Can I legally pursue the home inspectorÉ

October 16, 2012 05:45 PM
Anonymous #66
Anonymous
Dwight

I've got news for everyone here and Mike Holmes. Inspectors do NOT pass houses, give guarantees or rate your house on any scale. They give a general opinion on your homes systems, ie; roof, exterior walls, heating, plumbing. The components of these systems are usually graded as acceptable, needs repair or defective/needs repair or replacement. They may give an opinion on how long they think a system will last but it's NOT a guarantee. They will also put into their notes who needs to be contacted to get any component that needs repair, replacement or a technically invasive inspection by a qualified professional. It's a difficult job as it is but we are not allowed to tear apart or damage any part of a house to look inside walls or areas that aren't accessible. I'm not saying there aren't lazy inspectors out there but blaming an inspector because he didn't take your furnace ducting apart and look inside is rediculous. Finding mold months later doesn't neccesarily mean the inspector didn't climb inside the crawl space or attic either. Maybe it was the dry season when they did and the mold didn't exist at that point. It's hard to say. I've found a lot of people ask for a verbal over veiw after the inspection and then don't bother reading the report. How do I know? I'm an inspector in Washington State and I get phones calls asking about items that are clearly outlined on my reports weeks or even months later. I don't mind answering the questions and pointing out the notes but it really makes me wonder if people really understand what it is we do or if they even read the reports. If they do read them, how many actually follow through with my recomendations?

We also don't point out code violations. We are't masters of building codes but we are required to point out hazardous, deficient or unsafe conditions. It's not always evident as so many critical parts of a home are hidden in the walls. We can only make opinions on the things that are visible. Something many people don't do is get a sewer inspection. This should be performed on the same day as the home inspection by a licensed plumber/sewer inspector. Home inspectors don't do sewer or pest inspections. All we can do is not conditions that are conducive to wood destroying organisms and make a recomendation for further inspection by a licensed professional in that field. Do some inspectors miss things? Yes they do and it's unfortunate we aren't all perfect.

Just remember, a hope inspection is not a guarantee or implied warranty at all. It's an opinion on the overall condition of visible systems that make up your house on the day the inspection was performed. I had an inspection performed on my house and the inspector didn't note that the basement, which was newly finished, was susceptible to flooding. The previous homeowner hid it very well and nobody noticed it, until it rained for a month the following winter and I had 18" of water in my basement. The flood destroyed everything I had stored there. I didn't blame the inspector. It looked great. He didn't know the sump was inadequate. He tested it and it worked. It worked while the basement was flooding but couldn't keep up with the water flow. It's not his job to make sure the pump could pump enough volume to keep up with peak water intusion. I don't even think a hydrolic engineer could know that. I replaced the pump, counted my losses and it never flooded again.

May 01, 2013 05:02 PM
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