October, 2019

Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors

Are These Violations of the ASHI Code of Ethics?


Question: Is mold testing or mold remediation (or both) performed on a structure inspected by a home inspector in violation of the ASHI Standard of Practice (SoP) or the ASHI Code of Ethics (CoE)?

Response: Mold testing is an ancillary service that provides information to a home inspection client on the conditions surrounding the house. Mold testing is beyond the scope of a home inspection as defined in the ASHI SoP, but it is not a prohibited service.

Correction of the underlying causes of a mold infestation would involve eliminating the source of moisture. This could include repairs to the building envelope, plumbing system or ventilation; these are all components that would be inspected and reported on in a home inspection. Performing mold remediation would violate CoE, Item 1.F., which states, “Inspectors shall not repair, replace or upgrade, for compensation, systems or components covered by the ASHI Standards of Practice, for one year after the inspection.”

Question: Can an ASHI member perform partial inspections and use these inspections to generate referrals for contractors who are willing to pay a referral fee to the inspector?

Response: Part of our responsibility to our clients is to provide advice and counsel based on our professional judgment. The client must be able to rely on the inspector to provide that advice based on the best interest of the client, not based on the payment of a referral fee or some other inducement. Limited inspections on homes must still be performed in accordance with the ASHI Code of Ethics. Accepting referral fees, as in the case described here, is prohibited.

Question: Is it a conflict of interest for an inspector to perform a pre-listing inspection for a seller and then, with the seller’s permission, provide the buyer of the property with the home inspection report and charge the buyer a fee to walk through the property and check that items noted in the report were repaired?

Response: The ASHI Code of Ethics does not prohibit an inspector from performing a pre-listing inspection for the seller and then later, for a fee and with the consent of the seller, consulting with the buyer on items identified in the original report as needing repair. CoE, Item 1.D. states, “Inspectors shall not receive compensation for an inspection from more than one party unless agreed to by the client(s).” The question addressed in this example describes full disclosure and agreement between the parties involved.

Know the Code - The ASHI Code of Ethics can be found at this link: https://www.homeinspector.org/Code-of-Ethics


Jamison Brown is the owner of Home Inspections by Jamison & Company, Poquoson, VA. Before becoming an ASHI member in 1988, Jamison was a project manager, and supervised the construction and remodeling of more than 10,000 housing units for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Jamison is a former member of the Carpenters and Joiners of America, and a former licensed plumber in the state of Virginia. He is a member of the International Code Council, International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI) and a certified member of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). He has been a member of ASHI’s Technical and Membership Committees, and was chair of the CEPP Committee. Currently, he chairs the ASHI Code of Ethics Committee. Jamison has personally inspected more than 18,000 residential and commercial properties. Contact him at jamison.brown@gmail.com.