March, 2002

Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors


Home Inspector Legislation Sweeping Nation

BOB KOCIOLEK

Forty-eight states convened their legislatures in January and early February and as we go to press there is already legislative activity in 11. The level of carryover activity from last year’s sessions suggests legislators are serious about getting home inspectors regulated.

New legislation in Missouri is truly astonishing in that it came seemingly out of nowhere. ASHI Members found out about a new licensing bill in Missouri on
Jan. 30, and were invited to a committee hearing to comment on it on Feb. 6! Talk about a fast track! Talk about a bill having legs!

This reinforces ASHI’s belief that the 25 states without regulation in one form or another won’t stay that way for long. We’re gearing up for big legislative efforts over the next two years. Our view is if you’re not regulated now, get ready. If that horse is going to leave the barn, you better be on it steering, or you’ll be run over by the parties in the saddle.

ASHI’s Legislative Committee (LGC) is ready for action and is available to assist you. The LGC responded to Missouri ASHI Members and Chapters with valuable input regarding the bill, and provided them with resources for the hearing. Keep your ears to the ground. As soon as you hear of activity in your state, contact me at 847-759-2820 or email me at bobk@ashi.com. If you get your hands on a new bill before we do, send it to me, so the LGC can review it and offer input. When we find out about a new bill, we send a summary to the Chapter Presidents and make available a copy of it. We keep track of every bill working its way through every legislature, and are happy to provide you with a summary of your state’s activity or all 50 states, or with a report listing all 25 current laws and summaries of their main features.

Speaking of resources, the ASHI Legislative Guidebook is available to all ASHI Members at the Members Only section of www.ashi.com, ASHI Documents. You will also find the ASHI Policy and Procedures Manual. We urge you to review the Policies in Section 12, “Home Inspector Regulation.” Remember, ASHI is in favor of regulation that benefits the Society, the profession and the consumer, and demands at a minimum that it contains Standards of Practice, a Code of Ethics and a psychometrically valid examination to test competency.

Summaries of new and carried over bills

Alabama SB 85 is a licensing bill. It would require individuals performing home inspections to become licensed by the Alabama Building Commission. The bill provides for the Commission to establish a home inspector code of ethics and standards of practice as outlined by ASHI or an equivalent professional body. The bill also outlines educational and experiential requirements to become licensed, sets license fees and insurance requirements, and defines penalties under which licensure may be suspended or revoked.

SB 85 was introduced by Senator Barron on Jan. 8, and referred to the Senate Committee on Economic Expansion. A hearing was held on Jan. 11, and the Committee voted 7-0 to recommend passage. On Jan. 16, the Senate voted to pass SB 85 on a vote of 32-0. The bill has been referred to the House Commerce Committee for review in the House. No further action has been taken. This bill can be downloaded at http://alisdb.legislature.state.al.us/acas/ACASLogin.asp.

Alaska HB 27 is a licensing bill. It would require individuals performing home inspections to become licensed and to register with the State Board of Home Inspectors. The bill was introduced by Representative Rokeberg on
Jan. 18, 2001. It was amended and sent to the House Finance Committee, where it has been sitting since Feb. 28, 2001. No further action has been taken.

California SB 1332 is a certification bill. It would require home inspectors to become certified by a “professional home inspection association and provides for the following requirements: 1) performance of at least 200 inspections for which a fee was paid; and 2) passage of an examination administered by a professional home inspection association. The bill defines a professional home inspection association as an organization that meets the following standards: 1) has at least 200 members who are home inspectors in California; 2) has been in existence for at least 10 years; 3) operates pursuant to 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code; and 4) certifies home inspectors without requiring membership in the association. It also contains disclosure requirements regarding the qualifications of home inspectors as well as insurance requirements. The bill was introduced by Senator Figueroa on Jan. 31, and referred to the Senate Committee on Rules.

Missouri HB 1723 is a licensing bill. It creates a Missouri Home Inspectors Commission within the Division of Professional Registra-tion, which would be the licensing and regulatory authority for home inspectors in the state. The bill does include an examination requirement and gives the Commission the authority to establish continuing education requirements for license renewal. HB 1723 would also provide exemptions from licensure for government agency employees
acting within the scope of their employment.

HB 1723 was introduced on Jan. 31 by Representative Boucher. The bill has been referred to the Professional Registration and Licensing Committee, and a hearing was scheduled for Feb. 6 at 5 pm.

New Jersey A 567 is a licensing bill. It amends the existing Home Inspection Professional Licensing Act, by adding three members to the Home Inspection Advisory Committee to include two construction or sub-code officials and one representative of a county college. A 567 requires that as a condition of renewal of a license, an individual shall complete 20 credit hours of continuing education. The Advisory Committee shall establish standards for continuing education and approve programs offering continuing education credits. Under current law, to be eligible for licensure, an individual is required to pass the ASHI examination. This bill would allow an additional examination to be offered, as long as it is administered or approved by the Advisory Committee. In addition, this bill amends current licensure requirements by allowing an applicant to complete a course of study (including not less than 50 home inspections) offered by county colleges licensed by the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education. A 567 would also allow certain building inspectors licensed under the Uniform Construction Code Act, to be issued a home inspector license under prescribed circumstances.

A 567 was introduced by Representative Impreveduto on Jan. 8, and referred to the Assembly Committee on Regulated Professions and Independent Authorities. No
further action has been taken.

New York A02643 is a licensing bill. S 01669 is the identical Senate companion. The bill would establish requirements and criteria for the licensing of persons engaged in performing structural inspection of residential real property, chiefly to advise prospective purchasers of the condition of property for sale. A02643 provides for licensing and regulation by the Department of State and provides for the establishment of a state Home Inspection Advisory Committee within the State Real Estate Board. The bill does provide an exemption for architects, professional engineers and certified code enforcement officers.

A 02643 was introduced by Assemblyman Wirth and is a carryover from 2001. On Jan. 9, the bill was referred to the Assembly Committee on Economic Development to begin the 2002 session. No further action has been taken.

New York A07820 is a licensing bill. S03415 is the identical Senate companion. The bill establishes licensure requirements for home inspectors and associate home inspectors who inspect residential buildings for compensation. Home inspectors would be regulated by a Home Inspector Licensure Board, housed within the Department of State. It defines the membership of the Licensure Board, educational requirements for applicants and establishes a code of ethics and standards of practice for home inspectors in New York. A07820 carries an effective date of Oct. 1, 2002. The memo tied to the legislation indicates that this particular bill was introduced as a consumer protection measure.

A07820 was introduced by Representative Schimminger and is a carryover from 2001. On Jan. 9, the bill was referred to the Assembly Committee on
Economic Development. No further action has been taken.

Ohio HB 29 is a licensing bill. It would create the State Board of Home Inspectors within the Department of Commerce, and would require the licensure of home inspectors, provisional home inspectors and associate home inspectors. HB 29 was introduced by Representative DePiero and is a carryover from 2001. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Labor on Jan. 31, 2001. No further action has been taken.  

Oklahoma SB 1277 is a bill which would amend current home inspection law in Oklahoma. It would transfer the regulatory authority over home inspectors from the Department of Health to the Construction Industries Board (CIB), and increases the number of members on the CIB. SB 1277 also increases the license fee, and further clarifies the licensing exemption for persons who issue wood infestation reports. SB 1277 was introduced by Senator Milacek on Feb. 4. The bill has not yet been referred to committee, and no further action has been taken.

Pennsylvania HB 2203 is a bill which would amend current home inspection law in Pennsylvania. The bill would allow an individual in good standing, who is active within a national home inspector association working to become a full member in accordance with the ethical standards, code of conduct, practice or requirements of that association to provide home inspections. Current law only al-lows “full members in good standing” to provide home inspections.

HB 2203 was introduced by Representative Zug on Dec. 4 and referred to the Assembly Urban Affairs Committee. The Urban Affairs Committee voted to recommend passage on Dec. 5, and the full Assembly passed HB 2203 on Dec. 11. The bill has now been sent to the Senate and referred to the Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee. No further action has been taken.

South Carolina SB 237 is a licensing bill. HB3440 is the identical House companion. The bill would require home inspectors to become licensed by the South Carolina Residential Builders Commission. SB 237 was introduced by Senator Leatherman and is a carryover from 2001. The bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Labor, Commerce and Industry on Jan. 30, 2001. No further action has been taken.

Tennessee SB 301 is a licensing bill. HB1114 is the identical House companion. The bill would require licensure or certification identical to that required by present law for all persons who inspect the structural and aesthetics of buildings, new or otherwise. SB 301 was introduced by Senator Dixon and is a carryover from 2001. The bill was introduced on Feb. 1, 2001 and referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Labor, and Agriculture. The Committee met on March 13, and decided to refer SB 301 to its General Subcommittee. No further action has been taken.<

ASHI in action: Nine speak at Missouri hearing


Norm Richert, Mid-Missouri chapter president, reported approximately 25 ASHI Members and Candidates attended the hearing on Missouri HB 1723, February 6, 2002, and nine spoke. No other group was represented. 

“Some of the Members and Candidates spoke in support of licensing, but all agreed we could not support the current proposed bill,” Richert said. “I met with the co-sponsor of the bill, and he wants us to go line-for-line through the bill and offer what we want changed.”