March, 2008
Skeptic
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors



Is ASHI’s Position on Home Inspector Licensing Self-Serving?

EDITED BY ASHI STAFF

On occasion, a member’s comments and replies from the staff may be of interest to other members. If you’ve had concerns similar to this member’s, you might appreciate knowing how the ASHI staff replied.

Member:
I think ASHI is being VERY self-serving regarding the licensing of home inspectors in each state.  ASHI makes money on the test, gets press and gets ASHI’s Standards used by the states.

ASHI staff response:
ASHI does not make money on the National Home Inspectors Exam or on any of the other state entry exams.

Yes, ASHI received a lot of press from the recent release about the ASHI White Paper. Isn’t this a good thing? Doesn’t positive coverage in the media reinforce ASHI’s position as the leader of the profession? And, the staff directs media to the local membership. In last year’s phone survey of chapter presidents, when asked, “What can ASHI do for you? the most frequent reply was "make us stand out from the crowd, get us good PR." Isn't this a part of that?

Some states adopt ASHI Standards of Practice, some don't. ASHI’s position is that if a state is going to adopt standards the standards should be equivalent to ASHI’s.

Member:
The states have absolutely no interest in protecting the home inspectors and they use the public protection angle as a way to gain support.  Their real motive is financial (fees for licensing)! Check out how many states change the licensing laws, adversely affecting inspectors, after the initial law is written, all under the guise of protecting the public.   

ASHI staff response:
I won't argue with any of this. And you're right about states changing laws to make them worse. That’s why current and future leaders are warned every year at the leadership training conference to stay alert for legislative activity.

Member:
Also, how many states does ASHI think have "good laws.”  A majority stink!!! ASHI should reconsider its "position statement" on the subject.

ASHI staff response:
No law is perfect. Some are better, some are worse. When we say "good law" all we are saying is that it credentials inspectors minimally competent to inspect homes for a living.

And for the record, ASHI is neither pro or anti regulation. You have to live with the results so your views count the most. ASHI is here to help. With 30 plus years of experience working with lawmakers, ASHI has some idea of what might comprise a basic law that might afford protection to the consumer and give the inspector credibility.

Finally, ASHI does "reconsider" the position statement every year. Through the years there have been several important changes. We're open to feedback from all.

Member:
ASHI should have stressed ASHI membership as THE alternative and as the preeminent way to protect the consumer, because now the public doesn't/can't differentiate between a licensed inspector and an ASHI inspector.   

ASHI staff response:
State legislators are not interested in helping ASHI build its membership and why should they be? From experience, we’ve learned that if we go to a hearing and say, "ASHI membership is the standard," we’ll be dismissed as self-promoters. Also we’ve found that if legislators invite in one national organization, they usually invite in all.

If legislation is inevitable you don't want membership requirements equal to ASHI's because then you don’t nothing to differentiate yourself with membership.

Member:
The whole "licensing is a train coming down the tracks, we'd better be pro-active about it" is a fallacy.  

ASHI staff response:
The facts suggest different. In the last ten years alone more than 20 states have initiated regulation, most not at the behest of the local members, none because ASHI national wanted it. Only 18 states don't regulate and every year they have bills that are closer to passing. We see this at the national level. It may not be evident at the local level.

But being "pro-active" doesn't mean being pro-regulation. It simply means not letting something be done by someone who knows little to nothing about home inspections and doesn’t care about inspectors.

Member:
I have to spend thousands of dollars differentiating myself, when ASHI should have addressed it in 2000/2001 and accentuated it ever since.

ASHI staff response:
We agree that ASHI needs to do all it can to make members be seen as the best. Also, be sure to send this message to ASHI’s leaders. Tell them that's what you want. They will listen.