May, 2002
Legislative News
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors



Legislative Committee Responds to Requests for Assistance

BOB KOCIOLEK

ASHI will act affirmatively to influence any legislation or regulation affecting the homebuying public, home inspectors and the profession. To that end, ASHI has resources available to the Membership, unaffiliated home inspectors, state and local governments, and consumers. The ASHI National Legislative Committee (LGC) and professional staff will respond to requests for information and will review the parameters of any proposed legislation or bills that have been introduced in any state or have been drafted by ASHI Members for the purpose of being introduced.

With bills either introduced or carried over in 14 states, it’s been a busy legislative session for ASHI and home inspectors. The LGC has been busy too, responding to requests for information and review from ASHI Members in Alaska, Colorado, Missouri, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Staff also responded to researchers seeking information and model legislation in Missouri.

Mississippi adopts ASHI Standards of Practice

The Home Inspector Regulatory Board of the State of Mississippi approved use of the ASHI Standards of Practice (SoP) and Code of Ethics (CoE) at their meeting on Feb. 27, 2002. ASHI has sent the Board a letter of agreement crediting ASHI. Four states now have formally adopted ASHI’s SoP, and several others essentially have our SoP in place, for which National has sought credit.

This is a good thing for consumers and the profession. The way we see it, any regulatory legislation must include clearly defined Standards that inform the public and the inspector of the systems and components to be inspected and that relate limitations. The ASHI SoP, developed more than 25 years ago and reviewed every two years, are the industry standard. Any jurisdiction may adopt ASHI’s Standards and Code and all are encouraged to do so.

Home inspectors fight for NHIE in Illinois


Beginning Jan. 1, 2003, home inspectors will be licensed in Illinois. The Office of Banks and Real Estate (OBRE) is developing the rules and regulations, including an examination, with recommendations from the IL Home Inspectors Advisory Board (ILHIAB). The ILHIAB has five home inspectors, including four strong ASHI Members, and has recommended that the OBRE adopt the National Home Inspectors Examination (NHIE). But the OBRE has asked the Board members to develop questions for a new exam, and may not adopt the NHIE. It appears OBRE has an agreement with a testing company that must administer every exam, and that doesn’t include the NHIE.

In response to this, IL ASHI Members and National sent letters to every ASHI Member and Candidate in the state, urging as many as possible to attend the April 10 meeting of the ILHIAB, and to demand that the NHIE be considered and adopted. Frank Johnson, Great Lakes Member who serve on the ILHIAB, sent the membership a petition to be signed by clients, and to be presented at the meeting requesting the adoption of the NHIE. The petition stated, in part, “…the undersigned do hereby acknowledge and affirm that they fully understand the importance of hiring competent, experienced, and knowledgeable Home Inspectors for the purpose of buying and selling real estate, and as such, would only hire or refer those Inspectors who have passed the National Home Inspector Exam.” We will keep you posted on this important battle.

State laws now online at www.ashi.org

Twenty-five states currently regulate home inspectors in one way or another. Now you can look at every law online at www.ashi.org. Just click on either Homebuyer/
Sellers or Home Inspectors and then click on State Regulations in the left-hand menu. You can read summaries of all the laws. Click on a link that will bring up the law itself, and contact the appropriate state agency for more information. We hope you find this important tool useful.

Developments in new and carried over bills

Alaska HB 27 is a licensing bill. As reported in the last Reporter, the bill was introduced by Representative Rokeberg on Jan. 18, 2001, amended and sent to the House Finance Committee on Feb. 28. On April 1, the Finance Committee adopted a substitute amendment to the bill that essentially changes the regulatory body for home inspectors in Alaska and classifies home inspectors as “specialty contractors.” 

According to Rep. Rokeberg’s office, although the term “registration” is now used in the bill, HB 27 will still require home inspectors to meet all the requirements outlined in the original bill (examination, continuing education, etc.) to become registered with the state. However, the change in regulatory oversight and the “specialty contractor” classification will reduce the licensing/registration fee substantially (to approximately $250 every two years). The bill has now been referred to the House Rules Com-
mittee for scheduling and is awaiting further action by the full House.

Arizona HB 2166 is a certification bill. On March 27, the House Rules Committee voted 9-2 to recommend passage of the bill as amended and it was read a second time. HB 2166 is now awaiting a third reading and final action in the House.

California SB 1332 is a trade practice act/consumer protection bill. A hearing on the bill had been tentatively scheduled for April 22.
Oklahoma SB 1277 is a bill that would amend current home inspection law. According to the office of Senator Milacek, who introduced the bill, it has died. It could technically be revived by attaching the bill to another piece of legislation, but the Senator’s staff has indicated he will not pursue it.

Correction

A Pennsylvania Chapter President pointed out a mistake in the March Reporter regarding Pennsylvania HB 2203 in the “Summaries of new and carried over bills” in “Statewise.” The article was incorrectly based on the original amendment, which PA ASHI Members opposed and was itself amended. The article should have said that if a home inspector had applied for membership in the type of association referred to in the law prior to enactment,

Dec. 20, 2001, he/she would be given a grace period to attain full membership in that association until June 20, 2003. Anyone applying for membership after Dec. 20, 2001 would not be granted the extension.

We apologize for any confusion caused by the mistake and thank the President for pointing it out.

NHIE in Virginia

Noel Zak, executive director of the Examination Board of Professional Home Inspectors, was scheduled to present the NHIE to the Virginia Board of
Asbestos, Lead and Home Inspectors Board. Virginia is developing rules to enforce its certification law and one of the issues is which exam the state will use.

On March 13 the Board Administrator called Ms. Zak to cancel the presentation, citing potential conflict of interest and claiming that the Board was just beginning to determine what kind of exam it wanted. At the Board meeting following this call, the staff testing expert again reminded the Board that they could develop their own test or use a nationally recognized test. She reviewed the need for psycometrically valid test development protocols. The only test that she had found that met professionally recognized testing criteria was the NHIE exam.

So what’s the problem? It seems a familiar tune is being played in Virginia. One of the home inspectors on the Board, an ASHI Member who also belongs to a competing home inspector association, has long had “concerns” about the NHIE. A subcommittee has been assigned to hear recommendations from all interested parties on April 23. Ms. Zak, along with Dr. James Henderson, will attend to present the NHIE. We will keep you posted on developments. It is important to note that the NHIE has been challenged in several states by other home inspector organizations that claim that their exam is “equal.” We’re confident that in the long run these claims will discounted. The problem is that in the short run they cause real
problems, because not all rules makers understand the importance of
a high stakes examination.

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Mississippi approves National Home Inspector Examination

On March 11, 2002, the Mississippi Home Inspector Regulatory Board announced that it will use the National Home Inspector Examination to assess competency of home inspectors for regulatory purposes. “The members of this body have reviewed the documentation regarding development, maintenance and administration of the examination and find that it complies with the standards required for a licensing examination,” the announcement stated.

Seven of the 17 states that require an examination for home inspectors are now using the National Home Inspector Examination: Arizona, Connecticut, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey and Wisconsin.

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