October, 2008
Ethics
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors



Providing Food to Real Estate Agents

BILL LODEN

The ASHI Code of Ethics Committee is charged with
developing ethics education and awareness for ASHI members and with answering Requests for Interpretation (RFIs) of our Code of Ethics.

All three of the requests published this month focus on how a home inspector interacts with real estate professionals. The replies are based on the revised ASHI Code of Ethics, which was approved in June 2004.
When serious questions arise about the intent and applicability of the revised code, members are encouraged to submit the required RFI form, which can be found on the ASHI Web site under Downloads/ASHI Forms & Documents.

We will continue to provide members with the committee’s response to the questions posed by their fellow home inspectors.


— Bill Loden, chair, 2008 ASHI Code of  Ethics Committee


Request for Interpretation
e060718 Providing food to real estate agents
While meeting with real estate agents during an open house, is it a violation of the Code of Ethics to give them food and drink?

Response
Providing gifts of low monetary value, such as snacks or beverages, to real estate agents would not be likely to be an inducement to the agents to refer a home inspector, would not constitute compensation or payment for referrals and would not be a violation of the Code of Ethics.

Request for Interpretation
e060720 Promotional drawing open to all

Is it ethical to include real estate agents who have represented the inspector’s clients in past transactions in a drawing offering a prize worth $200-$500?

Response

It would not constitute a violation of the Code of Ethics if the opportunity were equally open to all agents, whether or not they had referred clients to the inspector, and provided that the agents were fully aware that the opportunity to win was open to all.  Such an arrangement would not constitute a payment for referral in violation of 1.C of the Code since the opportunity to win was not enhanced by making a referral. 

Request for Interpretation
e060913 Donating an inspection

A realty agent in my area has been diagnosed with cancer and the family has no insurance. They are having a get together  to raise money for her medical bills. An
agent from her office asked if I would donate an inspection to be auctioned off, and the proceeds go to her medical bills. Is this a violation of the CoE?  Also, I was thinking of running a promotion of donating $20 of every home inspection I would do for the next month as well. Is this a violation of the CoE?

Response

Donations to charitable events organized by real estate brokers do not constitute direct or indirect compensation to realty agents. While this particular donation would inure to the benefit of a real estate agent, it is not connected to a referral from the agent and would not violate the Code of Ethics.