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Scully 01-22-2012 11:35 AM

Home Inspector + Small Claims Court?
 
the home inspector who did my home inspection did such a lousy job that i had several contractors tell me that he basically did it blindfolded. he missed extremely glaring problems in the attic and crawl space, which is going to translate to huge and costly projects for me.

the home inspector is completely silent and won't respond at all. how successful will i be with taking him to small claims court?

oh'mike 01-22-2012 11:46 AM

What are you trying to get from the inspector?

A refund of his fee or paying for the work that he missed?

Scully 01-22-2012 11:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by oh'mike (Post 831060)
What are you trying to get from the inspector?

A refund of his fee or paying for the work that he missed?

maybe both. now that i'm seeing the attic through the contractors eyes, i'm saying to myself...my god, how could he have missed so many things? complete lack of insulation, moldy insulation where there is some, water stains on floor boards from previous roof leak. now i'm seeing frost on nails and patches here and there.

same thing with my dirt lined crawl space. he should've noted the lack of a barrier.



Aggie67 01-22-2012 11:53 AM

The silence part bothers me. If you had a signed contract with him, he should man up. If it was an error or an omission, then that's the whole purpose of errors and omissions insurance. I can't say how successful it will be in small claims court.

This scenario is also why home inspections need to be thorough, and last a couple hours minimum. Reports should call out every detail, and note every deficiency, and bring up every area of concern.

If you don't mind me asking, did the inspector stay on the property for at least 3 hours?

Scully 01-22-2012 12:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Aggie67 (Post 831069)
The silence part bothers me. If you had a signed contract with him, he should man up. If it was an error or an omission, then that's the whole purpose of errors and omissions insurance. I can't say how successful it will be in small claims court.

This scenario is also why home inspections need to be thorough, and last a couple hours minimum. Reports should call out every detail, and note every deficiency, and bring up every area of concern.

If you don't mind me asking, did the inspector stay on the property for at least 3 hours?

we probably were there for about 2.5 hr. and the roof that he said has about 5 years of life left...so wrong. i need to get it replaced this spring. he never even stepped on the roof itself.

Jackofall1 01-22-2012 12:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Aggie67 (Post 831069)
The silence part bothers me. If you had a signed contract with him, he should man up. If it was an error or an omission, then that's the whole purpose of errors and omissions insurance. I can't say how successful it will be in small claims court.

This scenario is also why home inspections need to be thorough, and last a couple hours minimum. Reports should call out every detail, and note every deficiency, and bring up every area of concern.

If you don't mind me asking, did the inspector stay on the property for at least 3 hours?

Well said, but, does this kind of liability regarding home inspection depend on the area of the country you are in, as many areas don't require a home inspector to be licensed?

Just a thought.

Mark

gregzoll 01-22-2012 03:42 PM

The problem is, the contract that you signed with them, has most likely removed them from any liability. They are just a second set of eyes, and in most cases, you have found that they are not worth the paper you signed. You as a home owner should have known that you are the one responsible for reviewing the information that they gave you and it is always good to not use he seller's or the realtor's suggestion for a HI.

Depending on how your state holds them to a code of ethics, you can look at the info at ASHI's site http://www.ashi.org/inspectors/state.asp If you really want to see that most do not have a clue, read through the forums at http://www.inspectorsjournal.com/

DrHicks 01-22-2012 03:44 PM

Sounds like an FHA Inspector.

user1007 01-22-2012 09:53 PM

Even if you pursue this and get a judgment? You going to be able to collect anything against the judgment and recovery of fees? Guy sounds kind of flaky and may not have anything to go after at the end of the day. Are you budgeting in the value of your time you are about to spend even on a small claims action?

And not sure where you are, but there are usually fairly tight time and dollar limits on small claims actions. You may have to file a conventional suit at which point your costs go up substantially as attorneys will need to be involved. Many states do not require or even allow them in small claims actions.

Sometimes it is just best to cut your losses and chalk such things up to experience. I would definitely let the BBB and, if your state requires inspectors have licenses, file a complaint with the State. You may at least save the next person from such anxiety and anger.

Daniel Holzman 01-23-2012 09:34 AM

Before we convict, torture and hang the inspector, back up. Exactly what did the inspector promise to do in their inspection? In Massachusetts where I live, there is a common AASHI form used by most inspectors as a contract that explains exactly what they will and will not do, and walking on the roof IS NOT one of them. In general, the AASHI contract specifies that the inspector will verify the presence of specific items, and will check them to see if they appear to operate correctly (for example, they will check that an outlet works). They will not do invasive investigations, they will offer no structural opinions, they do not perform radon testing under their base contract, they don't walk on the roof, etc. etc.

So I suggest you read the contract you signed, and see if this individual in fact did what they were contractually obligated to do. Simply because they missed something does not automatically mean they are liable, they may not have been contractually obligated to look for that particular defect, it might have been hidden, or it might not have been present at the time of inspection (i.e. if they did the inspection in the summer, there would not be frost in the attic).

So start by reading your agreement, if they missed something important that they were contractually obligated to examine for, you may have a case. As to what you can collect, well there may be limitations written into the contract.

del schisler 01-23-2012 10:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Scully (Post 831051)
the home inspector who did my home inspection did such a lousy job that i had several contractors tell me that he basically did it blindfolded. he missed extremely glaring problems in the attic and crawl space, which is going to translate to huge and costly projects for me.

the home inspector is completely silent and won't respond at all. how successful will i be with taking him to small claims court?

What i would do first read the contract and see if they are sopose to do what you thank or know they missed ? Than i would see the license number and where it is isued from and see if it is up to date. And see if it is a state or county thing. than i would contact them first and see what they say. Lodge a complant if that is where they take them ? Than i would call with what you have found out and see what he thinks about it. Depends on what you find out. The small clames court is a waste of time. Even if you win they don't have to pay now than you have to move up the ladder and file to examage is assett's ect. Just a waste of time go the license way that should be enough to at least here from him .

AtlanticWBConst. 01-23-2012 11:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gregzoll (Post 831286)
the problem is, the contract that you signed with them, has most likely removed them from any liability. They are just a second set of eyes, and in most cases, you have found that they are not worth the paper you signed. You as a home owner should have known that you are the one responsible for reviewing the information that they gave you and it is always good to not use he seller's or the realtor's suggestion for a hi.

Depending on how your state holds them to a code of ethics, you can look at the info at ashi's site http://www.ashi.org/inspectors/state.asp if you really want to see that most do not have a clue, read through the forums at http://www.inspectorsjournal.com/


^^ this ^^

spiragui 01-23-2012 11:43 AM

Hi,

I had the same basic issue, although not to the same extent.

On the recommendation of our mortgage broker we used a certain company to perform our inspection. A couple of months after moving in our insurance company decided not to insure us anymore as the roof was shot, even though the inspector said in the report that there was probably another five years left in it.

When it all washed out we had to pay for a new roof, as the small print released all liability on behalf of the inspector. It has all been chalked up to experience, sore as it was at the time.

Our mortgage broker no longer recommends this inspection company, and he's a fairly prolific guy so the inspection company has probably lost out in the long run. Karma.

What p1$$ed me off about the whole thing is the whole 'we don't do the roof' attitude to home inspection. The roof is a substantial and critical component of the home, so for an inspection to say that because of the inherent hazards of getting on a roof we recommend getting an experienced roofer to look at it seems a bit of a cop-out. Why not get an electrician to double check the electrical outlets as electricity is inherently hazardous?

In my eyes they should have not commented at all on the condition of the roof if they are not permitted / prepared to do a thorough job. What's even worse is that the roof was wooden shake, and the roof was sheeted with OSB. Anyone with even a modicum of roofing experience will tell you that is not good, and an inspector with 20+ years of experience should have picked up on that, given that you can see the sheeting from the front doorstep on the overhang, never mind the fact he looked in the attic!

Spleen vented. I feel your pain.

Cheers
Chris

DrHicks 01-23-2012 12:05 PM

^^ The FHA "inspector" that inspected my son's home twice (he had to find some problems, in order to ensure that he had to come back and make sure everything was okay - for an additional $400) didn't notice a nearly 2 square foot HOLE in the roof - despite the fact that there was water damage directly under the hole. He did, however, notice that some paint was peeling on an unattached patio, and made them paint it. The guy was an idiot and/or a crook.

Fortunately, not all home inspectors are that crooked.

gma2rjc 01-23-2012 12:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by spiragui (Post 832092)
...... What p1$$ed me off about the whole thing is the whole 'we don't do the roof' attitude to home inspection. The roof is a substantial and critical component of the home, so for an inspection to say that because of the inherent hazards of getting on a roof we recommend getting an experienced roofer to look at it seems a bit of a cop-out. Why not get an electrician to double check the electrical outlets as electricity is inherently hazardous?.......

Cheers
Chris

Before committing to a 30-year house payment, you should be hiring an experienced licensed electrician to do an inspection. Also a professional roofer, licensed plumber, HVAC guy, etc. IMO it's worth the extra money.


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