Local News

Board Delays Decision on Facts-Only Home Inspection Reports

Posted November 9, 2007 5:50 a.m. EST
Updated November 9, 2007 6:22 p.m. EST

— The Home Inspector Licensure Board voted 4-2 Friday to delay a decision on a proposal that would limit what home inspectors can put in their reports.

The board sent the proposal to its rules committee for further review. They will discuss the issue again in a meeting scheduled for March.

Nearly 30 home inspectors protested outside the board's office Friday. A sign outside read, "inspectors won't be silenced."

Home inspections are not required in North Carolina, but they are usually recommended. An inspector can give his or her opinion in the report, but some people want to change that.

“It (the report) should give whoever, whether it's the buyer, seller, real estate agent, whoever, a picture in time of what that house looks like, what needs to be repaired, what needs further investigation and what safety concerns are if  they are of a factual nature," said James Liles, a member of the state Home Inspector Licensure Board that regulates more than 1,000 home inspectors statewide.

Liles is one of the board members who supports changing the rules to standardize home inspection reports.

"It tries to get as much opinion out of us as we can," Liles said.

However, some home inspectors said they were opposed to the idea. Earlier this week, Gov. Mike Easley sent a letter to board members, saying omitting inspectors' opinions could hurt the safety of potential home buyers.

"When you omit that sort of opinion, that sort of professional knowledge, which is what that would do, then you put the public in danger," said home inspector Bill Delamar.

Delamar said he believes that change could hurt buyers and make life easier for real estate agents.

"Unwitting buyers will walk into situations where they either have expenses or safety issues that are related to the lack of our ability to tell them what's going on with their house," he said.

Liles said he believes the board's decision on Friday was in line with what Easley had requested. He added that he will still advocate for the changes.

"I think it clearly says what the governor said in his letter," Liles said. "We need to be in lock step with the home inspectors, and let's come to an agreement and a compromise on being able to discuss safety issues.

"I would still like to see us address the issues. What type of changes are really something we need further discourse on."

State Insurance Commissioner Jim Long said he supports trying to reach some kind of compromise.

"Let's go back and re-work it some more. The issue here is safety of the homeowner," he said.