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Real Estate, Licensing

Clearly defined standards needed for home inspectors

Toronto real estate lawyer Anar Dewshi says the provincial government’s plan to introduce regulations for home inspections is much needed as there are currently no clearly defined standards.

“Home inspectors are routinely used by purchasers as part of their due diligence process to identify defects and issues with the property they wish to purchase,” says Dewshi, principal of Dewshi Law Practice. “Right now, anyone can call themselves a home inspector because the industry is not regulated by the provincial government.”

As the CBC reports, Consumer Services Minister Marie-France Lalonde announced Bill 165 would require home inspectors to be licensed, sets minimum standards for contracts and home inspection reports, and establishes a body to administer and enforce the licensing and regulations.

Dewshi, who is also a licensing and compliance lawyer, says home inspectors are not currently mandated to adhere to prescribed legislative standards and vary greatly in terms of their education, skills and knowledge. 

“Without legislation and regulations, home inspectors are not required to undergo specialized training or education, nor are they required to maintain and update their knowledge and skills on a regular basis,” she tells AdvocateDaily.com.

Under the recently introduced bill — the Licensed Home Inspectors Act, 2016 — home inspections can only be carried out by qualified, licensed home inspectors. Dewshi notes licenses will only be issued by the governing body to those who meet the prescribed requirements and pay the accompanying fee.

Every home inspector license is subject to the following conditions:  

  • The licensee must meet the prescribed standard of practice;
  • The licensee must comply with the code of ethics established in the regulations;
  • The licensee must maintain the minimum insurance requirements set out in the regulations; and
  • The licensee must meet any other conditions prescribed by the regulations.

“The Registrar may refuse to issue a license if the applicant does not meet the prescribed legislative requirements,” she says. “The Registrar will issue a Notice of Proposal in which it will provide written reasons for refusal to grant a home inspector license. Every applicant has the right to appeal the Registrar’s decision before the License Appeal Tribunal.”

Moreover, Dewshi adds, the Registrar will have the authority to revoke, suspend or renew a license if the licensee breaches a condition or no longer meets the prescribed requirements.

Ontario began discussions with industry experts in 2013 to draft a report surrounding plans to license home inspectors, she says.

“A couple of notable recommendations were that inspectors would be required to pass a written exam and a field test in order to become licensed and that there would be a single, clearly defined standard for all home inspections.”

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