Whether you call them the walk & talk, or a partial inspection, consultation, and concierge, the Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing reminds licensees that any visual examination of the readily accessible components of a residential building for a client by a home inspector is a home inspection and must comply with Ohio license law and regulations set out of by the Ohio Home Inspection Board.
Those regulations include Standards of Practice and the Canons of Ethics. The Division reminds licensees of the following:
- Before starting a home inspection in Ohio, licensed home inspectors are required to have a written contract with the client.
- Home inspections must be performed pursuant to that contract.
- A “client” is a person who enters a written contract with a home inspector to retain, for compensation or other valuable consideration, the services of that home inspector to conduct a home inspection and to provide a written report on the condition of a residential building.
- Oral reports to the client or an agent of the client of the home inspector’s findings are prohibited.
The inspection of some, but not all, of the readily accessible components of a residential building as found in Ohio Administrative Rule 1301:17-1-17 by an Ohio licensed home inspector is permitted if all the following are satisfied:
- A written contract is entered into by the licensed home inspector and the client prior to the performance of any home inspection.
- The written contract clearly expresses or identifies the system(s) or component(s) of the property that will and will not be inspected by the licensee.
- The written contract clearly expresses or states the reason the system(s) or component(s) for the property was not inspected.
- The property’s systems and components which were inspected by the licensee must be inspected in compliance with Ohio laws and regulations.
- The licensee produces a written report for the client containing the licensee’s findings.
- The written report must be produced in compliance with Ohio laws and regulations. The written report must also clearly state, for the protection of all parties involved, those systems or components that were inspected and were not inspected by the licensee. For those systems or components not inspected, the reason those items were not inspected must be included in the written report.
Remember, if real estate licensees provide any home inspectors, the agent must provide at least three active home inspectors’ names to their clients (Ohio Revised Code § 4735.22). That means a home inspector may not offer to provide exclusive service to a real estate brokerage and/or agent.
Anne M. Petit
Superintendent, Division of Real Estate & Professional Licensing