Ohio Home Inspection Licensing – HB 257

by Maureen McCabe on August 27, 2007

David Tamny of Professional Property InspectionsDavid Tamny
Professional Property Inspection

Home inspector licensing is in front of the Ohio legislature again this session.  A group of home inspectors calling themselves the Joint Legislative Commission has authored HB 257 with Representative Michelle Schneider of Cincinnati as the sponsor.

Currently there are 32 states with licensing laws for home inspectors with Florida being the latest after West Virginia to join the ranks.  This is not the first attempt to get something through the legislature with previous attempts in 1999 and 2006.  Neither of the previous bills got beyond the House Commerce and Labor Committee and it remains to be seen if this bill will make it through either.

Ohio lawmakers are somewhat reluctant to enact more government regulation when there is little demonstrated need in the marketplace.  Few consumers have really been harmed in a significant way by minimally qualified inspectors.  The amount of complaints with the Ohio Attorney General is minimal and so are lawsuits in the civil courts.  The one stakeholder group which has wanted to see home inspectors licensed for a long time is the Realtors.  They are concerned that home inspectors can continue to disrupt their transactions with no disciplinary measures other than the courts.  One person told me “we just want a way to discipline home inspectors who write bad reports”.  I guess that begs the question what is a bad report?  Hopefully the requirement is not whether a deal has gone south.

A recent study was performed by the Ohio Division of Real Estate through Belmont Technical College.  The study surveyed home inspectors, Realtors and Consumers in both licensed and unlicensed states.  Their conclusion was that the level of home inspection quality was not improved by licensing laws.  HB 257 requires 8 hours education about the law, the passage of the National Home Inspector Exam (NHIE) and General Liability Insurance in the amount of 100,000.  Thirty hours of continuing education are required over a two year period.  It also requires 10 parallel inspections under a licensed inspector.

It should be no surprise that home inspectors are divided over this legislation.  Many experienced inspectors feel that the requirements are too low.  Those that want to see high professional standards feel that a law like this will decrease the quality of an inspection as consumers will believe that all licensed inspectors are competent to inspect.  Other inspectors feel that high requirements are too restrictive and create a restriction of trade forming unreasonable barriers to entry and any law no matter what the requirements is better than no law.  All in all this should make for interesting debate this fall when hearings begin in the Ohio House.  A copy of HB 257 as well as an analysis of key problems with the bill is available at www.ohioinspectorlicensing.com.

David Tamny
Professional Property Inspection


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1 MaureenMcCabe August 27, 2007 at 06:47 am

Do you personally favor licensing of inspectors David? Or oppose it? Or are you on the fence?

I don’t really understand the comment about real estate agents or REALTORS® “They are concerned that home inspectors can continue to disrupt their transactions with no disciplinary measures other than the courts. One person told me “we just want a way to discipline home inspectors who write bad reports”.

I always thought licensing was about the consumer having recourse not about real estate agents. I never thought of real estate agents using licensing to discipline inspectors.

I have never looked at home inspectors disrupting a transaction, they are looking out for their clients interest. Hopefully they have the expertise to do so. It’s the consumers choice whom they bring to look out for their interest in a transaction. I thought licensing was just a way to weed out the people who have no expertise who might miss things for consumers.

I thought OAR’s support for licensing of home inspectors had to do with concern for consumers not concern for real estate agents but maybe it is just lip service. I will have to read up on it.

The Belmont Technical College study is interesting.

2 waynerucker August 10, 2009 at 03:39 pm

how do i get licensn for home insperor

3 MaureenMcCabe August 11, 2009 at 12:09 am

There is no licensing in the State of Ohio for home inspectors now.

Licensing is handled by the State of Ohio so you would go to their website and call them for any questions about licensing for any field.

4 Dave September 26, 2009 at 01:25 am

I don't see why the state would want to take on more expense of over paid state workers to do the testing, sitting in their office,etc. If they keep it up we will need a license to paint our house. all an inspector is. is another set of eyes to look over the home that you are thinking of buying and giving their opinion. we all know the real estate agent sure the hell isn't going to look that hard or tell you anything. I know I have bought a lot of homes.

5 MaureenMcCabe September 26, 2009 at 11:20 am

Thanks for the comment Dave. Dead issue, the state did NOT have the money.

Old post but thanks for the comment anyway.

You wrote:

"we all know the real estate agent sure the hell isn't going to look that hard or tell you anything"

Real estate agents are licensed by the state, to protect consumers from us if I understand it correctly. Real estate training does not give RE licensees any expertise or authority to "look that hard or tell you anything" about structure, maintenance, etc.

Again thanks for your thoughts!

6 Dave September 27, 2009 at 02:47 am

O ok thanks.

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