A home inspection is done in order to detect and identify repairs that need to be made. They are often required by a local municipal board to ensure the home meets safety and zoning standards. They can also be requested privately by people looking to buy or sell a home.
Home inspections are also common when building additions or annexes to the home, such as when installing a patio. In such cases, a home inspection would be needed to determine if the new structure is allowed by housing laws and if the structure would meet safety standards.
What are some examples of home inspection fraud or scams?
A common form of home inspection fraud occurs when an inspector makes a false report. The report generally indicates that a certain repair is necessary, when in reality it is not necessary to repair it at all. This usually happens when the inspector advertises his own separate and private repair services alongside the repair services offered by the inspection. You should be wary of any inspector who offers repair services as a package with their inspections and to report it. To avoid this type of fraud, many states do not allow inspectors to make repairs to a home until after a certain waiting period, such as one year after the inspection.
Another type of home inspection scam involves the sale and purchase of a home. Sometimes a home inspector will work to conspire with a buyer and create a false report. The report will state that the seller needs to do certain repairs or installations before the buyer will consider buying the home. It turns out that the repairs didn’t really have to be done, so the buyer essentially receives free “repairs” or installations, and the inspector is paid for his or her additional work. Sometimes the inspector will work with the seller and force the buyer to pay for false repairs.
This is a particularly noteworthy type of home inspection fraud because home inspection reports are often not intertwined at any point in the purchase or sale of the property, between the buyer and the seller. And it has the consequences that many sellers or buyers cannot verify that a home inspection report is really true.
A home inspector can also be held liable for failing to identify a defect. They can be held liable if they have breached any of the provisions of the contract. Home inspector liability laws vary from region to region.
How Can You Prevent Home Inspection Fraud?
With regard to the first type of home inspection fraud, you should always prevent repairs from being performed by the same person who inspected the home. You must make the inspector, a particular person from the company or entity to whom this action is being requested, carry out the inspection and then other personnel assigned by these same entities separately execute the repairs or installations. Always verify that the inspector has a valid license and has no history of fraud.
If you are looking to buy or sell a home, you may consider hiring your own inspector, even if the other party claims they will provide one for you. That way, you can compare the results of multiple inspections. Take note of any figures or claims that seem suspicious. In any case, always ask to see the inspection report and verify that it is not fraudulent.
Finally, you should always submit your inspection requests in the form of an offer. Inform prospective inspectors that you have several offers to offer to other inspectors that you are considering hiring. If an inspector knows that other inspectors will review their prices and costs, they will be less likely to commit fraud out of fear of exposure.
Do you need legal counsel for home inspection fraud or inspection scams?
If you feel that you have been the victim of home inspection fraud, you should contact legal counsel immediately. You may be able to recover financial losses in a court of law. Also, you may want to hire a real estate legal advisor to negotiate the inspection contract if you are in the process of buying or selling a home or other real estate and have the legal advisor review the transactions for your peace of mind and security.