Jump to content

Not My Client?


Recommended Posts

I did an Inspection in June of 04 I sub all my WDI work to another company that I've built a great relationship with. This house was a dud and the buyer couldn't get the financing to close anyway. The house sold in FEB of 05 to a new buyer whom I have never met. Sure enough two weeks into swarm season the get swarmers and proceed to sue the sellers. It turns out the seller told them that they just had an inspection and there were no WDI found so they forewent the Inspection.

Now the seller has called me for a copy of the report which is confidential and for the sole use of our original client. I guess she wants me to put my neck in a nuse, nuis, nuece... hanger thing (help me out there Texans). I tell her to go punt or I tell her you got it? Seems a bit hairy either way.

A side note: I'm new to this board (2 weeks) and I spent quite a bit of time reading through old threads and this truly is a great asset to any inspector looking for help to get it right. Thanks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm surprised a mortage company didn't require at least a WDI.

I would tell her to hit the road. As you said, she's not your client, she has no right to see anything someone else paid for.

Here in NJ, it's against the law to discuss any part of a home inspection with anyone besides your client unless your client gives you permission.

If she took you to court, I would think she would lose. She has no right to gain from something she hasn't paid for.

Just write here a letter explaining your position and see what happens.

Darren

www.aboutthehouseinspections.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know about damage. This house was a crater and should have been a Training fire for the Fire Dep. That was pretty close to what the home inspection said. The wiring was altered to say the least. There was an addition that had been built over an inaccessible crawl. The pool had frogs in it and cracks you could put your fist through. The "pool house" actually was partially collapsed.

I'm not worried about winning in court. I'm worried about a frivilous lawsuit that could cost me Thousands before a Judge throughs it out. I don't need the press either.

I don't know about law but My contracr with my client says that it is for there sole use and one copy may be provided to there agent and that any Info from that may only be used in regard to that client, who agrees to hold me harmless from any third parrty.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you subcontract out your WDI (WDO in some states) inspections you can distance yourself somewhat from the liability by having the client make out a seperate check to the pest control firm for that part of the inspection. Here in the sub-tropics, where there are only two kinds of houses 1.Those which have termites and 2. Those which will get them, the state resolves these disputes upon request. If the state inspector determines there was no visable evidence of termites at the time of the original inspection the appearance of swammers is considered a subsequent event and the original inspector is off the hook.

"NOOSE"

NORM SAGE

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've always found truth is the best way out. Tell the person what the deal is. Drive over & tell her in person; phone calls are very ineffective for this sort of communication.

I don't see where you're in the line of fire. Put the frivolous suit on ice by being the persons friend. If the person really wants to see it, she can subpoena the document anyway for a few bucks.

I'd try to put myself on good ground w/ the person in every way possible, but gently explain the report is off limits due to your own contract.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would check with my insurance carrier before I did anything (my carrier offers free legal advice on a pre-claim basis. I assume they have determined that this is a good investment for them because many times it heads off litigation issues before they become expensive legal cases. It does not affect my premiums or rating if the matter does not proceed).

My novice legal opinion is that the seller may need you as an expert to defend their position that they were not aware of a termite condition. If there is no visible damage, it will be difficult for the new owners to prove that there were termites in the house last year and it was not disclosed.

After getting the OK from my insurance carrier, I would respond to them and let them know that we do not have any relationship with the seller or eventual buyer. If they want to hire me as a paid expert to assist them in the potential defense of a claim, I would offer to help them only if I obtained permission from my client to share the confidential inspection information.

If you really think that the seller is trying to bring you in as a co-defendant, I would warn them that in your defense, you would need to testify to the poor condition of the home when you inspected it and why your client did not buy it. This may scare them off because you would help the buyer's case against the seller.

If there is no damage, the cost of a termite treatment is much less than litgating. If this is the only claim it probably won't go too far. Try to find out if there are other issues.

Good Luck.

Let us know how it turns out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks guys, I'm cool. Talked to a few lawyers said to stay away and keep my mouth shut. I'm clean but those two are going to go round and round[:-fight]

Not only my Inspection Agreement but also my COE make it very clear that my work is for my client only. The Realtor, who we shall refrain from calling nameZ, seems to have given the original owner a copy of my report with the WDI Report. They in turn told the new buyer (8 months later) that there was no need for a termite inspection because they just had one done and there were none. The ever trusting turnip I mean buyer said duh ok and passed on having their own $45 WDI Inspection done. I wonder if they feel like they saved anything? [:-dunce]

Hey Norm thanks for the Nuce heads up. Last year I couldn't spell Gradiate now I R 1. Spelling isn't my strong suit. Lived in Edgwater for a couple years- loved it. Too much trouble and too hard to study at Daytona Beach Community College, go figure. Got a brother in Hollandale, anyway Thanks.

You want to be careful what you ask your Insurer. They will report stuff to the company and your rates go up. Listen to Clark Howard on the radio he's a little weird but smart and CHEAP.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kurt, I tried to be nice because I want to help people but these people are all screwed up, the whole bunch of them. This Realtor who, in my view broke ethics, started getting real loud and obnoxious... right before I told her to find it herself. The home owner called my WDI guy and used bad words like- Liable - you are - lawyer. Right before he hung up[:-headpho

They can pay a lawyer to file the paper to sub-peanut my inspection which isn't going to help them any way. That buyer wasn't too bright to pass on any inspections per the recommendation of the seller. Hmmm let's see..."pay no attention to that man behind the curtain."[:-blindfo

Some people are funny and try as you might really don't want help.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Garcha

(in part) The Realtor, who we shall refrain from calling nameZ, seems to have given the original owner a copy of my report with the WDI Report. They in turn told the new buyer (8 months later) that there was no need for a termite inspection because they just had one done and there were none. The ever trusting turnip I mean buyer said duh ok and passed on having their own $45 WDI Inspection done. I wonder if they feel like they saved anything?

In AZ, a termite report is onlt good for 30 days. What is the time line in your state? This info could put the agent's butt in a nuce, nuic, knooose, or NOOSE!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

OOPS, we had trouble with that before. Norm straightened us out. It was "noose", like moose, or goose. Speaking of which anybody ever seen goose poop in a panel box before? No joke as soon as I figure out the pic thing I'll post it.

I think the agent is already in big trouble if she advised the owner on the results of the inspection. I don't know for sure but I want to say 30 days. Actually I want to say it has a tail-light warranty.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Gracha,

I looked it up if your guy uses the NPMA-33 form as required by HUD is says "For purposes of this inspection, wood destroying insects include: termites, carpenter ants, carpenter bees and reinfesting wood boring beetles. This inspection does not include mold, mildew or noninsect wood destroying organisms. This report shall be considered in valid for purposes of securing a mortgage and/or settlement of property transfer if not used within ninety (90) days from the date of inspection. This shall not be construed as a 90-day warranty. There is no warranty, expressed or implied, related to this report unless disclosed as required by state regulations or a written warranty or service agreement is attached."

So tail light warranty, but the lawyers havn't gotten to him yet. It's cheaper to treat it than defend it.

OH YA and I try to do what Kurt says as often as I can, but It doesn't always work, I'm sincere about it too. I don't ever want unhappy clients. You aren't dealing with "your" clients, you're dealing with some sucker that just trying to get over.

Hope that helps,

Bruce

:)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Bruce, My Bug guy is cool he's been at it for 16 years has done over 15,000 inspections. I'm the new guy that got a little rattled. Just a little though because I knew I ws right but I also knew that proving it could get expensive. Like I was saying earlier the house was a dud and I get the impression these people were trying to get some repairs out of the deal. Don't know don't care. The other thing is they changed forms on Jan 1 05 so what ever that's worth.

Thanks for looking it up. I'll look over his shoulder next time make sure it's the right form. NPMA-33

It's like I think Darren said something about how bad they can hate you until it's time for their inspection. I've had it happen several times and it feels good. [:-party]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...

Well here we are again same house and now the attorney for the seller would like a copy of my report. I guess I'll take up the cause and play nice if possible. If anyone has new ideas now would be a good time to express them before I become a story teller like Mike. Those were great stories Mike. They really made me feel good about what I'm doing. [:-shake]

Mike Garcia

Know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi,

The seller's attorney hoeft Dir hat eine Taube Nuss. Idiomatic German. Literally translated - You've got a pigeon's head on your shoulders, a pea-sized brain or you're brain dead.

There's some kind of principal in law that says anyone that relies on your report can sue you through a process called subrogation. Well, this person didn't have your report, but it looks like they intend to use subrogation to sue you. All they need to prove a case is a copy of the report and then they can prove that the seller was not lying to them when he/she represented that the home was free of termites - which will effectively lay it on your doorstep. The seller's attorney is attempting to do just that.

Do what your attorney said. Keep your mouth and your filing cabinets closed. At this point, the person who bought the house can't prove their case without the report, but they are fighting with the seller. The seller's attorney wants to get them off his client's back by having you not only do it for them, but to paint a big circle on your butt, bend over and take one for the team right up the ol' yazoo.

I'd tell the attorney to punt. The report was not done for that person and they have no right to it. Period.

Here's an alternate suggestion. Explain to that lawyer, through your own lawyer, that you did the report for your client and that it is good for your client, for that client's transaction only, that the seller had no right to use the results, whatever they were, without paying you for them first and entering into a separate agreement with you. Bottom line, you wouldn't release it to them because you don't have a contract with them. Then tell them that you'll be happy to do another pest inspection on the same home, but that his/her client will need to enter into a separate agreement under the same terms and pay the same fee. When the attorney starts to object to that, patiently explain that pest inspectors aren't required to have x-ray vision or have the powers of a swammi - so it's possible that when you go back conditions could have changed and you might find visible infestation that was heretofore concealed from view, so the results would be entirely different.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mike,

Thanks for laying out the clear path. I have a lawyer who is going to send the "go punt" letter for me. I just moved to Cincy about 4 months ago and now I can't seem to find the box that had my reports from that time period. I better look hard, I don't want to go to the po-po for contempt when they subpeanut the report. I certainly don't want to spend $$$ proving I'm innocent anyway.

Both the inspection report and the termite report noted Innaccessible crawl space under an addittion. The 4 hours I spent with my clients (who paid for my opinion) explaining to them the seriousness of a home with a leaking pool in the back yard and built into the woods except where they cleared out for the septic system and the high potential for future WDO...Does not account for a 22 page report that only discloses the visible conditions at the time of inspection. Proving that in court could be costly.

Mike Garcia

Dodge Ball?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...