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Can someone provide me with a copy of a hold harmless agreement or the main verbage so I can create one myself.

Situation is I conducted a HI in August on a home with a tile roof. I indicaed verbally, in writting ,and in pictures that there was water damage in the attic and some of the 1x would need replaced. I could not tell if the leak was active since it had not rained for sometime. Everything was dry at time of inspection and there were no signs of water damage on the ceilings inside the house.

I get a call on Friday that the roof is leaking and there is now a hole in the ceiling of the living room, no roofing company in the area deals with tile roofs, and it is going to cost a lot to replace the 1x and fix the leak. blah blah blah,

Anyway, as I'm not use to havng unhappy customres, and in hopes that I can talk reason with this couple I will revist their home tomorrow, to see what is going on. I have a signed contract and may refund the cost of the inspection depending on what I find and what is said; and would like a hold harmless in case I do provide a refund.



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If you told them that the roof needed work, don't refund the fee! It is their fault that they did not do as you told them. It sounds like you reported everything that you could have reported. It is not your fault that the roof is leaking.

You want a Release of Liability letter or agreement. It is a letter that says you are refunding them their fee and that you are not responsible for anything.

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Uh uh.....

I look @ a lot of old tile roofs. From what you've said here, you didn't tell them near enough about their roof system. Telling them about a water stain, and then saying you can't tell if it's still leaking, and then telling them they might need to replace some of the 1x's is dancing around a very large topic; you gave them some barely related snapshot comments about something that has a lot of details that matter. Matter a lot.

There's no such thing as an "old" leak in an old tile roof system. If it leaked, it's highly likely it's still leaking. If the flashings & felts are original, it's highly likely they need new flashing & felt, or at least a partial. If there's no one in the area that does tile roofs, I'm betting the roof has never had anything done to it. Ever.

If you can get out from under this one w/the simple return of the fee, GIVE THEM BACK THE FEE.

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Thanks Kurt,

There are details I did not include in my post and the extent of what I explained does go beyond what I wrote above. I simply provided TIJ a summary.

The front section of the roof tiles had been replaced, (I do not know by who or why they did not replace the 1x) the damage was under this section of the roof, so the damage could have been pre-repair. Since nothing was wet and there was no damage inside the house I told them I did not know if the leak had been fixed by the new tiles, but since the 1x needed replacement they would have to remove some of the tiles (and while there at it the felt and flashing) which would give them a better look at the condition of what lay underneath....

Tile roof are few and far between in this area and I admit I do not know a lot about them. But in this case I did indentify that repairs were required, the full extent of those repairs would have to be determined by the roofing company; I was honest in the fact that I did not know if it was still leaking. I don't know if I'll return their fee or not, but I wanted a hold harmless in my back pocket in case I do decide to.

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Here is the one I have.


Subject: Agreement of Resolution

Reference: Property as

This agreement between Phillip R. Smith Sr. dba Home Sweet Home Inspections (herein identified as the company), and ___________________________________________________ (buyer of the referenced property above) is a complete and final resolution of any errors or omissions which, may have resulted in inconveniences, costs of repair or replacement of any or all items regarding the inspection or reporting and any pain and/or suffering related to or the results of the inspection process and or reporting of the above referenced property.

The buyer agrees to accept the sum of $ , paid by the company, as full compensation or restitution for any damages, errors, omissions, inconveniences, pain and/or suffering.

By receipt of compensation, the buyer acknowledges final resolution and no further compensation; legal actions or complaint-type actions will be alleged or sought by the buyer to the company, its representatives or inspectors.

This agreement is acknowledged as signed by:

_____________________ ____________________

, Buyer Date

_______________________ ____________________

Phillip R. Smith Sr. Date

Home Sweet Home Inspections

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Originally posted by kurt

Good luck.

If you want some better reportage for old tile roofs, let me know. I know you think what you told them is adequate; it is not.

(I only know 'cuz I've been there.)

I see a learning moment coming down the pike.

Mark, if you're up for it, post the roofing section of that report and let Kurt rip it.

My own knowledge of tile roofs is weak and I'd rather learn from your mistakes than my own. (If I believed in emoticons, I'd put a smiley here.)

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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The one sample of a release in this thread seems to me to be missing some important stuff: In general terms, the release should bind the client, and any and all assignees or other parties who derive any interest from the client. It should also apply to the inspector and anyone or anything that derives an interest from the inspector

It probably should also have an indemnification by the client of the inspector should any such claims be assserted againt the inspector or assignees yada yada.

There might be some other areas with less than complete coverage. (I used to practice law and could pump out indemnification and hold harmless agreements in my sleep, but that was a long time ago and might have only be truly effective in one state.)

This is all pretty much boilerplate - every state will have its own variations because of differences in the case law in each state.

And I use the term "boilerplate" in its real/original meaning: bullet-proof, incapable of being pierced. Good stuff. The lawyers (and client's friend.)

Contracts have lots of "boilerplate" becasue it is tried and true.

IMO, each inspector should get a form holdharmless/indemnification from their own attorney

(Otherwise, it's like someone buying a house based an old inspection report prepared for some other buyer.)

Since it is boilerplate, it shouldn't cost too much to get one from your attorney. [Added on edit]

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Hi All,

For those of you who don't know who Rob is (rjw), I'll just say that when it comes to stuff like this you'd be well advised to listen to him. The guy is a real honest-to-goodness legal beagle.

Kurt, while I agree with everything you said about the physical aspects of that tile roof in your first post to this thread, it sounds to me like it's the customer who is at fault. If Mark told the customers way back in August that there are signs of a previous leak, said he doesn't know whether it's still leaking, and told them they had damage that needed to be repaired, and they still bought the house, the fact that the ceiling has caved in now is on them. They obviously bought the house and didn't have a roofer look at the roof and repair it, so any damage is a consequence of their own negligence, not Mark's.

If an inspector works hard to identify issues for his or her client, and the client then completely ignores the inspector's advice, or, worse yet, negotiates money off on the cost of the house based on the anticipated cost of a repair recommended in the inspector's report to them (Don't know whether that's the case here, but my experience has been that it is usually the case.), they certainly shouldn't be entitled to any refund.

I tell customers that a house is a huge maintenance item waiting to be worked on, and that, even if they fix every issue that I identify and report to them, that there will constantly be more cropping up and that complacency, where a home is concerned, can, and will, cost them a lot of money.

It's certainly not what they want to hear and the 'zoids get pissed when they hear me tell clients that, but it's the truth and we (home inspectors) shouldn't have to be hurt when the people who pay us to explain stuff to them completely ignore our words.

Maybe I'm being too strict about this kind of thing, but this business is tough and the profit margins are low enough as it is, without refunding money to every customer who starts sniveling about things that they themselves allow to happen.



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Excuse my seeming arrogance Mr. O', but, no.

I've looked @ hundreds of old tile roofs. I've been mauled in years past when the simple things I said (almost exactly the sorts of things our brother said, and that you agreed with) left me looking stupid; very, very stupid. I distinctly remember thinking all the right things to say, and then deciding that I didn't want to upset folks too bad, so I said the sorts of things our friend said.

I paid. Thankfully, before this strange thing that we do got litigious, so I was able to get out from under the thing w/a few hairs on my ass.

Old tile roof owners either know this stuff, or they will know this stuff when the start getting repair bids. We should know this stuff too, before we learn it the hard way.

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I never consider you to be arrogant, Old Friend. Let's put aside the fact that it's a tile roof and just deal with what he said he reported and the fact that it could be any type of roof.

He saw a roof with obvious signs of recent repairs, but, despite the repairs, found water damage in the attic that hadn't been repaired and still needed to be repaired. There weren't any water stains on the ceilings or signs of damage to the ceiling. The fact that the ceiling wasn't stained under obvious damage isn't that unusual. The ceiling could have recently been repaired or at least painted, the insulation in the attic under that area could have been removed and replaced.

He reported the type of roof, the fact that there were signs of repairs and the fact that the roof still needed further repair. The obvious question - was it leaking - was impossible to answer, because it was August and it wasn't raining (I'm presuming). He reported all of that to the client and recommended that the client get the roof stripped off and the rotten one-by repaired and then the roof restored. He told the client that the roofer would need to identify what, if any, other repairs would be necessary.

The fact that it's a tile roof is secondary. He has discharged his duty to the client. He identified the roofing materials, he reported signs of recent repairs and the fact that repairs under that exact area had yet to be repaired, and he recommended that the client get a roofer out to strip off the cover, repair the damage, make any other repairs needed and then restore the cover.

That seems pretty cut-and-dried. Why should he now consider refunding his hard-earned money for doing exactly what he was paid to do?

Make me smarter 'old buddy.



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Rob, can you explain this further? Who might be assignees and other parties who derive an interest from the client?

In general terms, the release should bind the client, and any and all assignees or other parties who derive any interest from the client. It should also apply to the inspector and anyone or anything that derives an interest from the inspector

Chris, Oregon

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This is forshorted because I'm watching the Giants & Iggles, so....

That's what one says about a simple asphalt roof; folks walk away from those comments thinking it's not particularly complicated.

Whoa...touchdown Iggles! ahem.....

So, once we're gone, realtor spin makes it all sound relatively simple, and by association, cheap.

Then, the problem. Experts come out. They start talking about stuff like felts & fasteners, w/multiple comments of "didn't your inspector tell you about this stuff?"

The experts point the obvious fact that there's a leak, and it was never repaired completely or properly. Maybe there's a couple damage tiles. If they're Ludowice tiles, a simple hip cap can run $350, and that's before they put it on a boat in Italy to send it over here.

Or maybe the glaze has crackled, and there's lots of tiles that need replacement. That can run to several thousand dollars. So's folks know, all those tiles, if they needed replacement (which can happen), might run around $100,000 just for material.

Then, you get a client that starts wailing that the tile roof is what they like the most; that's why they bought the house. And all that great copper flashing that goes with it, that's probably shot & needs replacement; tack on another $50,000.

Maybe it's just a "simple" refelting...

Shit; Manning was picked off! He's 1 for 7 fer chrissakes.... ahem....

If it's a simple refelting, you might be able to get out for a relatively small sum, like around $15,000, but that's for just one roof plane.

Those messed up 1x's? How do you get at 'em without moving all those tiles? Lift up tons of tiles, move 'em, refelt, then reinstall the tiles. Oh, since they have to be reinstalled, you get to find out what copper nails cost per pound; do your homework on copper nails.

Depending on the complexity of the roof, this stuff can get really, really ugly. Or not.

Until I have a lot of specific details, it's hard to know about any of this stuff. Mayb it's just a simple bungalow. Maybe it's just a simple lead boot @ a plumbing vent stack; that might get cleaned up for around $1500, not including scaffolding costs, which might run another $1500.

There's reasons that folks, when faced w/tile roof repairs, sometimes start liking the look of the new Certainteed fancy schmantzy shingles, 'cuz it'll only cost them around $20,000.

If one isn't educating the customer about all the particulars of (historic) tile roofing systems, they have no frame of reference for even beginning to know what it might cost, who might do it, and what the logistical requirements are.

One would be WAY better off simply saying "I don't know squat about tile; there's obviously been a problem and fixing tile roof problems can be whacko expensive. Don't move a millimeter to ink a contract until a tile expert, one who only does tile roof work, has a real look @ this and tells you what it's going to cost to repair or replace it. Not a stinking millimeter."

It is impossible to overstate this stuff. It can get really, really expensive to fix tile roofing. I'm aware of several that cost in excess of $150,000 just 'cuz the folks like tile.

Maybe he did just what he was supposed to do. Most of us think what we're supposed to do is educate the customer; at least, that's what I think. If all one says is a couple comments about "a leak, new, old, I don't know, needs repair, maybe, I don't know, 1x's, hey, I don't know...", maybe they can get off on the "I don't know part".

But, in my market, that probably wouldn't fly; it would make the lawyers smile.

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I've been through this with a few attorneys, Chris, mostly chicks I've dated, and who now hate my guts. It's unlikely that the sample release-agreement in this thread was constructed by an attorney because it isn't binding enough. The language protecting Phillip individually and as a business isn't strong enough, and typically the owner's name would be followed by something like, " . . . and all heirs, successors, and assigns . . . " I'm not bright enough to tell you the exact language that should be in place, but these things are fairly common and your attorney is the source to locate the proper wording for your state, like Rob said.

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Where is the word educate in the SOP's?

Where is the word inform?

My SOP says indicate whether or not the item is satisfactory or not and state whether item is not functioning as intended.

OK Chris don't be rediculous. Smile.

I am very interested in this discussion because I have been burned by clients who claim that I didn't say enough to alert them to the potential issues even though I had told them it was wrong and that they needed to have it looked at by a qualifed person.

Like Kurt said they will have all these opinions later that the inspector should have informed them better as to the potential seriousness of such defects as they are well known to anyone in the trade.

But on the other hand that is what punting over the wall to a qualifed person was suppose to do.

However in this case our Oregon SOP further requires us to state how habitability may be affected where an item has been deemed not functioning as intended by the inspector and that is the caveat that has tangled me up.

ASHI standard 2.2.C.3 says maybe something similar - reasoning or explanation as to the nature of deficiencies reported in 2.2.C.1 that are not self-evident.

Is this the backdoor that Kurt is refering to?

Chris, Oregon

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Kurt, I'm also a bit confused with your conclusions and agree with Mike O.

Obviously you are knowledgeable about tile roof systems but as a home inspector providing a visual and general assessment of the roof system, what would you have told the clients?

Perhaps, as Jim suggested, re-starting this thread in another forum may be appropriate so we can discuss the ins and outs.

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Kurt’s right. The reason is the liability incurred should one miss or not understand deficiencies within a tile roof that could wind up costing the client tens of thousands of dollars. SOPs aside—because on a witness stand, a home buyer will merely state that he doesn’t know enough about construction to understand the SOPs in the first place, and this is the bloody roof, for crying out loud, that’s gonna cost a fortune to repair—if you don’t know enough about tile roofs to reasonably protect yourself and the home buyer, you should punt and refer out.

I think referring out is wimpy, just like most of the rest of you. But sometimes it’s necessary to look after the interest of you and your buyer.

The Giants are driving. Could it happen?

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Mike , Kurt I appreciate your opinions and the time you put on this board. I learn from you both everyday. Kurt I would love some better reportage for old tile roofs, since you offerd. I'm sure I could have explained more to the customer and your experiance will go a long way the next time I'm faced with a tile roof. But honestly, the way I see his complaint about a hole and water leaking through the living room ceiling is that at the time of the inspection there was no hole and no indication of recent water intrusion. If it was old or new damage is second to the fact he was told repairs were needed and those repairs would involve removing sections of the roof and the reinstalation should resolve any leaks.

It has been a very stressful new year and my ego is not up to posting my report on this roof, so forgive me for declining the invention to have it riped up, my wife is doing that just fine recently. I'll post the outcome on this issue for those interested.

I've attached a few pictures; the damage is under the center section of the roof, and yes I did address the fungi growing on the rafters, and yes I know there is plastic in the attic and the newspaper under it was dated from 6 years ago.

Well I was going to attach the pics, but I've never done it on a reply and I don't see the "upload linked file" I usually see.

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Originally posted by Bain

The Giants are driving. Could it happen?


And now, back to our regularly scheduled program.....

I respect anyone's opinion about how this should be reported. I honestly hope our brother slides through this & everything is OK. My original comment is more about getting on the other side of this, than attempting to tell folks how to report on tile roofs. Point being, if you can make folks happy about a tile roof by the simple act of giving back the inspection fee, for Gods Sake, give it back.

I'm not going holy on this thing; I know what I know because I said things wrong years ago & got educated the hard way. Much of this depends on specifics that I don't know anything about.

I'll leave it @ saying don't say a darn thing about tile roofs if you are not intimately familiar w/the dozens of particulars they encompass. Small vague "correct" statements can get you hung as easily as something that's wrong.

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Hi Again,

Kurt, I agree with everything you said, but, again, it is secondary to the inspection. Of course, if I were inspecting a home with a tile roof, I would make sure that the client knows that roof repairs on a tile roof can be very expensive. However, that aside, if one makes it clear to the client that a roof needs repair now, and nothing more, you've done what he or she paid you for. If they blow you off, they do not have a right to cry foul later. That's all I'm saying.

If you take your truck to the shop for an oil change, and the mechanic tells you that you've got worn out brake pads that need to be replaced now, do you have a right to go back to that mechanic and snivel, when you don't get the pads fixed right away and months later they end up scoring, and ruining, your brake rotors? I don't think so - not even if the mechanic didn't tell you how much it would have cost to have it done. He just gave you the information - you failed to act on it and that's on you, not the mechanic.

I always write a report with the idea in mind that the client should insist on repairs prior to closing. I know that many of them don't. In fact, I know that realtors make a point of trying to get the lowest bids possible, or they try and talk the clients out of insisting on the repairs prior to closing, in order to try and keep the deal together. I know that. It's the way of the world and there's nothing I can do about it in the context of the current real estate sales environment.

I don't have the means, or the ambition, to follow clients around to ensure that they do what common sense tells them to do, and I certainly won't bend over and take it up the backside with a smile, when they come back to me crying that something cost them more than they thought it would, because they never bothered to follow my recommendations to obtain estimates for what those repairs would cost prior to closing, like I'd told them to do in my report.

I also don't want them calling me to carp about the fact that one contractor says he can do the job for this much when another guy says it can't be done for less than several thousand dollars more. I just don't want to go there. Maybe it's just me, but I think there's a difference between providing good customer service and coddling them and I prefer the former. Educate them and give them the tools to work with, but don't try and do their thinking for them and don't take the blame when they get upset that you didn't. That's what this curmudgeon is saying.



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Originally posted by AHIS

Well I was going to attach the pics, but I've never done it on a reply and I don't see the "upload linked file" I usually see.

That's because you are replying in the quick reply box. Click the "reply to topic" selection, instead of doing a quick reply, and you'll see it.

OT - OF!!!


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Mark, for what its worth like Kurt and many others here, I have been there. And the wife thing, I always say that my wife is the worst boss I have ever had and she knows that I say that. I nearly quit after a close call a few years ago where the client had me over a barrel.

Thank you for posting, you have brothers here.

Chris, Oregon

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These things happen to all of us, and I'm sorry the New Year isn't beginning the way you would have hoped. Be sincere and polite when you talk to your customer tomorrow, but don't cede any ground vis a vis whether you properly performed your job four months ago. That isn't a debate your customer is qualified to participate in, so don't waste your time.

Sometimes people just like to vent, or to have someone to talk to who--ostensibly, anyway--cares about their problem. I wouldn't offer to refund the money you earned unless the guy turns out to be a real ass. And if it comes to that, tell him you'll return with a Release of Liability document from your attorney in exchange for the dough.


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Why do the standards require we report on the type of roof? Behind this requirement is a reason. I follow Kurt's opinion. Simply "checking" Tile roof would not help the client. Look at the ASHI Experience. It's education.

A friend asked me to inspect a home with a slate roof a year or so ago. There are few of those in my market. I studied the product a bit and then performed the inspection. I found a couple of defects I would not have otherwise found. He did follow my advice and collect estimates before signing the dotted line. My guess on the repairs was 5K. The work was to have cost 10 times that.

We are generalist. Generally we should know what can be costly. (by the way that is all I told my friend on price) Looking at the mechanics of a tile roof should tell us the scale of the cost.

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