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Hello all,

I recently inspected a home and the attic access panel was not properly installed/supported at the time of inspection. The panel could fall from the ceiling and pose

a safety issue.

I clearly stated this in the delivered report to my client(Buyer)and recommended repairs by a licensed contractor.

About 3 weeks later I get a call from the home owner saying that the panel had fallen from the ceiling, almost hit her and damaged the panel cover and the ceiling. She now says it is my fault that it fell and wants me to make the repairs or threatens a liability insurance claim if I dont fix it.

My question is, should I make the repairs and suck it up as I know for a fact I did nothing to cause the defect or should I be covered due to the fact that the defect was noted in the report.

Thanks for any input and thoughts.

Brian Burns

MHHI

Portland Or

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Originally posted by klondike97009

... I clearly stated this in the delivered report to my client(Buyer)and recommended repairs by a licensed contractor ....

Did you just hand over the paper report or e-mail it or have client (her) download it and call it good .... OR did you verbally go over the report and make her aware of all items of concern in same?

You can't assume they will read/understand every word or even take any action on anything in the report.

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Given the facts as you outlined them, I would not succumb to the pressure to repair the item. It is the responsibility of the client to read the report in its entirety, and it is not your responsibility to read it to them verbatim. While I often note that the attic scuttle is not what I would like to see, it is not an item that would make it onto a summary page, as it is a minor issue. When I first started in this business, I always wanted to please everyone. I have since learned that you can not please everyone. While Nolan suggests that we should go over the report with the client, it is still incumbent on the client to read the report.

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"About 3 weeks later I get a call from the home owner saying..."

I think Brian B. might be stating that the seller, not his client, is calling for repair. If that's the case, I would ask if she was given a copy of the report showing it was already a problem. Then I would explain that I don't fix stuff that I find and report as wrong. I know, they'll say it was fine 'till YOU showed up.

In 21 years, I have replaced:

  • A cheap plastic shower head (snapped off in my hand).
  • A section of oak flooring (the dishwasher wouldn't turn on when I was there, but magically ran, long after I left the vacant guest cottage.
  • The contents of one freezer.

Sometimes I need to learn the hard way, but I wouldn't consider a claim for something that failed due to a reported condition.

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Did it fall when she touched it or does she say she just happened to be standing nearly under it when by magic it fell?

Did your buyer not continue with the purchase?

How does she know that someone else didn't poke their head up there durring a showing?

You know what lady I put it back carefully but noted that if not carefully installed it might fall so its more likely someone else touched it.

Thread drift

I once poked my head into a tub shower behind a shower curtain for some reason didn't see anything and ran the shower. Later got a call from the agent that I had soaked a brand new package of toilet paper. - inspector blindness I guess.

Chris, Oregon

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Was the seller home during the inspection? I would have pointed this issue out to someone if it was ready to fall off the ceiling. How were you able to secure it when you were complete?

If it was a safety issue, as you stated, perhaps some mention of that to the seller or seller's rep was in order.

Dom.

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Hi,

Cost-wise, a piece of drywall or plywood for a hatch is negligible. However, it sounds like she thinks that the inspection she was provided was also a homeowner's warranty, in which case, fixing this with the idea of promoting good will with the customer could backfire. Fix one thing, and she may call you every time a light bulb burns out or something wears out. How about when the dishwasher breaks or the water heater reaches end of service life? Nope, time to put your foot down.

You've stated it in your report. It was up to her to have it fixed, or not, before close of escrow. It's not your responsibility. Actually, it doesn't sound like the hatch missed her - it sounds like it hit her square on the head and knocked her common-senseless.

This kind of thing can be prevented if you are very careful during the pre-inspection phase to make sure that the client understands that you are not a warranty company and that they should not bother to call you to demand correction of minor issues, because minor issues are not what they hire you to find.

When I go over the PIA with a customer, I tell them that, in order for me to accept responsibility for an issue, it will need to meet the following criteria:

1. It must be something that must be inspected under the NAHI or ASHI standard of practice.

2. It must have been exposed to view and apparent on the time and date of the inspection.

3. It must be something that a reasonable person must have been expected to find.

4. It must be a major issue. This is the one I explain the most clearly to them. I make sure they understand it must be something like a bad roof, bad plumbing, bad heating system, bad framing, serious electrical issues, bad foundation, wood rot, insects or structural issues that weren't reported, etc.. In other words, things that will cost them significantly to correct, not things that can be corrected for less than a couple hundred bucks. I cite examples like loose doorknobs and hinges, cracks in drywall that have nothing to do with structural issues, worn-out faucet washers, appliances of any type and age, etc., and tell them, "Don't even bother to call me for things like that, because I won't even come out." They don't.

You found it, you reported it to her in writing and now she's hassling you about having it fixed. Clearly, she didn't understand the terms of the PIA, or she wouldn't have called you at all. You did have a PIA, didn't you?

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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WOOOOOOOOO! is the inspection for the client or the seller? We all know the answer to that question if we are working for the buyer, and we all know that at the end of the report it says to read the damn thing. Just forget it. If the agent is that petty you don't need his work because when the next one has a problem he will call you again and again and again and again. I think you get my point.

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  • 5 months later...
Originally posted by sbrooten

Given the facts as you outlined them, I would not succumb to the pressure to repair the item. It is the responsibility of the client to read the report in its entirety, and it is not your responsibility to read it to them verbatim. While I often note that the attic scuttle is not what I would like to see, it is not an item that would make it onto a summary page, as it is a minor issue. When I first started in this business, I always wanted to please everyone. I have since learned that you can not please everyone. While Nolan suggests that we should go over the report with the client, it is still incumbent on the client to read the report.

Ditto. You reported this as a defect and the home owner is a moron if they want to push this unto you.

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