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Inspector Says He Never Saw the Damage - Might Pay


hausdok
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Elizabethton, TN

Donna Pearce will be auctioning off her house in a scenic portion of Lynn Valley this weekend and she is making sure the next buyers know more about the flaws in the house than she did when she bought it.

Pearce is in a lawsuit with the former owners, Christopher and Amelia Muncey. She alleges they violated the Tennessee Residential Property Disclosure Act by saying there were no defects to the house from the intrusion of water and that a 2002 fire in the kitchen had been repaired “as new.â€

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One must give some thought as to why the new owners are asking twice the damages from the inspector.

Little story: I helped defend an inspector that freely admitted he had not seen a broken window during the inspection. All the glass had broken away and only the sash remained. He looked at the entire window, but never operated it, nor made any representation that he had done so. Judge ruled the inspector had exercised reasonable care and simply missed the missing glass. The buyers had no reasonable expectation to believe the inspector would see and report on everything and dismissed the action.

In this case, I believe the inspector likely was not conditioned to report facts. Maybe just report his opinion. He may have thought his responsibility ended with owner's disclosure.

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Originally posted by hausdok

Elizabethton, TN

Donna Pearce will be auctioning off her house in a scenic portion of Lynn Valley this weekend and she is making sure the next buyers know more about the flaws in the house than she did when she bought it.

Pearce is in a lawsuit with the former owners, Christopher and Amelia Muncey. She alleges they violated the Tennessee Residential Property Disclosure Act by saying there were no defects to the house from the intrusion of water and that a 2002 fire in the kitchen had been repaired “as new.â€

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Originally posted by Les

One must give some thought as to why the new owners are asking twice the damages from the inspector.

Little story: I helped defend an inspector that freely admitted he had not seen a broken window during the inspection. All the glass had broken away and only the sash remained. He looked at the entire window, but never operated it, nor made any representation that he had done so. Judge ruled the inspector had exercised reasonable care and simply missed the missing glass. The buyers had no reasonable expectation to believe the inspector would see and report on everything and dismissed the action.

In this case, I believe the inspector likely was not conditioned to report facts. Maybe just report his opinion. He may have thought his responsibility ended with owner's disclosure.

Who sues over a broken window? Around here, the glass in a double-pane can be replaced for $150.00 or so depending on the size.

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I'm thinking that this might have been one of those situations where an inspector didn't go into an attic and might have stood in the opening peering around with a flashlight. It's not hard to understand one's duty insofar as seeing burnt structural members goes; you just report it the way you'd expect any inspector working for you to report it to you so that you at least know about it.

In the case of a fellow simply standing on a ladder in the hatchway, if you've got an L-shaped house and the damaged area is in the wing of the attic that's not visible from the hatch, you're not likely to see the damage. Then the issue becomes whether you could have/should have climbed up into the attic to see that wing that you can't see from the hatch. If the engineering firm demonstrates that he could have easily done that, because they did it, he might have a hard time avoiding culpability.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Taken as a breed, TN HIs aren't great explainers. . Deep sigh...
Does that apply to Virginia inpectors also, or just this numb skull?

This leads to an interesting thought, what are the ramifications of inspecting across state lines? I am about 45 minutes from PA, and I know that PA will accept my NY license, but NY would not aprove if it were the other way around.

Tom

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Another problem Mr. Spence has is that he is not shown on the state website to have a license in Tennessee. So, if he did perform an inspection without a license, then he will have to deal with the state after the lawsuit. The state will most likely wait for the civil action to end. I know of a NC inspector who was fined $2,000 for working in TN without a license. Similar situation, he was named in a lawsuit and Bingo!

Not having a license in a licensed state will not help his case.

The silly thing is that he was most likely told the home had a fire. This should be a BIG RED FLAG that you need to really look for covered up fire damage.

Don't forget that lawsuits have multiple sides, views, opines and just about everything is exaggerated. Kind of like being married! [:-paperba

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Originally posted by Tom Raymond

Taken as a breed, TN HIs aren't great explainers. . Deep sigh...
Does that apply to Virginia inpectors also, or just this numb skull?

This leads to an interesting thought, what are the ramifications of inspecting across state lines? I am about 45 minutes from PA, and I know that PA will accept my NY license, but NY would not approve if it were the other way around.

Tom

Most of the states will offer reciprocity if a state has similar, equal or gratet requirements. The state will offer reciprocity on your license, they will not accept it. This means that you still have to apply, pay and obtain a license in every state that you work in.

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Originally posted by Scottpat

The silly thing is that he was most likely told the home had a fire. This should be a BIG RED FLAG that you need to really look for covered up fire damage.[:-paperba

Roger that!

The second paragraph of the article states that the sellers had said that damage from a 2002 kitchen fire had been repaired "as new." I can't think of anyplace where burnt structural components are considered "as new." If they really did say that, logic dictates that the the buyer must have said something to the inspector, no? I dunno, I've never had a house where there'd been a fire and my client knew about it up front and didn't tell me about it the second I got out of my vehicle. I have found a number of them where there'd been fires and nobody had said anything, though. In about half of those, there was no way that the current homeowner couldn't have known about the fire.

Don't know about most of the brethren, but when someone tells me there's been a fire I always seem to spend an inordinate amount of time snooping into all of the little nooks and crannies looking to ensure that the damage has been repaired.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Originally posted by Les

Originally posted by Jim Katen

Originally posted by Tom Raymond

Thanks Jim, but is that for my specific example or for any combination of states?

Tom

Sorry, it was an attempt at low humor.

- Jim in Oregon

I thought it was funny! whadda I know.

I liked it too.

Low humor never goes over my head (whoosh!)

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Originally posted by Tom Raymond

Taken as a breed, TN HIs aren't great explainers. . Deep sigh...
Does that apply to Virginia inpectors also, or just this numb skull?

This leads to an interesting thought, what are the ramifications of inspecting across state lines? I am about 45 minutes from PA, and I know that PA will accept my NY license, but NY would not aprove if it were the other way around.

Tom

Since PA has no home inspector licensing (yet), as long as you 'claim' to fulfill Act 114 (which has no teeth for enforcement, by the way), you could operate in PA. If operating in a state that has licensing and you are no licensed to operate there (or your state has licensing and the other state won't recognize your license), I think you better either not operate in that other state, or you should get licensed there.

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