Dear Members of NJ-ALPHI:
The Board was recently made aware of members being approached to conduct limited inspections of properties impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Specifically, members want to know if these inspections constitute “home inspections” under the HIAC regulations. Pursuant to N.J.A.C. 13:40-15.2, a “home inspection” is:
a visual, functional, non-invasive inspection conducted for a fee or any other consideration and performed without moving personal property, furniture, equipment, plants, soil, snow, ice, or debris, using the mandatory equipment and including the preparation of a home inspection report of the readily-accessible elements of the following components of a residential building: structural components, exterior components, roofing system, plumbing system, electrical system, heating system, cooling system, interior components, insulation components and ventilation system, fireplaces and solid fuel burning appliances, or any other related residential housing component as determined by the Board, in consultation with the Committee, by rule, but excluding recreational facilities and outbuildings other than garages or carports.
Pursuant to N.J.A.C. 13:40-15.16(a), home inspectors, “shall comply with the standards of practice contained in this section when conducting a home inspection.” N.J.A.C. 13:40-15.16(a). “The scope of home inspection services performed in compliance with the requirements set forth in this section shall provide the client with objective information regarding the condition of the systems and components of the home as determined at the time of the home inspection.” N.J.A.C. 13:40-15.16(a) (emphasis added).
The “home inspector” is a licensed professional who performs his inspections of the condition of the residential buildings on behalf of a client for which the client is charged a fee. See N.J.A.C. 13:40-15.2 (emphasis added). The client is defined as “any current or prospective homeowner who engages, or seeks to engage, the services of a home inspector for the purpose of obtaining an inspection of and written report regarding the condition of a residential building.” N.J.A.C. 13:40-15.2.
Given the above definitions it appears that even partial, storm-necessitated inspections fit within the definition of a home inspection. Accordingly, the Members should comply with all of the HIAC regulations when performing partial inspections, and be cognizant that even partial inspections can produce claims.