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Bill to limit liability of home inspectors draws concerns from House Judiciary Committee

Home inspectors say the current system has become unsustainable as the litigation has been abused to treat inspectors as warrantors.

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A bill before the House Judiciary Committee contends that home inspectors are being used as warrantors on things such as home appliances, and seeks to limit their liability.

Attorney Joseph Cox, who represents the Alabama Home Inspectors organizations, said litigation has risen against home inspectors as people begin to treat inspectors like warrantors.

“That’s not what they signed up for,” Cox said.

A home inspector typically walks through the home for a two- to four-hour period, Cox said, and charges in the range of $400. Without limiting liability, proponents argued that the litigation facing inspectors is making the industry unsustainable.

Rep. Matt Simpson, R-Daphne, said the change wouldn’t allow a homeowner to hold inspectors accountable for missing something which they paid for to be found.

“What purpose is the home inspector then other than just taking money from the taxpayer or the homeowner without actually providing any service,” Simpson charged.

Cox said the inspector is offering a good faith inspection on what they can observe in the home.

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If a constituent calls me from Baldwin County because a home inspector did not do what they were supposed to do and there’s no opportunity for them to have recourse, they’re going to blame the Legislature,” Simpson said. “I think this has the potential to really create really significant harm.”

Jeremy Walker, chief executive officer of the Alabama Association of Realtors, spoke against the bill, saying it creates dangers for the homeowner.

“We believe this bill further insulates this industry and puts that umbridge on the homeowner,” Walker said. “We certainly do not want home inspectors to go out of business; we value what they bring.”

The committee is expected to act on the bill at its next meeting next week.

Jacob Holmes is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected]

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