Yes, you read right, pretty much 4 out of 5 home inspectors in BC challenge the credibility of their own licensing. That’s a worrisome and bad statistic, but with a sliver of a silver lining. It’s bad because, if the licensing is so lax, there was a very low bar for home inspectors that are currently holding licenses. It’s good because licensed home inspectors are challenging their own profession standards and change is coming. So let’s go through the recent history of home inspector licensing and what may change.
Are you old enough to remember the leaky condos fiasco? The home inspection industry has a sketchy past in BC. Although less common now, you still see tarps hanging over portions of condos and townhomes in Surrey, Langley, and White Rock. It’s a hangover from a construction disaster of days gone with the epicenter in Vancouver. Didn’t the construction industry have a proper and official building or home inspection checklist?
As a result of many past horror stories, in 2009, BC became the first province in Canada to require home inspectors to get licensed. Can you believe it? That dumbfounds me. What about home buyers in the rest of Canada? Jeez.
Well, better atrociously late than never. Effective in 2009, a home inspection in BC had to be done by a licensed inspector. The recent history of home inspection qualifications is that effective March 30, 2011 individuals deeming themselves “Home Inspectors” needed to be licensed by Consumer Protection BC who, in turn, recognized four associations
Phew! Right? Are you getting that warm fuzzy feeling? Well don’t. The answer is to remain on your toes for unqualified home inspectors. In March 2013, Craig Hostland, President of Canadian Association of Home & Property Inspectors (CAHPI-BC) released a rather scathing press release challenging the licensing and making the bold statement “it's just like before licensing - the wild wild west - except now inspectors are licensed to pull the wool over your eyes. Given his inside knowledge of the industry and passion to protect the consumer, I encourage you to read his article.
I think Mr. Hostland ruffled a few feathers. This became an important issue to the provincial government and BC Premier Christy Clark made it part of her platform for re-election. She made a commitment to uniform standards in BC for the home inspection industry. On June 10, 2014, she wrote a letter to Rich Coleman, Deputy Premier, and also the Minister Responsible for Housing, mandating uniform licensing of home inspectors. If you don’t want to read the whole letter that I have linked, just skip down to point number 10.
I want to end on a positive note. Despite the problems of the past and present, and the licensing question mark, the standards are going to tighten. In the meantime, there are good home inspectors out there. That’s why the inspectors are speaking up and challenging the lax licensing standards. They want to protect the home buying consumer and raise the standards of their industry. So, do your homework, choose carefully, ask questions, and ensure whoever you hire has the required licensing and diligently follows a lengthy and detailed home inspection checklist.
Mike Alleyne604-785-7066Homelife Benchmark Realty, Surrey
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