Home inspectors who check out property before a buyer closes on a home purchase would be required to get state licenses, under a bill that passed the Ohio House 74-6 on Wednesday.
House Bill 211 would set up a licensing and regulatory program for home inspectors. Inspectors operating without a license could face fines and criminal penalties.
Home inspections are performed on behalf of the buyer before a sale closes. The purpose is the give buyers a clear picture of any problems with the property: mold, outdated electrical system, aging roof, faulty furnaces and more.
The bill, which now goes to the Senate for consideration, calls for written contracts between the inspector and client, real estate agents who recommend an inspector provide at least three names of licensed inspectors, inspectors deliver a written report to clients and other requirements.
The bill has support from Ohio Realtors, HomeSpection Training Institute, American Society of Home Inspectors and others.
Bob Fletcher, chief executive of Ohio Realtors, said his association has been advocating for regulations for many years. He said in written testimony that the home inspection is the only part of the home buying process that is unregulated. “It is a critical, consumer protection measure that is currently lacking in Ohio,” he testified.
State Rep. Jim Hughes, R-Columbus, the bill sponsor, said the program will make sure inspectors have a basic level of knowledge and consumers are afforded protections.