InterNACHI members are reminded to be cautious in advertising themselves as “code-certified.”
This warning comes in the wake of a recent court ruling in which a home inspector who marketed himself as “code-certified” was held liable to a customer for misrepresentation after a local government determined that the home he had inspected was not “up to code.”
Training offered by the International Code Council (ICC) can be beneficial to home inspectors, but home inspectors should be careful not to suggest or imply that their home inspections will ensure that the residence is in compliance with all applicable codes. Codes vary from one jurisdiction to the next, and whether something is “up to code” is often a judgment call made by a government employee. Unless an inspector intends to warrant that the property is in compliance with all codes, the inspector should make clear in his advertising and in his contract that the inspection seeks to identify defects, but does not attempt to identify code violations.
Inspectors should use care in advertising their services. Statements contained in an advertisement or on a website may form the basis for subsequent claims of misrepresentation by customers who did not understand the inspector’s role.