Toto, We're Still in Kansas

Mark Cohen
General Counsel, InterNACHI

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There is a great deal of misinformation circulating concerning recently enacted legislation governing home inspectors in Kansas. Many people, including some home inspectors and realtors, mistakenly believe that the new law makes home inspectors automatically liable for up to $10,000.00 in damages. Others wrongly believe it requires home inspectors to warrant or guarantee their services in an amount of at least $10,000.00.

In fact, the Kansas legislation does neither of these things. The legislation merely provides that a home inspector may not contractually limit his liability to an amount of less than $10,000.00. A customer asserting a claim against a home inspector does not automatically receive a $10,000.00 judgment against the inspector; the customer asserting the claim must still prove that the inspector failed to meet the standard of care. In other words, the burden is still on the customer to prove that the inspector was somehow negligent. (In Kansas, as elsewhere, the burden of proof in a civil case is always on the plaintiff, and the plaintiff must prove his claim by a preponderance of the evidence).

It is important that home inspectors, realtors, and others in the industry understand the new law so that they do not inadvertently give homebuyers inaccurate information concerning the extent of a home inspector's legal liability. Homebuyers who mistakenly believe that the inspector is automatically liable for up to $10,000.00 in damages even if their inspector did everything right are bound to be disappointed.