Can a Florida licensed contractor do home inspections without having a home inspector license?
Thursday, June 28, 2018
The State of Florida Construction Industry Licensing Board (CILB) issued a ruling on May 15, 2012 in response to a petition for clarification by a Florida licensed contractor as to whether home inspection was within the scope of licensing for Division 1 contractors (Certified Residential, Building, and General). Here’s what they said:
“Therefore, the Board hereby issues a declaratory statement that home inspection services as described in the Petition are within the scope of licensure of a Certified Division 1 Contractor, provided the Division 1 contractor is not holding themself out specifically as a home inspector licensed under Chapter 468, Florida Statutes.”
Yes, you read that correctly. A Florida-certified residential, building, or general contractor can do home inspections, just as long as they do not actually call themself a “HOME INSPECTOR.” The CILB ruling did not clarify, however, whether a contractor doing home inspections is required to comply with the ethical prohibitions that are mandated by Florida Statutes for a licensed home inspector.
Here are several of them, as listed in Florida Statute 468.8319, Prohibitions - Penalties, (1) (f thru i):
(f) Perform or offer to perform any repairs to a home on which the inspector or the inspector’s company has prepared a home inspection report. This paragraph does not apply to a home warranty company that is affiliated with or retains a home inspector to perform repairs pursuant to a claim made under a home warranty contract.
(g) Inspect any property in which the inspector or the inspector’s company has any financial or transfer interest.
(h) Offer or deliver any compensation, inducement, or reward to any broker or agent therefor for the referral of the owner of the inspected property to the inspector or the inspection company.
(i) Accept an engagement to make an omission or prepare a report in which the inspection itself, or the fee payable for the inspection, is contingent upon either the conclusions in the report, pre-established findings, or the close of escrow.
The first ethical prohibition in the statute, that an inspector cannot also offer to do any recommended repairs, was intended to eliminate the potential for an inspector to exaggerate the number and severity of defects during a home inspection in order to inflate the repair income later. Contractors doing home inspections are not bound by this restriction.
The CILB ruling also did not require that a contractor doing home inspections maintain $300,000 in liability insurance specific to home inspection risks like licensed inspectors, or to comply with the extensive list of components of a home that must be checked as part of a home inspection, as defined by the Standards of Practice for home inspectors in the Florida Administrative Code (61-30.801). To see Florida’s Standards of Practice for home inspectors, go to our blog post “Are there any minimum standards that a Florida licensed home inspector must meet?”
So, in summary, a Florida-certified contractor can do home inspections, while avoiding the extensive state-mandated ethical and technical requirements of a Florida-licensed home inspector, and their customer will have none of the state-mandated consumer protections—just as long as the contractor “is not holding themself out specifically as a home inspector.”
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