Are home inspections a public record?
Tuesday, February 25, 2020
Most home inspection contracts have a clause in them similar to the one we use in ours: "The inspection and report are performed and prepared for the sole, confidential, and exclusive use and possession of the Client.” The inspector does not provide a copy of the report to the home seller or the seller’s realtor—or any other person—unless authorized by the buyer.
But we can think of two occasions in our career when we were subpoenaed to testify in a lawsuit regarding the contents of our report:
1) An insurance company was sued to force payment for a foundation settlement claim that they contended was preexisting. The insurance company received a copy of the report from a third party, and we were required to do a deposition regarding our findings for the homeowners at time of their purchase of the home.
2) A homebuyer sued for non-disclosure of a significant structural defect that the buyer believed the seller was aware of at time of sale. Our report to the sellers at the time of their purchase and testimony were required by the court.
So, while a home inspection report is not a publicly available document, it may be required to be released during a lawsuit. See our blog post Should I trust the Seller's Property Disclosure Statement?
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