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FORUM (April 2016): Home inspectors act receives unanimous consent

April 7th, 2016 · No Comments

Bill 165 offers consumer protection, unifies industry

“If passed, Bill 165 will regulate the home inspection industry by licensing home inspectors.”

By Han Dong

On March 3, 2016, Bill 165, Licensed Home Inspectors Act, 2016, my private member’s bill, received unanimous consent in the Ontario Legislature, and was referred to the committee on regulations and private bills.

If passed, Bill 165 will regulate the home inspection industry by licensing home inspectors, and will ensure confidence in homebuyers towards the services of a home inspector. All inspectors would be required to operate within the same set of prescribed requirements and under the same standards of practice.

In 2013, the Honourable Tracy MacCharles, then Minister of Consumer Services, hosted a panel of experts to review home inspector qualifications in Ontario. The panel included home inspectors, consumer advocates, educators, and other professionals in the real estate, legal, and insurance sectors. This panel delivered a report to the minister with a series of recommendations that support the regulation of home inspectors. The panel’s finding, which had been reaffirmed by the Honourable David Orazietti, the current Minister of Government and Consumer Services, correlates with the experience of many constituents that I have met with throughout Trinity-Spadina. It is through feedback from constituents and this panel’s report that I recognized the need for the regulation of the home inspection industry.

The report identified approximately 1,500 home inspectors working in Ontario, but no mandatory educational or technical standard for them. While the majority adopt high standards and are registered with one or more inspection associations, currently anyone in the province can call themselves a home inspector.

The primary objective of creating home inspector qualifications is to ensure consumer protection. A single standard of qualifications will allow the consumer to make an informed choice when hiring a home inspector. Standard qualifications would also limit issues — like unexpected repairs and maintenance costs — that can result in financial distress for those buying or selling a home. In addition, the condition of homes could be a safety risk to homeowners. These risks ultimately hurt consumer confidence and hurt the home inspection industry as a whole.

The secondary objective of Bill 165 is to unify the home inspection industry under one delegated administrative authority (DAA). This DAA would become the central agency of home inspectors by issuing, renewing, and revoking licences to all home inspectors in Ontario. Additionally, the DAA would act as the advocate for home inspectors across the province, thus assuring consumers of high quality standards and promoting this very important and often underutilized service.

Bill 165 proposes to adopt recommendations similar to the 2013 panel report and other public consultations.

The primary proposals are: the regulation of home inspectors using the title Licensed Home Inspectors; a self-governing body (with oversight by the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services) that will oversee the industry, including issuing, renewing, and revoking licences; licensing that will be based upon qualifications determined by the regulations and will include a definition and standard of practice for home inspections; financial protections including mandatory insurance; and a code of ethics that all home inspectors must adhere to, which will address the rapidly growing condo market and educate home inspectors on the standards of inspecting a condominium.

During the creation of Bill 165, I met with representatives of the home inspection industry, consumer protection advocates, real estate professionals, and insurance professionals from the riding of Trinity-Spadina and from outside the GTA. Bill 165 encompasses the discussions of these consultations and the expert panel’s recommendations.

Han Dong is the Member of Provincial Parliament for Trinity-Spadina. His website is http://www.handong.onmpp.ca.

Also by Han Dong: 

Province tables sexual assault act (February 2016)

Tags: Annex · Opinion