"Now, it’s the home inspectors’ turn to be inspected.
The Ontario government will finally regulate the home inspection industry with a licensing regime designed to protect buyers.
“Home inspectors are one of the only professionals involved in a real estate transaction that are not currently provincially regulated,” Government and Consumer Services Minister Marie-France Lalonde said Wednesday.
“This is clearly a gap in consumer protection in Ontario’s real estate sector,” Lalonde told reporters at Campbell House, the 1822 Georgian home at the corner of Queen St. W. and University Ave.
“And this can lead to serious consequences to consumers. If potential homebuyers or sellers end up getting a substandard inspection report they are at risk of being left with unexpected costs, the loss of a sale, or, worse, potentially health and safety risks,” she said.
To rectify the situation, Lalonde will introduce legislation this fall that will require home inspectors to be licensed and overseen by an independent administrative authority.
Liberal MPP Han Dong (Trinity-Spadina), who has been pushing private member’s legislation to regulate home inspection, said the law will be “great news” for prospective homeowners.
Len Inkster, secretary of the Ontario Association of Certified Home Inspectors, said it’s a long time coming.
“We’ve been pushing for it for three and a half years,” said Inkster, a home inspector in Niagara Falls.
“There are too many home inspectors out there who are really not qualified to do home inspections properly,” he said.
“Until this regulation comes in, anybody that can pick up a clipboard can become a home inspector.”
There are an estimated 1,500 home inspectors in Ontario and they charge between $350 and $600 for a visual inspection of a home.
Although a home inspection is not mandatory, about 65 per cent of houses sold have one conducted on them.
The forthcoming legislation is based on 35 recommendations made in a report by a blue-ribbon panel of real estate, legal and inspection experts that the government commissioned in December 2013."
Written by Robert Benzie
Queen's Park Bureau Chief