Our last blog post gave you the first 5 of 10 tips to help reduce your risk of a home inspector lawsuit. Here are our next 5 tips and be sure to check out the other tips if you have not already.
Always Write Down What You Are Missing
Was there an area you were unable to inspect due to an issue outside of your control? Was the electricity shut off to the basement? Was the attic inaccessible? Take a moment and examine what is missing from your inspection. Make sure you notate it in your report like this inspector did. Be specific and take a photo if possible.
Always State How It Looks, Not How It Is
If a unit appears to be working, make sure you word it just that way…as it “appears.” If you state that something is in working order and later it is found that hidden damage has affected it, then you can increase your chances of being held liable. It is important to give your opinion as well as any qualifying statements, such as “unit appears to be functioning at time of inspection, but is nearing estimated life expectancy.” For more report writing tips, go here.
Always Go Over Entire Document With Client
Do not leave any surprises for your client. Go over your checklist carefully with them. Make sure they understand each item. Leave time for them to ask you questions. The more your client understands at the time of your inspection, the less likely they will be to bring a lawsuit over a misunderstanding. Here are 10 helpful ways to explain anything more effectively.
Always get a Signed Agreement
After you go over your checklist with your client, make sure they sign and date an agreement. A signed document can make a big difference if a lawsuit arises. It is also important to understand some of the technical “legal speak” in contracts. Check out this article for more information.
Always Save Everything
It is hard to defend yourself if you have no reports and no photos. Hold on to everything you can, for as long as you can. Scanners can digitize reports, receipts, and everything else to help you organize your home inspection service more effectively.
These 5 “Always” helpful tips are the second part on how to minimize your risk of a Home Inspection lawsuit. And remember that as a Home Inspector, you need to carry Professional Liability/Errors & Omissions Insurance. RISKPRO can help you understand exactly what you need. Call us today!
Please note: this blog is merely a general discussion of topical matters involving the home inspection industry and is not and should not be construed as legal advice of any kind. Further, as laws differ from state to state and because laws related to home inspectors changes regularly, please consult with an attorney in the proper jurisdiction to obtain legal advice on any particular matter.