EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2017, HOME INSPECTORS IN VIRGINIA MUST BE LICENSED.
What Virginia REALTORS® need to know:
If you recommend an unlicensed home inspector, you may be liable. It is essential to determine the license status of your home inspector before recommending to a client for an inspection on or after July 1, 2017. If you already have an inspection scheduled on or after July 1, 2017, and are uncertain about the licensure of your home inspector, it is highly recommended that you defer inspection until the licensure of the home inspector is verified.
This page offers a comprehensive guide to the history of this change in the law and our educational resources on the issue. There is a downloadable .pdf to share with your home inspectors to help them become more aware of the licensing requirement. All licensing requirements are stipulated by the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR), with links below. All questions from home inspectors regarding licensing requirements must be directed to DPOR.
- DPOR Updates on the Licensure Process: http://www.dpor.virginia.gov/Boards/ALHI/HI_Licensure/
- Asbestos, Lead, and Home Inspectors Board: http://www.dpor.virginia.gov/Boards/ALHI/
- Regulations: http://townhall.virginia.gov/L/ViewXML.cfm?textid=11587
- Home Inspector Training Resources: http://www.dpor.virginia.gov/uploadedFiles/MainSite/Content/Boards/ALHI/A506-33CHI_CRS.pdf
Additional Virginia REALTORS® resources:
- 2016 New Laws Webinar
- 2017 New Laws Webinar
- 2016 New Laws Video
- 2016 New Laws Article
- 2017 Home Inspectors Podcast
- Information Sheet for Home Inspectors
FAQs for Virginia REALTORS®:
What is the ramification for an unlicensed home inspector?
Effective July 1, 2017, it is unlawful for any individual who does not possess a license as a home inspector to perform a home inspection for compensation on a residential building. Additionally, it is unlawful for any individual who does not possess a home inspector license with the new residential structure endorsement to conduct a home inspection for compensation on any new residential structure.
Is DPOR monitoring unlicensed home inspectors and how?
Enforcement will be the same as with the Virginia Real Estate Board (VREB). They do not have the staff to send out testers, but they will take complaints about unlicensed individuals performing home inspections.
How does an agent get a list of licensed home inspectors?
They will appear on license look up, just as licensed real estate agents do. Any applications received prior to July 1 are to be certified home inspectors. All certified home inspectors, with valid certificates on June 30 will be automatically licensed on July 1.
You can search license look up by city or zip code (http://www.dpor.virginia.gov/LicenseLookup/) If you select “Advanced License Search”, check the box for “Board for Asbestos, Lead, and Home Inspectors” and then select “Certified Home Inspector” from the License Type drop down. Individuals who have a valid certificate on June 30 will automatically be licensed on July 1.
Are agents liable if they recommend using an unlicensed home inspector?
Agents will be liable for recommending unlicensed home inspectors in the same way that they are liable for recommending unlicensed contractors, etc. Not only is there potential liability if the home inspector makes a mistake, there is also potential liability to the client if an unlicensed home inspector is used pursuant to a home inspection contingency.
Recommending or allowing a non-licensed home inspector could create problems for buyers who are trying to negotiate a home inspection contingency if they use someone who is not licensed once the forms are updated and require the home inspector to be licensed. For example, if the home inspection contingency requires an inspection by a licensed inspector, and the buyer uses an unlicensed home inspector, the seller may argue that the buyer did not satisfy the terms of the contingency and therefore has lost the contingency (i.e., the seller does not have to make any repairs and/or the buyer cannot terminate the contract before or after negotiations depending on the inspection language).
E&O will likely not cover any liability for recommending unlicensed home inspectors.
How do REALTORS® adjust for pending transactions or new offers?
If the home inspector is not certified (and licensed as of July 1), try to move the home inspection earlier (i.e., before June 30). If you are getting ready to write an offer and are concerned about having enough home inspectors in your region, consider trying to include a longer inspection period to allow for individuals to get licensed, to schedule with the in high demand licensed home inspectors, or bring someone in from another region.
Are the Virginia REALTORS® Standard Forms being updated?
Yes, the forms are being updated and are ready for release on July 1 to change references to licensed home inspectors. Watch the Virginia REALTORS® website for redline versions of all forms.
What are the requirements to get licensed as a home inspector?
Applicants must submit an application along with a $80 fee. DPOR will notify the applicant within 30 days if the application is incomplete.
Requirements for becoming a home inspector:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Provide a mailing address
- Disclose the following:
- All misdemeanor convictions involving moral turpitude, sexual offense, drug distribution, or physical injury within 5 years of the date of application
- All felony convictions during his lifetime
Qualifications for licensure:
- Applicants must furnish documentation acceptable to ALHI that one of the following qualifications have been met:
- 35 hours of prelicense education, completion of 100 home inspections prior to July 1, 2017 and pass the board-approved exam
- 35 hours of prelicense education, completion of 50 home inspections under the direct supervision of a licensed or certified home inspector and pass the board-approved exam
- 70 hours of prelicense education, completion of 50 home inspections prior to July 1, 2017 and pass the board-approved exam
- 70 hours of prelicense education, completion of 25 home inspections under the direct supervision of a licensed or certified home inspector and pass the board-approved exam
- Verification of 10 years’ experience as a home inspector prior to July 1, 2017 with a minimum of 250 home inspections during that period and pass the board-approved exam
- Exam – the National Home Inspector Examination provided by the Examination Board of Professional Home Inspectors is the approved exam. (http://homeinspectionexam.org/)
- Exam offered in Virginia through PSI (https://candidate.psiexams.com/).
- Exam information & registration at https://candidate.psiexams.com/catalog/fti_agency_license_details.jsp?fromwhere=findtest&testid=2329
- Exam offered at 9 testing centers around the Commonwealth. 4 hour exam, fee is $225 & you schedule the test on the website.
- Board may waive requirements for applicants who hold an active, current license or certificate as a home inspector in another state, DC or any other territory of the US if the requirements were substantially equivalent.
What are the requirements to get the New Residential Structure (NRS) endorsement?
You must submit the appropriate application form and fee ($80) and meet the following qualifications:
- Hold a current and valid home inspector license
- Submit proof of successful completion of an NRS training module within the last two years