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AB-1118 Home inspectors.(2009-2010)

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AB1118:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  January 04, 2010

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2009–2010 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 1118


Introduced  by  Assembly Member Hayashi

February 27, 2009


An act to amend Section 7195 Sections 7195 and 7197 of, and to add Section 7195.5 Sections 7195.5, 7195.7, and 7195.9 to, the Business and Professions Code, relating to home inspectors.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1118, as amended, Hayashi. Home inspectors.
Existing law provides that it is the duty of a home inspector, as defined, who is not licensed as a general contractor, structural pest control operator, or architect, or registered as a professional engineer, to conduct a home inspection with the degree of care that a reasonably prudent home inspector would exercise. Existing law provides that certain actions by a home inspector, a company that employs the inspector, or a company that is controlled by a company that also has a financial interest in a company employing a home inspector, constitute an unfair business practice.
This bill would declare the intent of the Legislature to adopt minimum qualifications for certification as a home inspector in California, and would make conforming changes to a related provision require any person who makes a home inspection on or after January 1, 2012, to be certified by a home inspection association, as defined, and to meet specified minimum experiential, training, examination, and continuing education requirements, with a specified exception. The bill would require the Office of Professional Examination Services of the Department of Consumer Affairs to approve by July 1, 2011, the examination that a home inspector association is required to accept for certification of a home inspector. The bill would also, on and after January 1, 2012, require a home inspector to make specified written disclosures to a client about his or her certification, experience, education, and insurance coverage and require a home inspection association to publish and maintain active rosters of all of the home inspectors certified by the association. The bill would provide that, on and after January 1, 2012, it is an unfair business practice to hold oneself out as being a home inspector or to issue a home inspection report, unless one is certified.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NOYES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 7195 of the Business and Professions Code is amended to read:

7195.
 For purposes of this chapter, the following definitions apply:
(a) (1) “Home inspection” is a noninvasive, physical examination, performed for a fee in connection with a transfer, as defined in subdivision (e), of real property, of the mechanical, electrical, or plumbing systems or the structural and essential components of a residential dwelling of one to four units designed to identify material defects in those systems, structures and components. “Home inspection” includes any consultation regarding the property that is represented to be a home inspection or any confusingly similar term.
(2) “Home inspection,” if requested by the client, may include an inspection of energy efficiency . Energy efficiency items to be inspected may include the following:
(A) A noninvasive inspection of insulation R-values in attics, roofs, walls, floors, and ducts.
(B) The number of window glass panes and frame types.
(C) The heating and cooling equipment and water heating systems.
(D) The age and fuel type of major appliances.
(E) The exhaust and cooling fans.
(F) The type of thermostat and other systems.
(G) The general integrity and potential leakage areas of walls, window areas, doors, and duct systems.
(H) The solar control efficiency of existing windows.
(b) A “material defect” is a condition that significantly affects the value, desirability, habitability, or safety of the dwelling. Style or aesthetics shall not be considered in determining whether a system, structure, or component is defective.
(c) A “home inspection report” is a written report prepared for a fee and issued after a home inspection. The report clearly describes and identifies the inspected systems, structures, or components of the dwelling, any material defects identified, and any recommendations regarding the conditions observed or recommendations for evaluation by appropriate persons.
(d) A “home inspector” is any individual who performs a home inspection and, on and after January 1, 2012, meets the qualifications of Section 7195.5.
(e) “Transfer” is a transfer by sale, exchange, installment land sales contract, as defined in Section 2985 of the Civil Code, lease with an option to purchase, any other option to purchase, or ground lease coupled with improvements, of real property or residential stock cooperative, improved with or consisting of not less than one nor more than four dwelling units.
(f) A “home inspection association” is an organization of home inspectors or companies in the home inspection industry that is organized under Section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code and registered with the Secretary of State and that, on and after January 1, 2012, certifies, without requiring membership in the association, that a home inspector has met the criteria set forth in Section 7195.5.

SEC. 2.

 Section 7195.5 is added to the Business and Professions Code, to read:
7195.5.

It is the intent of the Legislature to adopt minimum qualifications for certification as a home inspector in California.

7195.5.
 (a) On and after January 1, 2012, no person shall conduct a home inspection unless he or she is certified pursuant to the requirements set forth in this section.
(b) As a condition of becoming certified, a home inspector shall demonstrate to a home inspection association that he or she has satisfied all of the following requirements:
(1) Performed at least 250 home inspections under the direct supervision of a home inspector or has completed at least 120 hours of formal home inspection training, 40 of which shall have been in the form of an unpaid field-based practicum in the performance of home inspections.
(2) Passed within the last five years an examination attesting to his or her competence in the field of home inspection that has been approved by the Office of Professional Examination Services of the Department of Consumer Affairs.
(c) As a condition of maintaining his or her certification, a home inspector shall annually demonstrate to a home inspection association that he or she has completed at least 20 hours of continuing education in the preceding 12 months.
(d) The Office of Professional Examination Services of the Department of Consumer Affairs shall approve the examination specified in paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) on or before July 1, 2011.
(e) The examination requirement specified in paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) shall not apply to a home inspector who had already passed a recognized examination in the field of home inspection prior to January 1, 2012.

SEC. 3.

 Section 7195.7 is added to the Business and Professions Code, to read:

7195.7.
 Prior to beginning a home inspection on or after January 1, 2012, a home inspector shall disclose in writing to the party on whose behalf the home inspection is being performed, all of the following:
(a) A statement disclosing the name, address, and telephone number of the home inspection association by which the home inspector is certified and the date of his or her initial certification.
(b) A statement relating to the home inspector’s experience and education.
(c) A statement disclosing whether the home inspector maintains professional liability insurance and, if so, the amount of coverage.
(d) A statement disclosing whether the home inspector maintains general business liability insurance and, if so, the amount of coverage.

SEC. 4.

 Section 7195.9 is added to the Business and Professions Code, to read:

7195.9.
 On and after January 1, 2012, a home inspection association that certifies home inspectors under this chapter shall publish and maintain an active roster of all of the home inspectors it currently certifies.

SEC. 5.

 Section 7197 of the Business and Professions Code is amended to read:

7197.
 (a) It is an unfair business practice for a home inspector, a company that employs the inspector, or a company that is controlled by a company that also has a financial interest in a company employing a home inspector, to do any of the following:
(1) To perform Perform or offer to perform, for an additional fee, any repairs to a structure on which the inspector, or the inspector’s company, has prepared a home inspection report in the past 12 months.
(2) Inspect for a fee any property in which the inspector, or the inspector’s company, has any financial interest or any interest in the transfer of the property.
(3) To offer Offer or deliver any compensation, inducement, or reward to the owner of the inspected property, the broker, or agent, for the referral of any business to the inspector or the inspection company.
(4) Accept an engagement to make an inspection or to prepare a report in which the employment itself or the fee payable for the inspection is contingent upon the conclusions in the report, preestablished findings, or the close of escrow.
(5) On and after January 1, 2012, hold oneself out as a “home inspector” or “certified home inspector” or use any confusingly similar title, designation, or descriptor without having met the requirements for certification prescribed in Section 7195.5.
(6) On and after January 1, 2012, issue a home inspection report, as described in subdivision (a) of Section 7195, without having met the requirements for certification set forth in Section 7195.5.

(5)

(b) A home protection company that is affiliated with or that retains the home inspector does not violate this section if it performs repairs pursuant to claims made under the home protection contract.

(b)

(c) This section shall not affect the ability of a structural pest control operator to perform repairs pursuant to Section 8505 as a result of a structural pest control inspection.