WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A Kansas law that regulated home inspectors in the state has expired, raising concerns from two Wichita-area home inspectors who helped write the law.
“There’s always somebody who is trying to make a quick buck and lacks a moral compass,” said Kerry Parham, president of the Kansas Association of Real Estate Inspectors and a home inspector for 36 years. “We kept the bad guys out of the business and had a set of standards for guys to follow.”
Parham and Jeff Barnes, a Mulvane-based home inspector for 25 years, helped write the Kansas Home Inspectors Professional Competence and Financial Responsibility Act. The measure, which took effect in July 2009, required home inspectors in the state to abide by certain practices and standards, including having at least 80 hours of formal training as a home inspector. They also were required to carry certain types of liability insurance and annually complete a minimum of 16 hours of continuing education.
The five-member Kansas Home Inspection Registration Board was appointed by the governor and oversaw registrations and compliance with the law. Until the law passed, home inspectors in Kansas were not regulated, The Wichita Eagle reported (http://bit.ly/1mk2Wjh ).
The law had a provision, though, that allowed it to expire five years after taking effect. That fifth year was 2013.
The inspectors group drafted a bill last spring that would have cut the sunset provision from the law. That bill passed the Legislature, but was vetoed by Gov. Sam Brownback in April. Brownback said he saw scant evidence “of large numbers of Kansas citizens being economically harmed by home inspectors.”
“We’re back into the wild, wild West of home inspection,” Barnes said.
Brownback also said he thought the home inspectors board lacked the resources and expertise to regulate home inspectors, and that the Kansas Attorney General’s Office was better equipped to investigate complaints from homeowners about unscrupulous home inspectors.
Ed Robinson, an attorney who practices in real estate litigation, served on the board between 2009 and 2011. He thinks the organization boosted home inspectors’ credibility and gave some assurance to home buyers and sellers that the person inspecting their home had “some level of competence.”
“The board was a volunteer board,” he said. “We were getting reimbursed for mileage. … We didn’t have any full-time staff. All of the operating expenses of the board and the accounting firm came exclusively from the registration fees. There was no money appropriated. It was a self-sustaining entity.”
Robinson said potential buyers and sellers need to be aware that there is no longer oversight of home inspectors.
“It becomes even more important for potential homebuyers to make sure they get references … find out if the home inspector has some level of competence,” he said.
Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com