bc-091111-north-van-house

This inspection of this North Vancouver house has led to a B.C. Supreme Court decision that could have major implications for home inspectors. ((CBC))

The B.C. Supreme Court has ordered a home inspector to pay nearly $200,000 in compensation to a North Vancouver couple for a faulty home inspection he performed.

The court found that Imre Toth of Aldergrove was negligent because he failed to inspect the entire home, and should have advised the couple to hire a structural engineer before they bought the $1.1-million house in September 2006.

Toth's estimate of $20,000 to repair the house was less than one-tenth of the actual cost of $212,000.

The couple signed an agreement with Toth that limited the inspector's liability to the cost of his service, which was $450.

But the judge found that Toth did not give the couple sufficient time to read the contract and did not do enough to highlight the clause limiting his liability.

The court ordered Toth to pay the $192,000 difference between his estimate and the final repair bill.

Another Vancouver-area home inspector not connected to the case said he has never heard of a judgment that big, and hopes it leads to tougher regulations for the inspection industry.

"The average inspector is only there for three hours or less," said Sean Wiens. "I'm of the view, and I don't represent the majority, by far, that a good inspection is a full day."