British Columbia

B.C. planning to license home inspectors

The British Columbia government is moving to protect consumers by soon requiring home inspectors in the province to have a licence.

The British Columbia government is moving to protect consumers by requiring home inspectors to have a license.

The decision follows repeated calls for tougher regulations and is welcomed by John Grasty, the acting president of the Consumer Advocacy and Support for Homeowners Society.

Grasty says he regularly hears from homeowners who tell him that, despite an inspection, their dream of a new home has turned into a nightmare.

Just a few weeks ago, he said, he took a call from a woman on [Vancouver Island], who had just purchased a home and discovered a gas leak that wasn't detected by a home inspector.

He said he often gets calls from people who purchase a home, only to find that it had contained a marijuana grow operation.

Grasty supports licensing for home inspectors, but worries about the standards they will be required to meet.

"They would have to be tested annually, or regularly, on several trades such as plumbing and electrical," he said.

Even a professional engineer may not be qualified in all of those areas, he said.

Diane Thorne, housing critic for B.C.'s New Democratic Party, said the introduction of a licensing system can't come soon enough.

Thorne said almost anyone can call themselves a home inspector in B.C. All they have to do, she said, is take a course online for about $200. "You can even have fewer qualifications than that and get jobs,'' she said. 

New rules requiring home inspectors to be licensed are expected to be in place this fall.