British Columbia

B.C. to become first province to license home inspectors

British Columbia will become the first province to license home inspectors, Solicitor General John van Dongen says.

British Columbia will become the first province to license home inspectors, Solicitor General John van Dongen says.

Home inspector training in B.C. has been voluntary until now, but proper qualifications and licensing will be mandatory starting March 31.

There are an estimated 300 to 400 home inspectors operating in the province, and homebuyers have no way of knowing if their home inspector is qualified.

"The current voluntary system has left the door open to sometimes untrained, unqualified and inexperienced individuals to practise their own version of home inspection," van Dongen said Friday.

To become licensed, home inspectors will need to meet the qualifications of: the B.C. branch of the Canadian Association of Home & Property Inspectors; or the Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of British Columbia; or the National Certification Program for Home & Property Inspectors.

Qualifying for a licence will involve completing examinations and field experience required by those organizations.

Insurance required

Home inspectors will also need to carry insurance and will be subject to a criminal record check.

The Business Practices and Consumer Protection Authority will enforce the licensing and respond to consumer complaints.

Home inspectors failing to comply with the new licensing could face penalties as high as $5,000.

The president of the B.C. chapter of the Canadian Association for Home & Property Inspectors called the announcement a triumph for homebuyers.

"This has been a long time in coming and [we] have led this fight for seven years," Owen Dickie said.

"We are delighted that the government has embraced our recommended approach and, today, B.C. consumers are the winners."

However, the president of the Consumer Advocacy and Support for Homeowners Society said he is not confident the move will eliminate poor inspections.

"I don't see how minister van Dongen can possibly claim that this licensing will strengthen the quality of home inspections," John Grasty said.

"There are basically no standards required to be met and a subjective opinion does not, in my mind, improve homeowner protection."

The qualifications vary among the three organizations responsible, he said, and it's unlikely anything will change unless a single set of quality standards is introduced and enforced.