New rules for home inspectors must protect consumers first, group says
Home inspectors in Ontario are watching to see how the government plans to regulate the industry, now that the Minister of Consumer Services says the issue is on his agenda.
"It's really an unregulated industry in a lot of ways. Anyone with a business card and a flashlight can call themselves a home inspector," David Orazietti, Minister of Consumer Services said on CBC Radio's Morning North.
The president of the Ontario Association of Home Inspectors said regulation is needed, “but we have to do it right.”
Bruce McClure said the process needs to be a positive one and “put consumer protection [as] No.1.”
McClure has also written a book about problems in the industry.
He said change is required, but noted consumers should prepare to pay more for more thorough inspections.
“If the person is only prepared to pay $350-$400 for a home inspection, if I am going to make a living and pay my bills, I can only give them so much time.”
Some provinces have already moved to license home inspectors, while others are looking at stricter standards for inspections.
In Ontario, home inspectors currently follow industry association standards and are not licensed by the province.
Al Tucci, who teaches in a home inspector program offered at Sault College in Sault Ste. Marie, said more regulation is badly needed in Ontario.
“If we can create some sort of standard for everybody, across the province, I think the reputation of the home inspector will be better and the quality will be better,” he said.
The Ministry of Consumer Services established a panel to make recommendations on the qualifications of home inspectors. It reported back in December of 2013. Its recommendations included:
- regulation of home inspectors
- technical standards for home inspectors
- professional home inspector qualifications
- consumer protection requirements
- regulatory governance for Ontario's home inspection industry
The Ontario government was expected to move ahead on regulation within 18 months of the report.