To keep the promises made to their favorite special interest groups, the Republicans have filed what is almost becoming their annual bill to create a licensing law for home inspectors.
In spite of the absence of a demonstrated need, the party once famous for its stand in favor of smaller government has filed House Bill No. 1714 that will add another “board” to the long list of boards now draining the State’s budget, to legislate home inspectors.
Why? We don’t know. According to the Attorney General for the State of Missouri and the Better Business Bureau…during the same period of time where citizens had filed thousands of complaints against builders (unlicensed by the state), contractors (unlicensed by the state) and even real estate salespeople….only five complaints were filed against home inspectors.
Still, the very powerful lobbying infrastructure financed by the Missouri Association of Realtors has insisted that too many of their “deals” are being interfered with by home inspectors they consider to be “incompetent”. I suppose that we are too forget the fact that the home inspector…the person hired by the home buyer to provide him with an unbiased, complete and thorough report on the condition of the home…is supposed to find things wrong with the home. Home buyers who walk away from bad homes are NOT harmed by home inspections….but real estate sales commissions are.
According to the legislators we interviewed, the MAR "parades" real estate salesmen one after the other...all complaining about how the "bad" home inspector "killed their deals".
So…they lobbied for a law and House Bill No. 1714 is it.
What does it do to ensure that a consumer will receive a good home inspection?
In fact, there is nothing in the bill to define what a home inspector should be required to do before being “licensed”. It does not prescribe or identify the need for any specific type of training at all. It is silent on ethical behavior, inspection standards, consumer rights, or anything that one would think they would find in a bill designed to “protect” anyone from “incompetent” home inspectors.
It simply provides for growing our government with additional people on the payroll to call itself a “Home Inspector Licensing Board” allowing them to meet, and draw a salary and paid expenses, a minimum of one day a month. (Be reminded that every extremely obese citizen eats a minimum of one meal a month, as well.)
This autonomous board…with absolutely no restrictions or accountability to anyone…makes the rules. All the rules. By itself.
While the new board is making up rules…long lines of vendors who want to sell their particular brand of test, their particular educational programs, etc…line up to meet with the new board members to “help them” to decide on what home inspectors will need.
Remember how the Missouri Association of Realtors opposed a bill that would increase by $1.00 the cost of submitting a form last year? They spent thousands of dollars and many hours fighting that $1.00 increase…begging the House not to burden the home buyer with the additional expense. Now they lobby for a home inspection license with no demonstrated need that will cost the inspector $600 per year in fees alone, they say.
Is it not, at the least, disingenuous for the Missouri Association of Realtors to protect the buyer from the $1.00 expense…and lobby for an even greater expense, with no demonstrated need?
In the meantime, in order to provide Missouri with its initial group of licensed home inspectors, HB 1740 says that …virtually any inspector currently in business gets a license.
Were we not asked to believe that the State needed to make this law and incur this expense because of all of the many “incompetent” inspectors who are plaguing real estate salesmen in their attempts to sell and resell houses?
But remember…the new licensing board is still writing all of the rules and is totally autonomous in writing its rules and some of these rules will have to do with who is re-issued a license in the following years?
This licensing board gets to write rules as to what an inspector can and cannot inspect…how and what he will be allowed to report to his client…what he can and cannot say to his client…and what happens if anyone (including a real estate salesman) makes a complaint against him.
And who is selected to be on the licensing board?
Will the Missouri Association of Realtors acknowledge the conflict of interest that already exists in their involvement in attempting to control what goes in an inspection report….or….will they continue with their agenda and lobby for the appointment of inspectors who have already established long lasting relationships with them and their favorite real estate salesmen?
The only consumer advocacy group to have ever weighed in on a Missouri home inspection bill is the group known as HADD (Homeowners Against Deficient Dwellings) and their president has written our State Representatives with her clear and strong opposition to the attempt made by real estate salesmen and home builders to interfere with relationship between a homebuyer and a home inspector. Many representatives agreed with her (and us) in previous years.
We are told that this year is different. This year, Mike Parson, the Republican representative for Bolivar wants to run for the senate and needs the support of the Missouri Association of Realtors to make that happen. He has enlisted others to help him in exchange for his help with their priorities and many representatives who have previously opposed this unnecessary law are now obligated to support it.
The bill was filed in the House of Representatives on the day following the evening in which the Missouri Association of Realtors paid for and entertained the entire Missouri House of Representatives with an evening of wining and dining.
Who can we count on to see that what is right…not what is politically expedient…is done for the consumer who uses and depends upon the unbiased nature of his home inspector?