A home inspector is a person whose job is to conduct inspections of a home or other type of residential real estate. A home inspection may be sought for any number of reasons, but is most often used to:
- Determine the value of the home (i.e., the appraisal process)
- Address safety and construction of the home
- Oversee zoning and land use matters
- Prepare the property for home improvements and renovations
Private parties who may require the services of a home inspector include homeowners, prospective buyers, mortgage loan companies, and real estate agents or brokers.
Cities and municipalities often have their own inspectors who are employed to address local and state zoning issues.
In some cases, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit against a home inspector. This can happen, for instance, if there is a strong disagreement regarding the findings of the inspector, or if there is a suspicion of inspection fraud involved. If the inspector is working independently or through a private organization, it may be possible to sue them directly. Legal action will usually be based on the working agreement contract between you and the inspector.
On the other hand, if the inspector is hired by the government, you may need to file a complaint directly with the government agency that is in charge of the inspector. Oftentimes, the agency will conduct an investigation into the matter before a lawsuit is filed.
You should note that there is no way for a home inspector to be aware of every single fault or defect with the home. Some types of defects can’t be detected, and some defects develop slowly over time. However, if the inspector acted negligently during the inspection, they might become liable for injuries or losses caused by their negligent conduct (for instance, ignoring obvious signs of dangerous property structures).
Legal remedies for home inspection lawsuits usually include a damages award. In most cases, this is sufficient to reimburse the plaintiff for losses caused by a faulty inspection. Other remedies may include a court order to have a second inspection conducted, or other similar measures.
If you are considering suing a home inspector, it’s in your best interests to hire a qualified real estate attorney. Your lawyer can provide you with legal advice on the matters, and can help determine if any fraud or foul play occurred. Also, your lawyer can assist you in obtaining the appropriate damages award or other legal remedies for your situation.