Ontario finally moves to regulate home inspectors

Home inspectors are the only professionals in real estate transactions that don’t have to have a professional license.
Home inspectors are the only professionals in real estate transactions that don’t have to have a professional license. (Photo: REUTERS/Carlos Barria)

If you’ve ever had a home inspection done on your home in Ontario, there is a good chance that your inspector wasn’t licensed.

Currently, there is no law forcing home inspectors to get a license in the province, meaning that anybody could call himself or herself a home inspector.

However, that is finally changing with the provincial government’s introduction of Bill 165, An Act to regulate home inspectors. The act is expected to be passed into law in fall 2016.

The government made an official announcement about the bill last week, and explained that the new bill would:

  • Mandate that home inspectors be licensed and have proper qualifications;
  • Provide and maintain minimum standards for contracts and reports;
  • Create an independent board to enforce the legislation.

It is unclear why the Ontario government took so long to decide to make the licensing of home inspectors mandatory, as there have been repeated calls to mandate licensing, especially as the Ontario housing market is considered one of the hottest in the country.

Home inspectors are the only professionals in real estate transactions that don’t have to have a professional license. However, they can voluntarily get a license through the Ontario Association of Home Inspectors.

Still, nothing forces a potential home inspector to get a license and even the government finally recognizes that this is a big problem, given that the failure to require home inspectors to be certified certainly has caused some homeowners.

A woman who bought a home in Ottawa had her dream turn into a nightmare because her home inspectors failed to notice that water was leaking into the basement, despite there being obvious signs in the form of rotten carpet tacking and rusted support beams.

She ended up spending $12,000 to repair the damage from the water leak.

Home inspection mistakes are often costly for homeowners but Ontario is not the only province that fails to require its home inspectors be licensed. All other provinces and territories, with the exception of British Columbia and Alberta, also don’t require home inspector licensing.

There are currently an estimated 1,500 home inspectors in Ontario but it’s unclear how many of them are licensed.

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