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  1. #1
    Joe Nernberg's Avatar
    Joe Nernberg Guest

    Cool Confidential Report

    Each page of my report states "This is a Confidential Report, Any Use by Unauthorized Persons Prohibited. © 1992, AmeriSpec Home Inspection Service. Each Company Independently Owned and Operated." Still, I get the occasional call from someone who is not my client. Real estate agents argue that they must pass on copies to other buyers. I say that the information may be disclosed, but not the entire report.

    Here is an excerpt from section 1102.1 of the California Civil Code: "... agents to disclose any fact materially affecting the value and desirability of the property, including, but not limited to, the physical conditions of the property and previously received reports of physical inspections noted on the disclosure form..."

    What's the general/legal opinion?

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Healdsburg, CA

    Default Re: Confidential Report

    What you're quoting is CA real estate law. Home inspectors are not parity to that law. Only RE agents are. Your report is owned by the party who paid for it. I would explain that very nicely the first time around to those who labor under the illusion you owe them a copy and at the second request I would suggest self induced human propagation.

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007

    Default Re: Confidential Report

    They and the sellers must diclose any info including past reports. They can get the report from your client or they can get it from you. But your report is your clients alone therefore you cannot resell or give it away.
    So, offer to do another inspection for the seller. You'll probably find a few missed items anyway.HAHA

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Spring Hill (Nashville), TN

    Default Re: Confidential Report

    I guess if you wanted to spend the money, time and energy to enforce it, you might find a judge who would agree with you. Once the report is out of your hands it's dang difficult to control who gets a copy.

    IMO, it is not worth the trouble. When I produce a report, I really do not care who ends up with it. I have done my job for my client, I've been paid and I'm pulling the chain for the next person in line! Next!

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Plano, Texas

    Default Re: Confidential Report

    I don't have a problem with sharing the report so long as I get paid. The grind comes when someone shares the report with the next buyer and then they try to sue you if for some thing you missed. I think it is like everything else though, do the best you can disclaim, etc. and then get on with life and business. I know of at least one inspector that obsesses over duplicating the report and he comes across as a little nutty. Don't let it drive you nuts!

    Jim Luttrall
    Plano, Texas

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Fletcher, NC

    Default Re: Confidential Report

    A copyrighted report is like a copyrighted book ...

    The "author" (you) "owns the rights to the material", the purchaser of the book (your client) "owns the book" (your report).

    While the purchaser of "the book" can sell the book, trade the book, or give the book away, the purchaser of "the book" is not allowed to violate copyright laws regarding the contents of "the book".

    This is what I had on each and every page, it worked for me.

    ©This report is work product and is copyrighted by the company shown above (INSPECTION SERVICES ASSOCIATES, INC. ) as of the date of this report (date automatically inserted here). Duplication by any means whatsoever, including sharing access to a protected copy, is prohibited without prior written permission and authorization from the company shown above. Duplication of, use of, or reliance on this report in any way for any purpose whatsoever has the effect of agreeing to the terms and conditions as set forth in the Authorization and Contract for Services, included herewith as numbered pages 3 and 4 of the original report, which are included for the users review, please do so. Unauthorized duplication of, use of, or reliance on this report has the effect of all parties agreeing to hold harmless, individually, jointly, and/or otherwise, this inspector, the Company, their successors and assigns AND IS A VIOLATION OF FEDERAL COPYRIGHT LAWS.

    I had several attorneys call to ask about making copies, I told them 'sure, as long as you send the request to me in writing and I authorize it' - never did get one written request, they just made copies anyway.

    Which meant that this went into effect: "Unauthorized duplication of, use of, or reliance on this report has the effect of all parties agreeing to hold harmless, individually, jointly, and/or otherwise, this inspector, the Company, their successors and assigns".

    Worked for me.

    Jerry Peck
    Construction/Litigation/Code Consultant - Retired

  7. #7
    Joe Nernberg's Avatar
    Joe Nernberg Guest

    Cool Re: Confidential Report


    I have inspected the same home more than once... and I have found more defects. I explain that some of these things were discussed on the phone with my first client, some things have changed/been repaired and I found other conditions since the furniture has been removed.

    I am surprised by real estate agents who advise clients to NOT pay for another inspection. Great - if some defect is discovered, call the real estate agent(s) and the seller for failure to disclose and bad advice.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Colorado Springs, CO

    Default Re: Confidential Report

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Nernberg View Post
    Each page of my report states "This is a Confidential Report, Any Use by Unauthorized Persons Prohibited. © 1992, AmeriSpec Home Inspection Service. Each Company Independently Owned and Operated."
    Why are your reports "© 1992" and not "© 2007"? Personally I use the current year for the copyright date on my reports.

    "Baseball is like church. Many attend but few understand." Leo Durocher
    Bruce Breedlove

  9. #9
    Claudia Lawrence's Avatar
    Claudia Lawrence Guest

    Red face Re: Confidential Report

    Disclaimer seems to be workable. The consideration here it that your liability does not cover anything after you walk off the property. The jest being an on site conditions at the time of the inspection.

    Once you walk off the property many things can change and often do. Seller takes things that were negotiated to stay, someone broke in and vandalized the property or stolen things, weather conditions can change things. It is just the way things go.

    Your liability will not cover these conditions. Agents should be smart enough to know that these things happen.

    As far as using your Confidential Information I would only leverage that when and if it is used against you or in a court of law, exercise that as a premise for dismissal. You could counter sue as a nuisance for lost time, etc. the agent who gave the report out to others based on your confidentiality clause.

    You have no control over others or how they use your report after it has left your hands. You would need to negotiate a contract with agents that they do not pass along this "Confidential Information". Then you have leverage that would show cause for breach of contract.

    Some states do have laws against such practices but California is not one of them. And the general opinion is no one wants licensing in California and I do agree that licensing devaluates the quality to the consumer as well as regulates areas that restrict you from performing a quality inspection.

    I would say the percentage of your report being given to others is one that happens occasionally and not often enough to be to concerned.

    Claudia Lawrence-Cothran
    TWI Affiliates Reporting and Training
    Home of the Uniform Building Inspection Report and OnSiteDataSolutions Software. Over 20 years of Setting the Standards The Home of TWI Affiliates, LLC. Products and Services - Home

    Last edited by Claudia Lawrence; 08-28-2007 at 12:42 PM. Reason: Needed to add signature.

  10. #10
    Lewis Capaul's Avatar
    Lewis Capaul Guest

    Default Re: Confidential Report

    In States where Realtors are required to disclose issue with a home they are selling I can somewhat understand their position. Once they are informed or become aware of a condition by reading a Home Inspection Report the knowledge of the existing condition is in their head, therefore they do have knowledge of an existing condition when a different buyer comes along, but they should not be able to give that buyer or anyone else a copy of your report, they should disclose their information in what ever way their office uses to disclose conditions that existed prior to your inspection.

    I see somewhat the same problem in Listing Inspections, we often find things that the owner would really not want to know about, but once informed by our report or even verbally by the inspector, the seller "should" legally have to mention those conditions on his disclosure form. That's the problem with selling Listing Inspections, sellers often want to "play dumb" hoping that a buyers inspector will find nothing wrong, a Realtor is in a different position, once they have seen a report they "Have Knowledge" and a license to protect, but not with your HI Report.

    In my opinion the Inspector owns the report, he sells a "copy" to his client with the understanding that others may "read" it, not that they be given their own copy, which is not the way things really work seeing as I ask them for written permission to send a copy to the buyers agent, who then sends it to the listing agent, who sends it to the seller, where it should end its journey. The problem is our clients, if they back out of the purchase, don't give a damn what happens to the report.

    I was thinking about adding a statement that says something like,"If this report or any portion of this report is used for any transaction other than the purchase of this property by "my clients name" then a fee of $1000 must be paid to Snowy Mountain Home Inspection", it probably wouldn't do any good but it should get more attention that a copy write notice.


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