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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Missoula, MT
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    Question A couple of ethics questions

    As a inspector in a small town, I run into some situations that may be unique. Here are two recent ones: I recently showed up to an inspection and realized I knew the seller. My loyalty is obviously to the buyer, but do I disclose this information? (The seller was not present) Another interesting one was inspecting a house I used to live in with the owner. When we moved out she rented it to a family that completely trashed it. While it was being sold as a recent remodel, all of the work occured due to pet damage(17 cats), mold, and cockroach infestation. No other inspector would have figured out the cause of the damage, or of it's existence, but again, what do I disclose to the buyer. Tell me your thoughts and I will let you know what I did.

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    John Thompson
    Shelter Works Home Inspections, LLC
    Missoula, MT

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Orlando, FL
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    Default Re: A couple of ethics questions

    I don't see any reason why disclosing the facts would be a problem. I wouldn't hide the fact that you know the seller. Just tell the buyer/client the truth and let them decide for themselves if it's a problem.
    If they have any reservations, then they can get another inspector and you're off the hook.

    Dom.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: A couple of ethics questions

    I'm also in a pretty small town. I have had the same situations. I disclosed them to the clients. I've probably known the sellers at least 20 times in the past four years. Some pretty well, most just casually. I have yet to have to turn one down, but I could see it happening if I was too close of a friend to want to be involved in their transaction.

    Jim Robinson
    New Mexico, USA

  4. #4
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    Default Re: A couple of ethics questions

    I would simply disclose who, what, where and let the client decide. I have no problem separating business from friendship, but some might.
    I would not inspect anything I currently owned or that an immediate family member owned, but anything else, I just let the client decide. Heck in some small towns, you would put yourself out of business if you did not inspect based on friendship.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Dallas, Texas

  5. #5
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    Default Re: A couple of ethics questions

    I agree with everyone else. Disclose that you know someone or whatever, let the Client decide, and walk if you need to.

    When my daughter was in 5th grade I was inspecting a house, been there about an hour, and the seller comes home. I look at her, and she looks at me, and we know we know each other, but just can't place it. She then looks at my card, and asks me if I have a daughter Kelsey. She is her teacher.

    OK, now if this goes south, then my daughter may have a really bad school year. I immediately tell the agents and my client the situation, and tell them that I will walk away if they have ANY reservations at all, and will schedule another inspector for them, at no cost. The seller and buyer all agree that they are OK with me doing it, and the teacher agrees not to hold my daughter hostage if I bring something up. It turned out pretty good, with nothing huge on the report. Her husband was a Bob Villa type, and actually knew what he was doing. And my daughter went on to 6th grade.

    JF


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Connecticut
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    Default Re: A couple of ethics questions

    Tell the truth the whole truth and blahblah blah. That is all we can do. Thats why we are able to do our jobs well. We insist on telling the truth. I wish I could say the same about brokers but thats a different breed of cockroach


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

    Default Re: A couple of ethics questions

    I turned down an inspection for similar circumstances. A fellow men's club member from my church called for an inspection. I found out the home in question was owned by friends who have been active with me in Boy Scouts for the past 10 years or so. I also inspected their new home a couple of months ago. After talking to all parties I thought it would be best if I turned it down.


  8. #8
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    Santa Rosa, CA
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    Default Re: A couple of ethics questions

    Disclose your relationship. In certain cases, I might just go ahead and recommend a different inspector.

    Disclose any known past infestations or problems. Absolutely.

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  9. #9
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    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Default Re: A couple of ethics questions

    As far as the house you used to live in you might want to disclose that fact. You may have knowledge about the house that would not be evident to a newcomer. If this particular inspection somehow landed you in court it would look very bad for you if your client's lawyer, in his best Perry Mason moment drama, told the jury that you had lived in the house but nowhere in your report did you disclose it to your client (aka, the plaintiff) and that you, of all people, should have known about (insert hidden defect here).

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

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    Default Re: A couple of ethics questions

    Quote Originally Posted by John Thompson View Post
    Another interesting one was inspecting a house I used to live in with the owner. When we moved out she rented it
    Definitely needs to be disclosed that the owner and you "lived there at the same time" ("together" may or may not be the appropriate word, only you know that).

    That discloses your relationship to the owner (whatever it was may be questioned at that time) and discloses that you live in that house before.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Missoula, MT
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    Default Re: A couple of ethics questions

    Thanks for all of the replies. As for the house I lived in, I DID disclose that I used to live in the home, but I DID NOT disclose that I knew about past insect infestation or abundance of cats. I DID inspect the house with this knowledge and found no evidence of these problems. As for knowing the seller, I DID disclose to the buyers agent (again, another friend) that I knew the seller, who later informed the buyer. In each case, both clients were happy with the work I did, and I feel as if my own ethical standards guided me to work for the client, and no one else.

    John Thompson
    Shelter Works Home Inspections, LLC
    Missoula, MT

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