A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with a home inspector in Connecticut. The inspector was trying to neutralize a claim by a former client over asbestos contamination issues with a property that he had inspected some months previous.

Now, as a general matter, the determination of environmental hazards and toxins is some distance outside of extant home inspection standards of practice (“SOP”) and Connecticut, which has its own state home inspection SOP, is no exception. Unfortunately, Connecticut is no exception only because the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection issued a letter clarifying the fact that notwithstanding the fact that the law, itself, states that inspectors are required to inspect for and report asbestos, in reality they do not have to. Thus, as elsewhere, Nutmeggers are in the very best of hands.

In the event, the inspector did in fact observe, photograph and report asbestos in this ancient dwelling even though he did not have to and, in addition, opined that this dwelling, having been constructed in asbestos’s salad days, very likely had even more asbestos than he was able to observe in a limited, non-invasive, visual inspection and that his client should, thus, seek a further, more thorough determination of the presence of this lethal contaminant by another professional possessing the requisite skill.

Most of this website’s readers should be able to guess how this movie ends.

Despite the inspector’s having advised her that the home contained asbestos, advised her that it very likely had even more asbestos than even the inspector was able to determine – even though he did not even have to – and advised her in the strongest possible terms to have a more thorough investigation of this potential health and environmental hazard by a skilled professional, she not only ignored that sage advice, she didn’t even read the inspector’s report. Ever.

Now she wants the inspector to pay for remediation. So the inspector has been going back and forth with her trying to explain all the reasons that he’s not responsible and making no headway whatsoever. So, one of his colleagues, a home inspector training Law and Disorder Seminar alumnus, referred him to me.

I told him that, in my experience, these home inspection claims never have any validity and the reasons why that is universally the case. He wanted to know what it is that I do. I told him that most folks who make claims against home inspectors go through a version of the Five Stages of Grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and, finally, Acceptance.

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First, they can’t believe this calamity is happening to them. Then, after some contractor throws the home inspector under the bus, they’re angry at the home inspector for not making them read the inspection report. Then, they begin to bargain. With the Contractor. Who tells them that the home inspector is responsible for their problems, probably has insurance and should be the one to pay to resolve the issue and, if they can get the real estate agent to pay for some or all of it, well, it doesn’t get any better than that. Depression when they discover that the inspector is not going to pay for something he didn’t cause.

Then, I told him, I get them to Acceptance.

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