ASHI – NE Chapter Education Chairman, Bob Mulloy, in a recent note wrote:
I am preparing a future seminar for ASHI, titled “Disclaimers, Will They Protect You?” I have numerous sample disclaimers for systems and components that I plan to present for discussion. Let me ask you some questions:
How would you define the difference between an Exclusion and a Disclaimer?
If a disclaimer is not referenced in a home inspectors contract first, will the courts uphold it?
Inspectors who have experienced the Law and Disorder Seminar know that “Follow Your SOP” and “Disclaiming Appropriately” are two of the six tools that I present and spend considerable time discussing for reducing the chances that a claim made by a former client will ever be successful.
Exclusions and Disclaimers are two sides of the same coin. The SOP enumerates those items and issues that are excluded from the standard inspection and that information needs to be included in the pre-inspection agreement by way of a reference to the SOP that the inspection will implicate with a link to an online version.
Exclusions refer to conditions and issues that are not going to be inspected or reported upon in a standard inspection.
Disclaimers refer to conditions and issues that would ordinarily be inspected and reported upon in a standard inspection but which can not be inspected on this property due to inaccessibility.
Disclaimers come in two types: General and Particular. General Disclaimers are those that are true of every property. Particular Disclaimers are those that are idiosyncratic to the particular property that is the subject of the inspection.
Disclaimers do not belong in a pre-inspection agreement. They do belong in the inspection report. Many inspectors, to judge from the questions I get at the L and D Seminar, mistakingly think having an abundance of disclaimers in the inspection report undermines their professionalism. The exact opposite is true. It demonstrates the thoroughness of their inquiry. More importantly, it provides another layer of protection from predatory claimants.
Fortunately, most of the better inspection reporting software programs resourcefully incorporate vast collections of well-written and time-tested disclaimers that cover a constellation of issues that home inspectors are likely to encounter in a property.
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