Since 2007 I have been providing home inspector training all over the country about legal issues that impact their practice and the tools and techniques that they can implement in their own businesses to reduce their likelihood of becoming victimized by their ungrateful clientele.

Since I began giving the seminar, I have also been asked by hundreds of home inspectors to respond to claims made by their clients and their clients’ attorneys. As of this writing, I am batting .970 at terminating those claims with prejudice.

I am not surprised by that statistic because the majority of home inspection claims have no merit. And by majority, I mean the overwhelming majority. In my personal experience, meritless claims represent about 99.999 percent of all claims against home inspectors. In other words, virtually all claims against home inspectors have absolutely no merit.

Here’s how a typical home inspection claim arises. And this is an actual claim that I had to handle for a home inspector in Massachusetts at the end of 2009. He did a home inspection for a client in August of 2009. He reported that the heat pump was functioning normally but that heat pumps need regular service and that the client should have it serviced regularly.

The client moved in around mid-October of 2009. Many will remember that in December of 2009, the northeast was hit by an epic snowstorm that blanketed the east coast from Washington, D. C. to northern New England with over 30 inches of snow. That was the day that the client’s heat pump decided to stop working. (what luck, right?)

So the client took his wife and six-week-old newborn son to his in-laws. The following Monday, after the municipalities had removed the snow and the client could get back to his house, he called in an HVAC contractor to fix the heat pump.

Now at this point, the client is not even thinking that the home inspector has anything to do with this heat pump breakdown. Until the HVAC contractor throws the home inspector under the bus and plants that thought in his mind.

The conversation goes something like this: “How long have you lived here? Three months?!!?? Did you have a home inspection before you bought this house? You did?!?!?! Well, your home inspector should have caught this.”

So now this client, who would never in a million years have considered the inspector as being responsible for this event had this HVAC contractor not mentioned it, is now convinced that the inspector is completely responsible and owes him a new heat pump installed by the friendly HVAC contractor. And he can not get the thought out of his head.

Until I write him a letter and explain to him why he has no claim. This story is a valuable piece of home inspector training.

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