Association des consommateurs pour la qualite dans la construction (ACQC)

Association des consommateurs pour la qualite dans la construction (ACQC)

April 11, 2013 15:00 ET

To Protect Consumers, Pre-Purchase Home Inspections Should Be Regulated by Law

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwired - April 11, 2013) - An extensive regulatory framework should govern the practice of home inspection in Quebec and Canada. This is the main conclusion of a major study conducted by the Association des consommateurs pour la qualité dans la construction (ACQC).

In support of the house or condo buyer, the ACQC developed an interest in pre-purchase home inspection and is currently studying the seller property disclosure statement.

From the outset, the research faced a lack of data: no organization publishes figures on the number of home inspections. In addition, except in Alberta and British Columbia where the practice is regulated, no one can accurately estimate the number of active home inspectors. The study focused on the pre-purchase home inspection in Ontario and Quebec.

The ACQC cannot overemphasize the importance of a good home inspection for home or condo buyers.

Although it is not mandatory, it is strongly recommended to obtain an inspection report for the property before any real estate transaction, no matter where one lives. However, in Ontario, where the seller's legal warranty is more limited than in Quebec due to differences between the legal systems, it is even more important to get an inspection report.

Yet, nothing ensures consumers that the home inspector selected has the proper qualifications. No consistent training is required for this profession: anyone can claim to be a home inspector. Although most inspectors' associations require some qualification, certification is granted after a process that varies among the associations. Moreover, the same can be said for the ongoing training of the inspectors in a construction industry constantly evolving.

We must also emphasize the differences of service from one inspector to the other. No standard or minimum requirement governs the contents of the service agreement or the presentation of the inspection report.

The recommendations of the ACQC's study are to establish a legislative framework for the pre-purchase home inspection of small residential buildings and condominium units. Regulations should cover the training requirements, the standards of practice, the use of a standardized service agreement, and a compensation mode for aggrieved consumers.

As in Alberta and British Columbia, the home inspectors overseeing regulatory body should report to an authority whose priority is the protection of consumers and the public. A transparent mechanism for handling complaints and the establishment of a public register of inspectors would increase consumers' protection.

It is possible to obtain a copy of the study by visiting the ACQC's website at www.acqc.ca.

Since 1994, the ACQC is the only consumer association which unites, informs and defends Quebec's consumers concerning residential construction and renovation matters.

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