Using home inspectors as insurance for a home purchase- Think again

For many people buying a new home is one of the most significant financial decisions they will make in their life. To safeguard this investment, many people choose to hire home inspectors. What happens when a home inspector misses something was the subject of a recent case in Saskatchewan known as Smith v Hawryliw.

In this case extensive mould and fire damage was discovered in a home months after the buyer had moved in. As the buyer had retained a home inspector prior to purchasing the property, the home inspector was sued. In defending the claim, the home inspector relied on a limitation of liability clause that was contained within the Home Inspection Agreement. This clause limited the home inspector’s liability to the amount paid by the buyer for the home inspector’s services. In arguing that this limitation clause should not apply, the buyer claimed that the home inspector had an obligation to bring the clause specifically to her attention before she signed the agreement. The judge, however, rejected this argument holding that the clause was written in plain language and was right above the buyer’s signature line on the agreement.

As the fee for a home inspection will often amount to only a few hundred dollars, any type of clause that limits a home inspector’s liability to the amount of its fee will significantly impact a buyer’s ability to recover costs expended to repair items that were missed during a home inspection. Given this, a home inspector should not typically be looked to as “insurance” on a home purchase. Rather, if a buyer has serious concerns or reservations about purchasing a home, especially with things like a home’s foundation or structure, other professionals (ex. engineers) should be looked to for assistance instead.

For more information, please contact Jared D. Epp at 306.933.1326 or email j.epp@rslaw.com 

 

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Articles & Research Using home inspectors as insurance for a home purchase- Think again