Home Buying in 33331>Question Details

salem.aathur, Home Buyer in Fort Lauderdale, FL

How to complain against Home inspection companies?

Asked by salem.aathur, Fort Lauderdale, FL Mon Oct 1, 2012

We recently bought the house and found out that our home inspection company didn't point out the city code violation in the house. It is going to cost us $5000. What do we do now?

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8
I know this is an old question but just to let everyone know: home inspectors can and do cite code but are not required to by-law. See here:
http://gailmarcarelli.com/home-inspectors-building-codes/
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 30, 2014
First of all, your home inspection is not a code inspection.

State of Florida
61-30.812 Standards of Practice, General Limitations and Exclusions
(3) Home Inspectors shall not practice beyond the scope of their license as a home inspector. The following actions are beyond the scope of a Home Inspector License:
(b) Determining:
6. Compliance with regulatory requirements (codes, regulations, laws, ordinances, etc.), manufacturer specifications, installation procedures or instructions;

Because the State of Florida controls how a home inspectors perform their inspections, Home Inspectors are not allow to cite code in their report even if they know the local code.

The answer to your question about filing a complaint is:

In the state of Florida, The Department of Business and Professional Regulation regulates both Home Inspectors and Realtors.

You can check to see if the Home Inspector had previous complaints filed against them or file a complaint yourself.

https://www.myfloridalicense.com/entercomplaint.asp?SID=

Before you contract with a home inspection company you should always check them out. Verify their license and see if they have previous complaints, suspensions or fines.

Best of Luck
Stan
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 21, 2013
BBB.com.

Regards,

Carmen G. Munoz, P.A.
Lic. Bienes y Raices/Lic. Realtor
Turnberry International Realty
International Real Estate Sales Specialist
Miami, FL: 305-519-3626
realtorcarmeng@gmail.com
Skype: Realtorcarmeng
Facebook: Carmen G at Turnberry
Twitter: realtorcarmeng
Linkdln: realtorcarmeng
Viber: realtorcarmeng
http://www.realtorcarmeng.com
http://realtorcarmeng.sef.mlxchange.com/
http://www.trulia.com/profile/RealtorCarmengFL/
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 14, 2013
The situation you're describing appears to involve so-called "mismatched" inside and outside units in your heating/cooling (HVAC) system.

Actually, the regulations regarding seasonal energy efficiency ratings (SEER) of HVAC systems are part of a federal mandate that went into effect on January 23, 2006. As of that date, manufacturers of air conditioners and heat pumps now must produce only systems that meet a minimum 13 SEER requirement, rather than the earlier 10 SEER or 12 SEER.

This new standard is expected to increase energy efficiency by 30% (over 10 SEER units) and result in cleaner air and environment. Changes in the type of coolant used contributes to this improvement.

Because distributors and installers already had inventories of older systems when the new regulations went into effect, HVAC installers were allowed to use the existing inventories until they were gone. For maximum efficiency, the inside and outside units will usually need to be the same SEER number, although during the transition period, while old inventories were being used up, some mixing did occur.

Do you know when each part of the HVAC system in your house (inside and out) was built? Do you know when each part was installed? (There may be stickers on the units.) By now, the old inventories should be gone. If one of the units was replaced in the last year or so, then the entire system should have been upgraded to 13 SEER (or higher).

The company that gave you the quote is correct--At this point in time, if a replacement is done, both inside and outside units need to be compatible, and (unless one unit is already 13 SEER or higher) that is going to mean replacing the whole system (both units) in order for the system to meet the current standard and operate efficiently.

Did either you or the Seller put a home warranty on the home? If so, check and see if mismatched HVAC systems are covered. Also check your homeowner's policy to see if anything there might cover this situation.

Most home inspection companies inspect the HVAC system. Did the inspector mention mismatched units in the report? At this point, you may want to consult with an attorney and decide how to proceed. Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 1, 2012
Thank you Ms.Hawk.
Flag Tue Oct 2, 2012
Seeking legal advice may be the best alternative at this point. All the best.
Flag Mon Oct 1, 2012
Thank you for your reply. The compressor is Goodman, manufactured in 2011, bought sep 2011. I have no record of installation date from the prvious owner. Air handler is 1996 Rheem. The inspection report just state what brand and year it was manufatured, they don't say anything about mismatch.
The previous owner didn't seem to have pulled a permit for installation and he wouldn't tell me who installed it either. But I have record that he bought the compressor and other few things on his own last september. In fact, one of the A/C comapnies told me that I will not be able to sell the house with mismatched unit. That made me wondering how come no one told me that when I bought the house 5 months back.Besides, the previous owners (selling realtors) advertised that new 13 seer unit is installed in the house in their listing. Are they allowed to do that even if they changed only a part?
Flag Mon Oct 1, 2012
Home inspectors inspect the property for defective equipment, not for code violations. If the equipment worked as it should on the property at the time of inspection it is not their responsibility to make sure that items were installed per code. Code requirements also vary between city and county - city code in say, Fort Lauderdale may be different than Coral Springs and both cities may have different requirements than the county.

I'm sorry that you are now faced with a very large expense but it is not the home inspector's fault and even your agent (however good or bad you feel she is) was not responsible for checking. The seller should have disclosed that some work may not have been permitted.

Inspectors and agents cannot always know the exact code guidelines for everything within a city or county as they do change often.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 1, 2012
Thank you Ms.Sharp for your reply.
What kind of action I can take against the seller? The previous owners(both husband and wife) were realtors. The husband is also a director of a construction company. We still have contacts with them, when I called regarding this, he pretended that he doesn't remeber anything except for some paper work he left for us. He suggested us to call the company who he claimed that installed it for him. But when we called the company they told us that they are just the distributors and the owners just randomly bought the unit from them. I have invoice to prove that. I got back to the owners asking them again about the installation and permit. but they are not responding. What kind of action can be taken against the previous sellers if they have done the work w/o permit?
Flag Mon Oct 1, 2012
Thank you Ms.Sharp, I understand it will not be visible to title companies, but the home inspection guys should have noticed right? It was a obvious one that we were not aware of, but that is why we pay home inspectors.

The Condenser unit in A/C was replaced w/o changing the air handler inside. Apparently the city will not give a permit if the units are not matching. A/C companies I am getting the quote right now told me that. They are also telling me that if I don't change the whole system, I will not be able to sell the house later because of the code break! I am furious that home inspectors didn't point that out. How are buyers suppose to know all the city codes?
I cannot talk to my agent because she is the one who got the inspector to us and we already realised she has cheated us in many other things as well.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 1, 2012
Contact your attorney and see if he can help.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 1, 2012
Read your home inspection contract. City code violations are typically not included in home inspections anyhow. That is something that is usually a buyer responsibility to verify prior to closing since they do not show up on lien searches via the title company - you may want to speak with your agent about that.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 1, 2012
Thank you Ms.Sharp, I understand it will not be visible to title companies, but the home inspection guys should have noticed right? It was a obvious one that we were not aware of, but that is why we pay home inspectors.

The Condenser unit in A/C was replaced w/o changing the air handler inside. Apparently the city will not give a permit if the units are not matching. A/C companies I am getting the quote right now told me that. They are also telling me that if I don't change the whole system, I will not be able to sell the house later because of the code break! I am furious that home inspectors didn't point that out. How are buyers suppose to know all the city codes?
I cannot talk to my agent because she is the one who got the inspector to us and we already realised she has cheated us in many other things as well
Flag Mon Oct 1, 2012
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