Know your obligations
As a licensed home inspector, you must follow the law and ensure you maintain your good standing. This is a general overview of our expectations and the laws we oversee. We recommend that you review the laws in detail, become aware of the municipal bylaws, and get independent legal advice, if necessary.
As part of our inspection or investigative process, we may impose an administrative monetary penalty (financial penalty) for certain violations of the laws we oversee. Every contravention has a base penalty amount, based in part on the seriousness of the infraction.
Report changes to your business
You will need to complete the notice of change form within 14 days if the following changes to your business – business name change, location change, changing partner or corporate officer, change in business model, or if you are selling your business.
Collect and maintain records
It is your responsibility to collect and maintain records of all consumer transactions, your accounting reports, and other financial documents.
Renew your insurance policy
You must provide us with an updated policy when you renew your insurance. You must maintain coverage to protect against errors, omissions, personal and property damage. $1 million occurrence/limited/aggregate professional liability (E&O) coverage and $1 million occurrence/limited/aggregate general liability coverage are required. Insurance certificates must cover common issues to home inspections in BC including water ingress.
Understand your contract & report requirements
By law, the following must be included in a home inspector contract:
- address of the property to be inspected
- what will be covered by home inspection
- whether inspection for mould is included
- whether inspection for asbestos is included
- non-invasive or specify the invasive procedures that will be used
- contain the following statement ”
Home inspectors operating in British Columbia are required to be licensed under the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act and are regulated under that Act. The services of a home inspector are not provided on behalf of, or in affiliation with, the Province of British Columbia or the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Authority (commonly known and doing business as Consumer Protection BC). For more information on the regulation of home inspectors, what a home inspection should involve, how to select a home inspector and about your rights as a consumer, please contact Consumer Protection BC”
- must not exclude a garage or carport regardless if it is attached to the dwelling
- Your contract cannot limit your liability (or the amount of your liability) if things go wrong as a result of your home inspection.
- Your contract cannot limit the amount of time in which your client can make a claim against you. British Columbia’s Limitation Act (which has a basic limitation period of two years) may apply, but the courts will consider claims based on their merits.
By law, the following must be included in a home inspector report
- the report must be in writing
- the report set out an opinion on the condition of each of the things that the home inspection contract requires the home inspector to inspect
- the report identifies any of the things on which the home inspector recommends the consumer obtain expert advice
- the report specifies what is not covered by the home inspection
- the report includes: consumer’s name and address, home inspector’s name, home inspector’s business address and phone number, the address of the property inspected and the date of the home inspection
- you must provide a copy of the home inspection report to the consumer on or before the date specified in the home inspection contract
Display your licence
Make sure you publicly display your licence in your place of business and show your licence to anyone who asks (both paper-based licence certificates and standard non-photo ID cards are available. Photo ID cards are available at extra cost). Licence number must be included on your marketing materials and ads (such as business cards), on your contracts and on other documents.
Avoid conflicts of interest
The law states that you can not have a conflict of interest in relation to an inspection that results in you receiving a material gain.
BC consumer protection laws require that businesses have a licence for each location from where it conducts business. Conducting business from a location means several things, including:
- A location from which your physical presence, address, or telephone number in British Columbia is given in a telephone directory.
- A location from which your physical presence, address, or telephone number in British Columbia is given in any verbal or written advertisement,
- You have, in British Columbia, a resident agent, or a warehouse, office, or place of business.
We understand that you may provide remote working options to your employees.
Provided they are not conducting business in the way described above, remote workers may work from remote locations if they follow these guidelines:
- They can only work remotely from their home-based location.
- If the law or health directives allow, they are only to directly meet and serve clients from licensed locations and not at remote or unlicensed home-based locations.
- While conducting business, they must only, use the contact information of the licensed location in any visual representation, correspondence, business cards, or on any printed or electronic advertisement.
- Other than cell phone numbers or corporate IP-based phone numbers, they may not disclose their personal telephone number(s) to suppliers or clients nor reveal that they are conducting business from any unlicensed location.
- Payments for services may be received only at the licensed office unless those payments are through electronic means via credit card or immediate EFT, and no payment information is retained or stored in the home-based location.
- All client files, arrangement details, and associated original records of accounting or contracts handled by a telecommuter must be kept at the business’s licensed location. (It is permissible for telecommuters to retain copies of routine correspondence and other records at their home-based location).
- Persons selling or otherwise arranging for the supply of goods and services to consumers with the expectation of receiving payment or benefit for so doing, are deemed to be acting as licensees and are required to comply with the provisions of these guidelines.
Except for items 6 and 7 above, these guidelines do not apply to employees of licensees performing purely accounting or other administrative functions.
Do not engage in deceptive or unconscionable acts
By law, you must not engage in deceptive or unconscionable acts.
Read the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act, section 4.
Understand our inspection process
We perform routine, random, follow-up, and complaint-based inspections on all our regulated businesses to ensure they comply with the laws we oversee.