Virginia legislature passes consumer protection home inspection legislation

The bill, a legislative initiative of the Virginia Association of REALTORS®, now heads to the Governor’s desk

RICHMOND, Va. – February 24, 2016 – (RealEstateRama) —On Monday, the Virginia General Assembly overwhelmingly passed legislation creating a licensure system for professional home inspectors in the Commonwealth. Senate Bill 453, patroned by Sen. Bill Stanley, R-Moneta, passed the House of Delegates on a 100-0 vote.

Senate Bill 453, which previously passed the state Senate 30-9, now heads to Governor Terry McAuliffe’s desk for review and signature.

“The home inspection has become such a critical part of the residential real estate transaction and this legislation creates a consumer protection for buyers and sellers,” said 2016 Virginia Association of REALTORS® President Bill White. “Our REALTOR® members supported this key initiative as part of our 2016 legislative agenda.”

The home inspection process is used to determine the current condition of the major systems in a house such as the roof, foundation, HVAC, electrical and plumbing systems.

In 2003, the state legislature created a voluntary certification program for home inspectors. Since then, Virginia added the need to have a home inspection performed to the real estate “buyer-beware” disclosure form, which all potential home buyers are required to receive.

“This legislation is simply about protecting consumers,” said Stanley. “The Commonwealth has been moving in this direction for a number of years, and as the home inspection becomes more critical to the process, we wanted to make sure that everyone is operating under the same regulatory system. This is the last piece of the puzzle.”

“For years, we have encouraged our REALTOR® members to recommend a certified home inspector to their clients. Now this will become the standard throughout Virginia,” noted White.

The Virginia Association of REALTORS® worked with legislators and stakeholders from the home inspection industry, home builders and lending industry to create the consensus legislation.

“As a REALTOR®, I see the real life impact of the home inspection on real estate deals on a regular basis,” said Del. Jackson Miller, R-Manassas, who introduced the companion House Bill 741. “From buyers and sellers to lenders and insurance providers, many stakeholders consider the home inspection report during the transaction. This new law will allow all of those parties to have confidence that the inspection is being done by a licensed professional.”

Miller’s House Bill 741 was approved 99-0 by the House last week and will be heard by the Senate in the coming weeks.

“As home inspectors, we take great pride in providing buyers with knowledge and information about their new home. For most people, this is the largest purchase they will ever make. This legislation will help buyers know they are working with a professional who has the appropriate level of training and expertise,” said Virginia Association of Real Estate Inspectors President David Rushton.

The legislation includes a provision to grandfather in home inspectors who have already earned their voluntary certification. It also contains a delayed enactment of July 1, 2017 to give the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation time to prepare and implement the new program.

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About the Virginia Association of REALTORS®

The Virginia Association of REALTORS® is the largest professional trade association in the state, representing approximately 31,000 REALTORS® engaged in the residential and commercial real estate business. VAR serves as an advocate for homeownership and homeowners, and represents the interests of property owners in the Commonwealth of Virginia. For more information, visit www.varealtor.com or follow VAR on Facebook and Twitter.

NOTE: The term REALTOR® is a registered collective membership mark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS® and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics.

Contact: Martin Johnson, Chief of Policy & Advocacy
Email: Martin (at) varealtor (dot) com
Telephone: (804) 514-9830

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