A closer look at Hawaii home inspectors
The debate has started over whether Hawaii home inspectors, which are unregulated by the state, need to be licensed.
Should "Home Inspectors" in Hawaii be licensed or regulated by the state?
The idea is being talked about in the inspection industry and at the State Capital.
A bill introduced this legislative session has drawn attention to the home inspection industry, which currently does not have any state oversight. But as word spreads of the proposed measure, so does opposition to the bill.
Purchasing a home can be a multi-million dollar decision.
So, before some buyers sign on the dotted line they hire a home inspector.
"I'm the guy who gives a snapshot of how the home is performing or what some of the concerns might be, plumbing, electrical, structure," said home inspector Wayne Blackburn.
But right now anyone can call them self a home inspector.
"Home inspectors are not licensed, or have regulatory oversight at the moment," said Senator Will Espero.
Blackburn has taken a closer look at a number of problems in the industry, and says they come from unscrupulous inspectors or inexperienced ones.
"A newer inspector in the industry flooded a house recently because he filled a bathtub that shouldn't have been filled," stated Blackburn.
He has pushed for legislation requiring an inspectors exam and coursework to keep people in the industry up to date. This session, a measure to do that was introduced by Espero.
"Purchasing a home is the most expensive thing you will do, so you want to make certain individuals are qualified and capable who are inspecting that home," stated Espero.
Even though the measure was introduced, Blackburn knows it will be uphill battle to get it passed. Largely because of resistance from his own industry.
"I found I could not rally support in the industry for this. A lot of them are happy the ways things are, or they just don't like regulation," said Blackburn.
But others say the measure isn't necessary because the majority of Hawaii's 100-125 home inspectors already meet national requirements.
"Most of the guys here are already in a national organization that is accredited. To maintain that accreditation, you have to maintain your standing with continuing education and other requirements. So to me, the new bill just seems like a redundant thing," said Paul Signore, a nationally certified Maui inspector.
Espero is now looking into doing an auditors analysis to see if home inspectors really need to be regulated.
"A certain degree of regulation would not hurt and would benefit the industry, realtors and homeowners as well," said Espero.
Now homeowners will have their chance to weigh in on the measure, which is expected to be heard in the housing committee next week.
"I think once Hawaii's consumers find out about it, I hope they will show up in force at the hearings. I want people to speak up," added Blackburn.
Since the bill had a first reading, a petition has gone up by those opposition to the measure. Already the petition has two hundred signatures from those in the inspection industry, realtors and others in support.