Home Inspector Pays $100,000 For Bad Termite Inspection
Whitney, LLP obtained a $100,000 settlement against a licensed Maryland professional home inspector who missed obvious visual evidence of termites. Home buyers, especially, first-time homebuyers, trust home inspectors to perform careful, legitimate inspections which they are trained and licensed to do. However, some dishonest home inspectors offer to perform additional inspections for which they are not licensed, and for which the purpose appears to simply be making more money. A real estate attorney can help when home inspectors make misrepresentations and are negligent.
Home Inspector Was Not Licensed to Perform Termite Inspection
Prior to closing on his new home, our client hired a professional home inspector to perform a home inspection. The purpose of a home inspection is to detect defective conditions needing repair. A home inspection does not encompass a Wood Destroying Insect (“WDI”) inspection. A license to perform a home inspection is not the same as a license to perform a WDI.
Following completion of the home inspection, the inspector recommended an inspection for wood destroying organisms (“WDO”). The home inspector was not employed by a licensed pest control company and lacked the state-required certification as a termite pest consultant or applicator.
Our client was misled into believing that the inspector was qualified to detect any signs of termites or termite damage, and hired him to perform the WDO inspection. The inspector then performed a WDO inspection and reported no signs of termites. With peace of mind that the house was free of termites, our client proceeded to closing.
Termite Damage Found after Home Inspector Found None
Shortly after closing, our client discovered damaged floor joists in the crawl space. A licensed pest control inspector performed an inspection and reported major visible evidence of termite damage. Our client then realized he needed a Maryland real estate attorney, searched Google, and found Whitney, LLP.
Upon being retained, Whitney, LLP’s team of experts confirmed extensive, visible evidence of about $90,000 in termite damage. Suit was filed, and the parties exchanged interrogatory answers and documents, including Plaintiff’s Disclosure of Anticipated Expert Testimony.
Settlement negotiations ensued and Whitney, LLP negotiated a settlement in the amount of $100,000. Of course, every case is different and past results are not a guarantee of future performance.
This case presents a cautionary tale. Homebuyers must be alert to the difference between licensed home inspectors and licensed pest control companies with properly certified inspectors who are qualified to perform a WDI inspection.
Maryland Real Estate Attorney – Whitney, LLP
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