Indiana Home Inspector License Defense Lawyers
The purchase of a house is one of the largest purchases most consumers ever make. As a result, they rely on licensed professionals like you to help ensure that their investment is sound. And when such a large investment has problems, everyone in the process is at risk of blame. That is when home inspectors may find themselves in need of the services of the Indiana home inspector license defense lawyers at Keffer Hirschauer LLP.
When your license and career are at risk due to an incident or allegation regarding your home inspection services or professional qualifications, the services of an Indiana home inspector lawyer are vital. Keffer Hirschauer LLP has deep experience in professional license defense, giving you an edge in protecting your career and business.
Choosing Indiana Home Inspector License Defense Lawyers
The home inspection profession is regulated in Indiana. Indiana Code title 25 article 20.2 defines a home inspection, specifies what must be included in a home inspection report, and details the requirements for home inspector licensure and license renewal. Regulations regarding disciplinary actions, liability, and limitations on the liability of home inspectors are also included in this portion of Indiana Code. Failure to comply with any of these requires results in the need for an Indiana home inspector attorney.
A Keffer Hirschauer home inspector attorney in Indianapolis can help you with the initial or renewal application process and capably defend you against complaints of noncompliance with home inspector or other professional license requirements and consumer complaints.
Challenging Statutory Requirements for Home Inspectors
Though intended to provide clarity and guidance, the legal requirements of home inspectors are subject to differing interpretations, which can create gray areas for inspectors. For example, home inspectors may observe mold in a crawl space yet be restrained from mentioning it in the report. Similarly, even if a home inspector observes termites, state law requires a statement in the report that it does not address “wood destroying insects.” An inspector may well feel a moral obligation to report a suspicion of active termite infestation to the prospective buyer. But under the law, that may not be the inspector’s role in the home buying process.
In situations like these, it can be tempting for a home inspector to leave prohibited information out of the written report, but mention it to the buyer orally. But the information in an inspection report as well as the inspector’s comments to and interactions with the buyer or seller can have a significant effect on a real estate transaction. At times, the results of an inspection can even be a deal-breaker. It is important, therefore, that the home inspector conduct the inspection and prepare the report in compliance with the statutory constraints.
If an inspector includes non-factual information in the report, that can affect the position of the buyer or seller, depending on the nature of the information. Similarly, if the inspector includes information that is not supposed in the report, that may likewise influence the buyer or the seller. Either situation can result in a complaint and possible disciplinary action.
In addition to the state requirements specific to home inspectors, you are also held to other standards applicable to all licensed professionals subject to the oversight by the PLA. Although not related to your business endeavors, failure to pay Indiana property tax or court-ordered child support can also put your license at risk.
If you’ve been accused of noncompliance with statutory requirements for home inspectors, failure lack of qualification for a home inspector license, or mishandling of a home inspection, the experienced Indiana home inspector license defense lawyers at Keffer Hirschauer LLP can advise you of your rights and responsibilities under the law and work with you through the licensing process, claim investigation, and defense of your qualifications and performance.
Other Issues that May Affect a Home Inspector License
In addition to issues regarding information that should and should not to be included in a home inspection report, state law includes other prohibitions and requirements for home inspectors. Following are examples of circumstances that could put a home inspector’s license at risk:
- Disclosing information concerning the results of a home inspection without the approval of your client
- Accepting compensation for the same service from more than one party without the consent of all parties
- Directly or indirectly accepting commissions or allowances from other parties dealing with your client in connection with any repair work recommended in the home inspection report
- Failing to disclose to your client information about a business interest you have that may affect the client in connection with any work for which you are responsible
- Knowingly making a false or misleading representation about the condition of a residential dwelling for which you have performed a home inspection
- Committing a felony in the course of the practice of home inspection or a crime committed in the course of personal activities that has a direct bearing on your ability to perform competently
- Being listed on a national or state registry of sex or violent offenders
As described above, home inspectors and the work they perform are regulated under Indiana law. The Home Inspector Licensing Board (Board), as overseen by the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency (PLA), handles all licensure matters and complaints against a home inspector. Although licensure is merely a ministerial process and complaint proceedings are only quasi-judicial, the consequences of failure in either could have devastating effects on your ability to practice your trade or maintain your business. Consulting the Indiana home inspector license defense lawyers at Keffer Hirschauer LLP early in the game could be critical to protecting your chosen career.
The Indiana Home Inspector Complaint Process
Any person or entity can file a complaint against a licensed home inspector in Indiana. The Board may also initiate an action against a home inspector’s license if it has cause to do so. Complaints are filed in writing with the signature of the complainant. Upon the receipt of a written complaint, the Consumer Protection Division of the Office of the Indiana Attorney General (AG) investigates and determines whether or not the claim has merit. If the Division finds in favor of the complainant, it notifies the Home Inspector Licensing Board.
The Board may, at this point, choose to attempt to negotiate a settlement between the complainant and the accused home inspector. The Consumer Protection Division allows at least 30 days for a settlement to be reached before taking further action. Settlement can be a reasonable and effective solution when a complaint is filed against a home inspector. In some cases, however, it is better to allow the claim to proceed and defend it fully. Indiana home inspector license defense lawyers assist their clients in determining the best path forward and defending against claims at all stages of the process.
If a settlement is not reached, the Consumer Protection Division may continue to investigate the claim. Once an investigation is completed, the Division makes a determination of whether disciplinary action should be taken against the home inspector and reports that decision to the attorney general. After reviewing the report and recommendations of the Consumer Protection Division, the attorney general decides whether to prosecute. However, when the Board filed the complaint and elected to do so by unanimous vote, the attorney general must proceed with prosecution of the claim.
Engaging one the Indiana home inspector license defense lawyers from Keffer Hirschauer LLP early in the process can be critical. We provide sound guidance on your rights, the process, and defense strategies and handle the legal proceedings for you every step of the way.
Disciplinary Actions and Indiana Home Inspector License Defense
When a home inspector is prosecuted, a hearing must be held before the Home Inspector Licensing Board or a designated administrative law judge (ALJ). If, after the hearing, the Board or ALJ find in support of the claimant, it may impose any of the following disciplinary measures against the home inspector:
- License revocation
- License suspension
- Written reprimand
- Civil penalty of not more than $1,000
- Order to pay restitution to the person who suffered damage
These actions are clearly very serious and could have significant impacts on your ability to continue to practice your trade.
If you are facing a complaint, don’t risk your career and ability to earn a living by waiting too long to get the guidance and representation you need from qualified Indiana home inspector license defense lawyers. Keffer Hirschauer LLP has Indiana home inspector license defense attorneys who help defend your right to work in the home inspection field.
Contact Keffer Hirschauer’s Indiana Home Inspector License Defense Lawyers Today
If you are facing disciplinary action that could affect home inspector license, you need legal help sooner rather than later. Just as you are the professional others rely on for their home inspection needs, you need legal counsel from an attorney knowledgeable about professional license defense.
The legal team at Keffer Hirschauer LLP has the litigation skills and professional license defense knowledge and experience you need to protect yourself, your business, and your livelihood. For a free consultation with one of the Indiana home inspector license defense lawyers at Keffer Hirschauer LLP, just call (317) 857-0160 or complete our online contact page.