What should I do if the inspector failed to inspect the roof of our newly purchased home?

We hired an inspector for our home which we purchased 2 1/2 months ago and now we have many problems with it. It seems as though it was installed improperly as well. What should we do?

Asked on June 17, 2009 under Real Estate Law, Oklahoma


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Contact the lawyer that represented you during the closing.  If you do not have a copy of the inspector's report get.  There are specific circumstances that determine whether a home inspector is liable for a claim.  When property defects are not reported during a home inspection, the inspectorthe inspector is liable if the defects are within the scope of the inspection and were visible and accessible at the time of the inspection.  With regards to a roof, for example, if weather prevented inspection the inspection report should clearly state that this area was not inspected and that further inspection is recommended prior to close of escrow (see if this is the case here). Conditions not within the scope of a home inspection are typically itemized in the inspector's contract and in the report. These include conditions that are not visible or accessible because they are underground or contained within the construction of the building. Other exclusions include structural and geological engineering, infestation by wood-destroying organisms (such as termites), low-voltage electrical systems, septic systems, water wells and more.

Home inspectors typically include language in their contracts that limit the chances of being sued. These include mediation and arbitration clauses (not enforceable in all states). They also may include specific monetary limits on liability (also not enforceable in all states).

Home buyers, however, can undermine a valid claim against a home inspector by repairing the defect before the inspector has been notified about the problem. Home inspectors should have the opportunity to view disputed defects, to discuss whether they are was within the scope of the inspection, whether they were visible on the day of the inspection, and whether they existed on the day of the inspection. Inspectors who are liable should be allowed to hire a repair contractor, to make repairs themselves, or simply to pay the costs of repairs.  Consult with your lawyer and ask them to draft a letter contacting the inspector regarding the roof asking the inspector to contact you directly.  Good luck.

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