Do we have a case against the home inspector?

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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Do we have a case against the home inspector?

Our home inspector gave a green light on most everything. We have been living in our house 30 days and have not even made the first mortgage payment. However, the HVAC went out, our roof leaked and our pipes are leaking also. The home warranty and home insurance have both been contacted. We just want to know if there is a case against our home inspector for missing some of the major items things that our warranty won’t cover like the whole house needing to be re-plumbed and the roof that is 85% damaged that he cleared and said was all good.

Asked on August 21, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Tennessee


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Suing the home inspector is problematic. First, you have to prove that a reasonable home inspector would have caught these items--and clearly, some might not be caught (e.g. a roof leak might only be caught during the rain or immediately after a heavy rain; if HVAC was working when he tested it, there's no way for him to know if there was some problem waiting to happen; if there was no visible water damage from the leaking pipes at the time of inspection, there'd be no way for him to find any leaks). Second, even if you can prove he should have caught some or all of these things, most home inspectore contracts limit the inspector's possible to liability to the return of what you paid him; if your contract has such a provision, is binding and enforceable and the most you can get is your money back, which may not be worthwhile.

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