Is an inspector liable for mistakes he missed prior to the sale of house

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Is an inspector liable for mistakes he missed prior to the sale of house

Bought our house 4 years ago Local
code was added 10 years ago
inspector missed it. It must be fixed
before we can re-sell house. Are
inspectors insured or bonded for such

Asked on August 13, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Missouri


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

First, you have to check the terms of the agreement/contract you signed with the inspector, many, probably most, such agreement have terms or provisions which limit the inspector's liability to the amount you paid the inspector and, if so, such a limitation is legal and enforceable. 
Second, you'd have to show that the inspector's failure to catch this code issue was negligent or unreasonably careless. That is not a given: inspectors know construction and the majority of common code issues, but are not expected or required to know every variation in county or municipal code. Also, they are not expected to catch latent or hidden issues--e.g. things they'd have to open up a wall for. You would need to be able to show that THIS ommission or failure is considered unreasonably careless, and you would need the testimony from other inspectors or similar experts to show that the failure to catch this particular issue was negligent in order to win the case.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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