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Coronavirus, Local Regulations, and The Most Common Home Inspector Questions Answered  XML
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Nathan
King
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Joined: 06/17/2014 09:32 PM EDT
Messages: 5182
Location: Carmel, IN
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Over the past couple weeks, "Social Distancing" measures suggested by the CDC have been converting into government actions - usually in the form of "Executive Orders" from a State's Governor. I will be posting a number of links here throughout this post, none of which are opinion or news sites.

Here's the first link to consider:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-business-response.html

Of course you can click around for CDC guidance on everything from what you should be doing at home to considerations while out in public, shopping for groceries, etc.

Just to be clear, as of this moment, there is no "Quarantine". Various executive orders have been executed in many states which universally at this point require the closings of restaurants and bars, but with very few exceptions all have exceptions for "Essential Businesses" and other verbiage that gives service businesses the ability to operate - albeit, under some guidelines to encourage "Social Distancing" and responsible safety precautions to prevent the spread of a virus.

Now let's assume you're anywhere outside of Pennsylvania where you're going to find one of the said exceptions or New York where you need to apply for an exemption to the Executive Order... Should you be inspecting? This is a question that really doesn't have a definitive answer. Nobody can tell you with certainty either way whether you are going to be a hero to the planet by staying at home or if you're going to do zero harm or even good by going to work. There are perfectly logical arguments at this time on both sides of that coin, I'm not telling you which way to go. Factors like your own personal health situation should be a consideration. The extent to which Coronavirus cases are spreading in your local community should be a consideration. Whatever you decide, it should be respected.

Which brings me to an incredible question I'm getting from Home Inspectors that has been bugging me for over a week:

"What is my Association doing for me?"

In summary, not much. ASHI has put out some emails to members that basically say "Ask the government". InterNACHI hasn't really communicated on it at all officially, but via social media has been rather neutral on the issue. Neither have said "Don't Inspect" or "Do Inspect" and you can't blame them for being cautious...but then you have some local/regional associations that have actually published on their websites or told members specifically they are "Not Essential" or interpreting an Executive Order and giving their opinion on such as fact. Again, you can't blame them for being cautious but let me make this very clear wherever you stand on the issue: YOUR ASSOCIATION DOES NOT HAVE AUTHORITY OVER WHETHER YOU INSPECT OR NOT. The reasons for this are simple - they aren't a governing authority. It's a membership organization and they may deliver on a healthy mix of Education, Camaraderie, Defining Minimum Standards, Credibility in the Market, Events, and of course Member Benefits to encourage your participation and make your membership dues well spent, but they don't have any authority as to whether you have a right to work or not.

My position: It is my position that Associations should clearly state and analyze, for every State they operate in, the various Executive Orders and post their findings to the membership. It is further my position that working or not working in this current environment is a very personal decision that shouldn't be taken lightly and is unfortunately going to be based for some period of time on data and facts that are anything but concrete, but not withstanding any of the above so long as there are exceptions and "essential businesses" and exemptions to be had that Associations should be fighting for those exceptions and to be considered essential so that you have that choice.

If there weren't a long list of "Essential Businesses" and a thousand cars in front of the grocery stores and official quarantine orders and our National Guard with guns out blockading streets and arresting people who were leaving their homes...there wouldn't be a question. But there is, like it or not. As to whether or not your Association has "pull" politically, the answer has always been "no", and that's because there are 30,000 Inspectors in this country. It's not that they don't try but the resources for such actions are incredibly limited and the best they or I can do (most notably Nick and I do this) is find something on a State by State basis where there is a legal issue and take the State or Licensing Boards to task. We've accomplished a surprising amount between the two of us when you weigh it, it's not always pretty, it's often expensive, and I don't have any problem with Associations not getting in the middle of those things candidly. I'm glad Nick does and he's glad I do and we certainly don't always agree on everything but that's life.


Another question from Inspectors....

"Do I qualify for Unemployment? Do my Inspectors?"

There are a lot of details here, but at the end of the day you're seeing in the various unemployment guidelines on the state and federal level (which will be distributed through the states in most cases) an expansion of unemployment benefits to include Independent Contractors and "Partial Unemployment", where you have 20 hours worth of work instead of 40 hours as an example. Some of the guidelines are going to be on a state by state basis, but it's all online now and if you or your staff are experiencing what I will call a "Temporary Business Interruption", leading to less work or hours, then you fill out the forms and encourage them to do the same. I could go through all the reasons you would qualify, but as it stands the reasons you wouldn't qualify are largely evaporating in the wake of the CARES Act.

"What about these SBA loans I'm hearing so much about?"

Here's your link: https://www.sba.gov/page/disaster-loan-applications

There are a number of options, all low interest with long term pay options. In addition to these, you will soon find a "PPP" program rolling out but those are done through financial institutions so talk to a SBA banker. There's not much downside to these loans generally, but I'd get in line for sure! Important note: You can't take both for the same purpose and you will not qualify for anything on the PPP unless you have employees. The SBA loans, particularly the "EIDL" are most applicable to most inspection companies.


"Is the FFCRA a big concern for me?"

For 100% of Inspection Companies in the world no...because they all have under 50 employees. We will be doing a webinar on this and the details surrounding it as it applies to you at some point in the near future.




P. Nathan Thornberry
www.Nathan.tv
The #1 Vendor in Real Estate & Home Inspection
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Nathan
King
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Joined: 06/17/2014 09:32 PM EDT
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Location: Carmel, IN
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IF YOU ARE OPERATIONAL...Please do so safely and with protection equipment. Some have gone to a standard of doing inspections alone (in other words, without the client present) and there is certainly some prudent reasons to do so not the least of which is that once you are alone on a job site there is an expanded argument that you are complying with some of the Executive Orders listed above.

WHEN YOU SEND OUT CONFIRMATIONS...Include the attachment here. You can download a customized version with your logo at http://www.RecallChek.com under the Resources tab. This is open to all and completely free.
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P. Nathan Thornberry
www.Nathan.tv
The #1 Vendor in Real Estate & Home Inspection
www.RWSwarranty.com
www.InspectorServicesGroup.com
www.RecallChek.com
www.InspectorLab.com
www.InspectionSuperConference.com

Find a Certified Inspection Expert exclusively at www.InspectionCentral.net
[Email] [WWW]
wallyconway
Liger
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Joined: 05/20/2015 03:38 PM EDT
Messages: 17
Location: Jacksonville, Florida
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Florida is now among the States allowing only essential business operations. Home Inspection while not specifically listed as essential, does qualify as essential in that inspections are a sub-set, similar to or a part of several essential business operations.

It is for those reasons that HomePro Inspections will continue to conduct business using the interNACHI Safety Guidelines for Home Inspectors and Contractors that our entire staff has earned Certification in.

Wally Conway, President HomePro Inspections
We are Hiring!!
www.GoHomePro.com 904-268-8211
www.MonumentCommercial.com 904-660-2915
www.ChimneyChampions.com 904-268-7200
Host of "The Home and Garden Show" Saturday 6-8 AM on WOKV 104.5 FM
#1 Amazon "Home Inspection Secrets of A Happy Home Inspector"
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rjpros
Borat
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Joined: 10/21/2014 08:41 PM EDT
Messages: 9
Location: Camarillo, CA
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California is now among the States allowing only essential business operations. Home Inspection is addressed in paragraph 13-T as being essential, therefore does qualify as essential in that inspections are a sub-set, similar to or a part of several essential business operations. We understand that we must take precaution and reduce face to face interaction as much as possible to ensure everyone's safety.

It is for those reasons that InspectPros will continue to conduct business using the InterNACHI Safety Guidelines for Home Inspectors and Contractors that our entire staff has earned Certification in.

Rory J. Hernandez, MCI, ACI, CCI
InspectPros, Inc.
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Nathan
King
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Joined: 06/17/2014 09:32 PM EDT
Messages: 5182
Location: Carmel, IN
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We continue to see exceptions and exemptions. Pennsylvania and New Jersey are trouble spots at the moment, trying to crack that. Everywhere else it seems to be good to go!

P. Nathan Thornberry
www.Nathan.tv
The #1 Vendor in Real Estate & Home Inspection
www.RWSwarranty.com
www.InspectorServicesGroup.com
www.RecallChek.com
www.InspectorLab.com
www.InspectionSuperConference.com

Find a Certified Inspection Expert exclusively at www.InspectionCentral.net
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Nathan
King
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Joined: 06/17/2014 09:32 PM EDT
Messages: 5182
Location: Carmel, IN
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New Jersey now good. Only Pennsylvania problematic. Give me a couple days.

P. Nathan Thornberry
www.Nathan.tv
The #1 Vendor in Real Estate & Home Inspection
www.RWSwarranty.com
www.InspectorServicesGroup.com
www.RecallChek.com
www.InspectorLab.com
www.InspectionSuperConference.com

Find a Certified Inspection Expert exclusively at www.InspectionCentral.net
[Email] [WWW]
Nathan
King
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Joined: 06/17/2014 09:32 PM EDT
Messages: 5182
Location: Carmel, IN
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Update: New York now no longer requires an exemption.

P. Nathan Thornberry
www.Nathan.tv
The #1 Vendor in Real Estate & Home Inspection
www.RWSwarranty.com
www.InspectorServicesGroup.com
www.RecallChek.com
www.InspectorLab.com
www.InspectionSuperConference.com

Find a Certified Inspection Expert exclusively at www.InspectionCentral.net
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Endggame
Alien
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Joined: 04/11/2019 03:19 PM EDT
Messages: 2
Location: Central New York
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New york adds more confusion to real estate market.

https://buffalonews.com/2020/04/02/backlash-from-realtors-prompts-state-to-reverse-policy-twice/

However, home inspections are still a go.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 04/03/2020 09:46 AM EDT


www.EndgameHIS.com

https://www.facebook.com/EndgameHomeInspectionServicesLLC/
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Nathan
King
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Joined: 06/17/2014 09:32 PM EDT
Messages: 5182
Location: Carmel, IN
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UPDATE:

While we have found exemptions, exceptions, and in many cases outright definitions specifically of Home Inspection as an "Essential Business" in 49 States at this point, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has been more difficult.

However, after analysis of the exceptions to the Governor's Executive Order, it is our position that any home inspector that works with The Inspector Services Group is Exempt and falls under several categories of exceptions in the State of Pennsylvania. It is further our position that no exemption should need to be granted, but we have submitted for exemption and will post the response here. IF it comes back in anything but the positive, we will pursue it further via our legal team.

Why would an Inspector Services Group/Residential Warranty Services client be considered "Essential" when home inspectors are being denied exemptions in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania?

A home inspection, as defined by minimum SOP's, is simply a current status of the home's mechanical and structural systems put into a report format for the purposes of a real estate transaction - and yes, I'm oversimplifying the job a home inspector does every day but for all intents and purposes, that's what most inspectors accomplish.

An inspector that is a client of ours generally accomplishes 3 things beyond this on every inspection;

1. Checking for fire and electrocution hazards in home appliances via RecallChek, which falls under at least one exception category.
2. Confirms operation of components for the purposes of putting them under Warranty Protection, which falls under at least one exception category.
3. Offers Environmental Testing for many different purposes including those that fall under at least one exception category.

Not to mention our extensive network of contractors performing repairs under said Warranties above are exempt. Contractors repairing recalled items are exempt. The remediation contractors and all of the work being done during a water damage event or otherwise is exempt. The network of professionals we utilize to confirm operation of systems, note items to be checked for recalls, and perform environmental testing that is an inherent part of remediation work are also exempt, logically speaking and we would take issue with any call that they weren't.

Further, it should be noted that our operations can all be handled without a physical location in the State and all of the above services can be performed without exposing anyone or even seeing anyone.

You will be updated and notwithstanding all of the above considerations in this thread, keep it safe and keep healthy and don't take your decision to continue operations in your business lightly.

P. Nathan Thornberry
www.Nathan.tv
The #1 Vendor in Real Estate & Home Inspection
www.RWSwarranty.com
www.InspectorServicesGroup.com
www.RecallChek.com
www.InspectorLab.com
www.InspectionSuperConference.com

Find a Certified Inspection Expert exclusively at www.InspectionCentral.net
[Email] [WWW]
Nathan
King
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Joined: 06/17/2014 09:32 PM EDT
Messages: 5182
Location: Carmel, IN
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It should be noted that in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, if you apply simply as a "Home Inspector" for the exemption, you're likely to get denied. This is an actual denial to a Pennsylvania Inspector.
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P. Nathan Thornberry
www.Nathan.tv
The #1 Vendor in Real Estate & Home Inspection
www.RWSwarranty.com
www.InspectorServicesGroup.com
www.RecallChek.com
www.InspectorLab.com
www.InspectionSuperConference.com

Find a Certified Inspection Expert exclusively at www.InspectionCentral.net
[Email] [WWW]
Nathan
King
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Joined: 06/17/2014 09:32 PM EDT
Messages: 5182
Location: Carmel, IN
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UPDATE: The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has turned down every Home Inspector (and real estate agent/broker for that matter) from being essential that has sought exemption with what appears to be an automated email response.

Due to the nature of what our partners do in the field which extends well beyond the SOP of a standard home inspection, our position is that Inspectors utilizing our services and participating in the environmental testing, recall reporting, and underwriting process of service contracts - all of which relate very directly to "Essential Services" that are exempt per the Pennsylvania Website - should qualify for an exemption.

See attached letter delivered by our General Counsel to both the Economic Development Commission and Governor's Action Team.

IF we hear back, from the only State that has put such strict guidelines forth, we will be notifying our clients. It's important to note that even in the State of New York, ground zero in every numerical way currently in the fight against the Covid-19 Virus, Home Inspectors and other service providers have been granted exemptions. While real estate has been deemed Essential most everywhere, there are a few exceptions of note: Pennsylvania and Michigan being two of them.
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This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 04/14/2020 05:20 PM EDT


P. Nathan Thornberry
www.Nathan.tv
The #1 Vendor in Real Estate & Home Inspection
www.RWSwarranty.com
www.InspectorServicesGroup.com
www.RecallChek.com
www.InspectorLab.com
www.InspectionSuperConference.com

Find a Certified Inspection Expert exclusively at www.InspectionCentral.net
[Email] [WWW]
 
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