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First Substitute S.B. 62

Senator Paula F. Julander proposes the following substitute bill:





Sponsor: Paula F. Julander

             6      This act modifies the Real Estate Code by clarifying the practice of home inspections;
             7      setting forth guidelines and definitions; listing exclusions; specifying requirements for a
             8      written home inspection report; identifying prohibited practices; making home
             9      inspection service providers liable for inspections not performed in compliance with this
             10      chapter; and limiting the time within which a client may file a grievance against an
             11      inspector.
             12      This act affects sections of Utah Code Annotated 1953 as follows:
             13      ENACTS:
             14          57-24-101, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             15          57-24-102, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             16          57-24-103, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             17          57-24-104, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             18          57-24-105, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             19          57-24-106, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             20          57-24-107, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             21          57-24-108, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             22          57-24-109, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             23          57-24-110, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             24          57-24-111, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             25          57-24-112, Utah Code Annotated 1953

             26          57-24-113, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             27          57-24-114, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             28          57-24-115, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             29          57-24-116, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             30      Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
             31          Section 1. Section 57-24-101 is enacted to read:

             33          57-24-101. Title.
             34          This chapter is known as the "Utah Home Inspection Standard of Practice."
             35          Section 2. Section 57-24-102 is enacted to read:
             36          57-24-102. Definitions.
             37          As used in this chapter:
             38          (1) "Alarm system" means any warning device, installed or free standing including,
             39      carbon monoxide detectors, flue gas and other spillage detectors, security equipment, ejector
             40      pumps, and smoke alarms.
             41          (2) "Architectural service" means any practice involving the art and science of building
             42      design for construction of any structure or grouping of structures and the use of space within
             43      and surrounding the structures or the design for construction, including, schematic design,
             44      design development, preparation of construction contract documents, and administration of the
             45      construction contract.
             46          (3) "Automatic safety control" means any device designed and installed to protect
             47      systems and components from unsafe conditions.
             48          (4) "Client" means an individual who retains an inspector to perform the services
             49      included in the definition of a home inspection.
             50          (5) "Component" means a part of a system.
             51          (6) "Decorative" means ornamental; not required for the operation of the essential
             52      systems and components of a home.
             53          (7) "Describe" means to report a system or by its type or other observed, significant
             54      characteristics to distinguish it from other systems or components.
             55          (8) "Dismantle" means to take apart or remove any component, device, or piece of
             56      equipment that would not be taken apart or removed by a homeowner in the course of normal

             57      and routine home owner maintenance.
             58          (9) "Engineering service" means any professional service or creative work requiring
             59      engineering education, training, and experience and the application of special knowledge of the
             60      mathematical, physical, and engineering sciences to such professional service or creative work
             61      as consultation, investigation, evaluation, planning, design, and supervision of construction for
             62      the purpose of compliance with the specifications and design, in conjunction with structures,
             63      buildings, machines, equipment, works, or processes.
             64          (10) "Further evaluation" means examination and analysis by a qualified professional,
             65      tradesman, or service technician beyond that provided by the home inspection.
             66          (11) "Home inspection" means the process by which an inspector visually examines the
             67      readily accessible systems and components of a home and which describes those systems and
             68      components in accordance with this chapter.
             69          (12) "Household appliances" mean kitchen, laundry, and similar appliances, whether
             70      installed or free standing.
             71          (13) "Inspect" means to examine readily accessible systems and components of a
             72      building in accordance with this chapter, using normal operating controls and opening readily
             73      accessible panels.
             74          (14) "Inspector" means a person hired to examine any system or component of a
             75      building in accordance with this chapter.
             76          (15) "Installed" means attached such that removal requires tools.
             77          (16) "Normal operating controls" mean devices such as thermostats, switches, or
             78      valves intended to be operated by the homeowner.
             79          (17) "Readily accessible" means available for visual inspection without requiring
             80      moving of personal property, dismantling, destructive measures, or any action which will likely
             81      involve risk to persons or property.
             82          (18) "Readily accessible panel" means a panel provided for homeowner inspection and
             83      maintenance that is within normal reach, can be removed by one person, and is not sealed in
             84      place.
             85          (19) "Recreational facility" means any spa, sauna, steam bath, swimming pool,
             86      exercise, entertainment, athletic, playground, or other similar equipment and associated
             87      accessories.

             88          (20) "Report" means to communicate in writing.
             89          (21) "Representative number" means one component per room for multiple similar
             90      interior components such as windows and electric outlets, and one component on each side of
             91      the building for multiple similar exterior components.
             92          (22) "Roof drainage systems" mean components used to carry water off a roof and
             93      away from a building.
             94          (23) "Significantly deficient" means unsafe or not functioning.
             95          (24) "Shut down" means a state in which a system or component cannot be operated by
             96      normal operating controls.
             97          (25) "Solid fuel burning appliance" means a hearth and fire chamber or similar
             98      prepared place in which a fire may be built and which is built in conjunction with a chimney; or
             99      a listed assembly of a fire chamber, its chimney and related factory-made parts designed for
             100      unit assembly without requiring field construction.
             101          (26) "Standards of practice" means compliance with the construction or industry
             102      standards required by this chapter.
             103          (27) "Structural component" means a component which supports nonvariable forces or
             104      weights (dead loads), and variable forces or weights (live loads).
             105          (28) "System" means a combination of interacting or interdependent components
             106      assembled to carry out one or more function.
             107          (29) "Technically exhaustive" means an investigation that involves dismantling, the
             108      extensive use of advanced techniques, measurements, instruments, testing, calculations, or
             109      other means.
             110          (30) "Underfloor crawl space" means the area within the confines of the foundation and
             111      between the ground and the underside of the floor.
             112          (31) "Unsafe" means a condition in a readily accessible, installed system or component
             113      which is judged to be a significant risk of personal injury during normal, day-to-day use. The
             114      risk may be due to damage, deterioration, improper installation, or a change in accepted
             115      residential construction standards.
             116          (32) "Wiring method" means identification of electrical conductors or wires by their
             117      general type, such as "nonmetallic sheathed cable" ("Rolex"), "armored cable" ("bx"), or "knob
             118      and tube," etc.

             119          Section 3. Section 57-24-103 is enacted to read:
             120          57-24-103. Inspection requirements.
             121          (1) This chapter establishes a minimum and uniform standard for private, fee-paid
             122      home inspectors in Utah. Home inspections performed in accordance with this chapter shall
             123      provide the client with information regarding the condition of the systems and components of
             124      the home as inspected at the time of the home inspection.
             125          (2) Inspectors shall inspect:
             126          (a) readily accessible systems and components of homes listed in this chapter; and
             127          (b) installed systems and components of homes listed in this chapter.
             128          (3) Inspectors shall report:
             129          (a) systems and components inspected which, in the professional opinion of the
             130      inspector, are significantly deficient or are near the end of their service lives; and
             131          (b) any system or component designated for inspection in this chapter that was present
             132      at the time of the home inspection but was not inspected and a reason the system or component
             133      was not inspected.
             134          (4) This chapter is not intended to limit inspectors from:
             135          (a) including other inspection services, systems, or components in addition to those
             136      required by this chapter;
             137          (b) specifying repairs needed, provided the inspector is appropriately qualified and
             138      willing to do so; or
             139          (c) excluding systems and components from the inspection if requested by the client.
             140          Section 4. Section 57-24-104 is enacted to read:
             141          57-24-104. Structural system.
             142          (1) Inspectors shall inspect the structural components including foundation and framing
             143      by probing a representative number of structural components where deterioration is suspected
             144      or where clear indications of possible deterioration exist. Probing is not required when probing
             145      would damage any finished surface or where no deterioration is visible.
             146          (2) Inspectors shall describe the:
             147          (a) foundation and report the methods used to inspect the underfloor crawl space;
             148          (b) floor structure;
             149          (c) wall structure;

             150          (d) ceiling structure; and
             151          (e) roof structure, including a report of the methods used to inspect the attic.
             152          (3) Inspectors are not required to:
             153          (a) provide any engineering service or architectural service; or
             154          (b) offer an opinion as to the adequacy of any structural system or component.
             155          Section 5. Section 57-24-105 is enacted to read:
             156          57-24-105. Exterior.
             157          (1) Inspectors shall inspect:
             158          (a) the exterior wall covering, flashing, and trim;
             159          (b) all exterior doors;
             160          (c) attached decks, balconies, stoops, steps, porches, and their associated railings;
             161          (d) the eaves, soffits, and fascias where accessible from the ground level;
             162          (e) the vegetation, grading, surface drainage, and retaining walls on the property when
             163      any of these are likely to adversely affect the building; and
             164          (f) walkways, patios, and driveways leading to dwelling entrances.
             165          (2) Inspectors shall describe the exterior wall covering.
             166          (3) Inspectors are not required to inspect:
             167          (a) screening, shutters, awnings, and similar seasonal accessories;
             168          (b) fences;
             169          (c) geological or hydrological conditions;
             170          (d) recreational facilities;
             171          (e) outbuildings;
             172          (f) sea walls, break-walls, and docks; or
             173          (g) erosion control and earth stabilization measures.
             174          Section 6. Section 57-24-106 is enacted to read:
             175          57-24-106. Roof system.
             176          (1) Inspectors shall inspect:
             177          (a) roof covering;
             178          (b) roof drainage systems;
             179          (c) flashes; and
             180          (d) skylights, chimneys, and roof penetrations.

             181          (2) Inspectors shall describe the roof covering and report the methods used to inspect
             182      the roof.
             183          (3) Inspectors are not required to inspect:
             184          (a) antennae;
             185          (b) interiors of flues or chimneys that are not readily accessible; or
             186          (c) other installed accessories.
             187          Section 7. Section 57-24-107 is enacted to read:
             188          57-24-107. Plumbing system.
             189          (1) Inspectors shall inspect the:
             190          (a) interior water supply and distribution system including all fixtures and faucets;
             191          (b) drain, waste, and vent systems including all fixtures;
             192          (c) water heating equipment;
             193          (d) vent systems, flues, and chimneys;
             194          (e) fuel storage and fuel distribution systems; and
             195          (f) drainage sumps, sump pumps, and related piping.
             196          (2) Inspectors shall describe the:
             197          (a) water supply, drain, waste, and vent piping materials;
             198          (b) water heating equipment including the energy source; and
             199          (c) location of main water and main fuel shut-off valves.
             200          (3) Inspectors are not required to inspect:
             201          (a) clothes washing machine connections;
             202          (b) interiors of flues or chimneys that are not readily accessible;
             203          (c) wells, well pumps, or water storage related equipment;
             204          (d) conditioning systems;
             205          (e) solar water heating systems;
             206          (f) fire and lawn sprinkler systems; or
             207          (g) private waste disposal systems.
             208          (4) Inspectors are not required to determine:
             209          (a) whether water supply and waste disposal systems are public or private;
             210          (b) quantity or quality of the water supply; or
             211          (c) whether safety valves or shut-off valves operate.

             212          Section 8. Section 57-24-108 is enacted to read:
             213          57-24-108. Electrical system.
             214          (1) Inspectors shall inspect:
             215          (a) service drop;
             216          (b) service entrance conductors, cables, and raceways;
             217          (c) service equipment and main disconnects;
             218          (d) service grounding;
             219          (e) interior components of service panels and subpanels;
             220          (f) conductors;
             221          (g) over current protection devices;
             222          (h) a representative number of installed lighting fixtures, switches, and replacements;
             223      and
             224          (i) ground fault circuit interrupters.
             225          (2) Inspectors shall describe:
             226          (a) amperage and voltage rating of the service;
             227          (b) location of main disconnect(s) and subpanels; and
             228          (c) wiring methods.
             229          (3) Inspectors shall report:
             230          (a) the presence of solid conductor aluminum branch circuit wiring; and
             231          (b) the absence of smoke detectors.
             232          (4) Inspectors are not required to:
             233          (a) inspect remote control devices unless the device is the only control device;
             234          (b) inspect alarm system components;
             235          (c) inspect low voltage wiring, systems, and components;
             236          (d) inspect ancillary wiring, systems, and components not a part of the primary
             237      electrical power distribution system; or
             238          (e) measure amperage, voltage, or impedance.
             239          Section 9. Section 57-24-109 is enacted to read:
             240          57-24-109. Heating system.
             241          (1) Inspectors shall inspect:
             242          (a) installed heating equipment; and

             243          (b) vent systems, flues, and chimneys.
             244          (2) Inspectors shall describe the:
             245          (a) energy source; and
             246          (b) heating method by its distinguishing characteristics.
             247          (3) Inspectors are not required to:
             248          (a) inspect interiors of flues or chimneys which are not readily accessible;
             249          (b) inspect heat exchanger;
             250          (c) inspect humidifier or dehumidifier;
             251          (d) inspect electronic air filter;
             252          (e) inspect solar space heating system; or
             253          (f) determine heat supply adequacy or distribution balance.
             254          Section 10. Section 57-24-110 is enacted to read:
             255          57-24-110. Air-conditioning systems.
             256          (1) Inspectors shall:
             257          (a) inspect the installed central and through-wall cooling equipment; and
             258          (b) describe the energy source and cooling method by its distinguishing characteristics.
             259          (2) Inspectors are not required to:
             260          (a) inspect electronic air filters; or
             261          (b) determine cooling supply adequacy or distribution balance.
             262          Section 11. Section 57-24-111 is enacted to read:
             263          57-24-111. Interior.
             264          (1) Inspectors shall inspect:
             265          (a) walls, ceilings, and floors;
             266          (b) steps, stairways, and railings;
             267          (c) countertops and a representative number of installed cabinets;
             268          (d) a representative number of doors and windows; and
             269          (e) garage doors and garage door operators.
             270          (2) Inspectors are not required to inspect:
             271          (a) paint, wallpaper, and other finish treatments;
             272          (b) carpeting;
             273          (c) window treatments;

             274          (d) central vacuum systems;
             275          (e) household appliances; or
             276          (f) recreational facilities.
             277          Section 12. Section 57-24-112 is enacted to read:
             278          57-24-112. Insulation and ventilation.
             279          (1) Inspectors shall inspect:
             280          (a) insulation and vapor retarders in unfinished spaces;
             281          (b) ventilation of attics and foundation areas; and
             282          (c) mechanical ventilation systems.
             283          (2) Inspectors shall describe:
             284          (a) insulation and vapor retarders in unfinished spaces; and
             285          (b) absence of insulation in unfinished spaces at conditioned surfaces.
             286          (3) Inspectors are not required to:
             287          (a) disturb insulation or vapor retarders; or
             288          (b) determine indoor air quality.
             289          Section 13. Section 57-24-113 is enacted to read:
             290          57-24-113. Fireplaces and solid fuel burning appliances.
             291          (1) Inspectors shall inspect:
             292          (a) system components; and
             293          (b) vent systems, flues, and chimneys.
             294          (2) Inspectors shall describe:
             295          (a) fireplaces and solid fuel burning appliances; and
             296          (b) chimneys.
             297          (3) Inspectors are not required to:
             298          (a) inspect interiors of flues or chimneys;
             299          (b) inspect fire screens and doors;
             300          (c) inspect seals and gaskets;
             301          (d) inspect automatic fuel feed devices;
             302          (e) inspect mantles and fireplace surrounds;
             303          (f) inspect combustion make-up air devices;
             304          (g) inspect heat distribution assists whether gravity controlled or fan assisted;

             305          (h) ignite or extinguish fires;
             306          (i) determine draft characteristics; or
             307          (j) move fireplace inserts, stoves, or firebox contents.
             308          Section 14. Section 57-24-114 is enacted to read:
             309          57-24-114. General limitations and exclusions.
             310          (1) Home inspections performed in accordance with this chapter shall include the
             311      following general limitations:
             312          (a) that the inspection is not technically exhaustive and will not identify concealed
             313      conditions of latent defects; and
             314          (b) that the inspection is applicable to buildings with four or fewer dwelling units and
             315      their garages or carports.
             316          (2) Home inspections performed in accordance with this chapter shall include the
             317      following general exclusions:
             318          (a) inspectors are not required to perform any action or make any determination unless
             319      specifically stated in this chapter, except as may be required by lawful authority; and
             320          (b) inspectors are not required to determine:
             321          (i) condition of systems or components which are not readily accessible;
             322          (ii) remaining life of any system or component;
             323          (iii) strength, adequacy, effectiveness, or efficiency of any system or component;
             324          (iv) causes of any condition or deficiency;
             325          (v) methods, materials, or costs of corrections;
             326          (vi) future conditions including failure of system or components;
             327          (vii) suitability of the property for any specialized use;
             328          (viii) compliance with regulatory requirements such as codes, regulations, laws, and
             329      ordinances;
             330          (ix) market value of the property or its marketability;
             331          (x) advisability of the purchase of the property;
             332          (xi) presence of potentially hazardous plants or animals including wood destroying
             333      organisms or diseases harmful to humans;
             334          (xii) presence of any environmental hazards including toxins, carcinogens, noise, and
             335      contaminants in soil, water, and air;

             336          (xiii) effectiveness of any system installed or methods utilized to control or remove
             337      suspected hazardous substances;
             338          (xiv) operating costs of systems or components; or
             339          (xv) acoustical properties of any system or component.
             340          (c) Inspectors are not required to offer or perform:
             341          (i) any act or service contrary to law;
             342          (ii) engineering services;
             343          (iii) work in any trade or any professional service other than home inspection; or
             344          (iv) offer warranties or guarantees of any kind.
             345          (d) Inspectors are not required to operate:
             346          (i) any system or component which is shut down or otherwise inoperable;
             347          (ii) any system or component which does not respond to normal operating controls; or
             348          (iii) shut-off valves.
             349          (e) Inspectors are not required to enter:
             350          (i) any area which will, in the opinion of the inspector, likely be dangerous to the
             351      inspector or other persons, or damage the property or its systems or components; or
             352          (ii) under floor crawl spaces or attics which are not readily accessible.
             353          (f) Inspectors are not required to inspect:
             354          (i) underground items including storage tanks or other underground indications of their
             355      presence, whether abandoned or active;
             356          (ii) systems or components which are not installed;
             357          (iii) decorative items;
             358          (iv) systems or components located in areas that are not entered in accordance with this
             359      chapter;
             360          (v) detached structures other than garages and carports; or
             361          (vi) common elements or common areas in multiunit housing, such as condominium
             362      properties or cooperative housing.
             363          (g) Inspectors are not required to:
             364          (i) perform any procedure or operation which will, in the opinion of the inspector,
             365      likely be dangerous to the inspector or other persons or damage the property or its components;
             366          (ii) move or suspend ceiling tiles, personal property, furniture, equipment, plants, soil,

             367      snow, ice, or debris; or
             368          (iii) dismantle any system or component, except as explicitly required by this chapter.
             369          Section 15. Section 57-24-115 is enacted to read:
             370          57-24-115. Utah home inspector code of ethics.
             371          (1) It is the duty of home inspectors to practice the profession according to this chapter.
             372          (2) Inspectors shall:
             373          (a) express an opinion only when it is based on practical experience;
             374          (b) be fair in actions toward each client;
             375          (c) not disclose any information concerning the results of the inspection without the
             376      approval of the clients or their representatives;
             377          (d) not accept compensation, financial or otherwise, from more than one interested
             378      party for the same service without the consent of all interested parties;
             379          (e) not accept nor offer commissions or allowances, directly or indirectly, from other
             380      parties dealing with their client in connection with the work for which the home inspector is
             381      responsible; and
             382          (f) (i) promptly disclose to his client any interest in a business which may affect the
             383      client; and
             384          (ii) not allow an interest in any business to affect the quality of the results of the
             385      inspector's inspection work which they may be called upon to perform.
             386          Section 16. Section 57-24-116 is enacted to read:
             387          57-24-116. Time to file grievance by client.
             388          A home inspection is an evaluation of property at a particular point in time, but not
             389      meant to be a warranty of any kind to the client. The maximum time that a client may file a
             390      complaint or commence a suit against an inspector for failure to fully comply with an
             391      inspection as provided under this chapter is one year from the date of the inspector's inspection.

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