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Why do we regulate home inspectors?

April 3, 2019

Why Do We Regulate Home Inspectors?

Today (April 2) I had another lesson in the folly of occupational licensing. I attended a meeting of the Governor’s Regulatory Review Council (GRRC) where the subject for the entire meeting, over an hour and a half, was taken up with how many hours an assistant to a home inspector, called a “parallel inspector,” should have to serve before advancing to the next level of regulation. This subject is one of several that comes under the purview of the Arizona Board of Technical Registration (BTR). I learned early in the meeting that this very small part of the BTR mandate had required the attention of GRRC several times since June of last year, and that it was one part of a longer regulation that required GRRC approval.

During the meeting I learned that there are three schools that teach home inspecting and that each applicant must complete 84 hours of instruction and then serve in this “parallel inspector” role for five years and make 250 home inspections. Part of the reason for the length of the meeting was that one of the school operators had filed a complaint about the regulations. There were extensive discussions about both the 250-hour requirement and the five-year requirement. One interesting fact, among many, is that BTR does not evaluate the work of the inspectors, only that they complete the inspection, i.e., check all the proper squares.

Part of the GRRC responsibility is to ensure that the BTR rule changes comply with the requirements of ARS 41-1030. Another part is to ensure that the BTR rules comply with ARS 41-1033(g) which asks whether the proposed rules are burdensome or unnecessary.

Although I had not planned to testify, I became frustrated after about an hour and turned in a comment card. I simply suggested that, instead of spending over an hour debating this minutia, the GRCC should spend ten minutes discussing whether we should be regulating home inspectors at all. The GRRC chair said that was not in their purview. But I thought to myself: “Don’t we have a Republican Governor who wants to reduce regulations, and don’t we have Republican majorities in both houses? What is the obstacle?”

After the agonizing hour and a half debate and discussion, the GRRC decided that the proposed BTR regulations do comply with ARS 41-1030 but that they are overly burdensome, i.e., failing ARS 41-1033(g). Therefore, GRRC decided to amend the rules to leave the 250-hour requirement in place but to lower the time requirement from five years to three.

If it does not boggle your mind, wondering whether we should be regulating home inspectors at all, here is a final thought: This GRRC meeting required the time of five GRRC board members, three GRRC staff members, two BTR staff members, one attorney for the GRRC, one attorney for the AZ Attorney General, one school inspector operator, one volunteer member of the BTR Rules and Standards Committee, and about ten others in the audience whose mission was not clear to me.

This situation is completely insane. Why don’t we deregulate this whole realm and let all these people do something productive with their time??

PS During my working career I held four different occupational licenses so I have a first-hand knowledge of how wasteful ALL of these regulatory schemes can be.

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