Legislature(2003 - 2004)
03/18/2003 01:35 PM L&C
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 9-HOME INSPECTORS/CONTRACTORS CHAIR BUNDE announced HB 9 to be up for consideration. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG, sponsor, said this was the 23rd public hearing on this bill. He explained that 25% of the state domestic product (GDP) is real estate transactions. This legislation sets forth the requirements for becoming a home inspector including continuing education and the regulatory scheme under which one would be working. SENATOR FRENCH asked why he would choose such a short period of time for bringing an action if the statute of limitations for contract law is three years. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG referenced page 10, section 17, and answered he thought it was important that the timeframe to bring an action forward should be quite limited because any defect or omission should be discoverable within one year or with a new home, within a two year period. The basis for that is that there is a warranty by homebuilders for condos for a two-year period. He noted this was only for residential activities. He intended to keep the commerce of the state moving forward by limiting the time in which a lawsuit can be brought forward. SENATOR SEEKINS said language on page 4, line 26, says there are three different examining organizations for existing homes and one for new homes and asked him to explain those. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG replied that the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) is the primary national organization for existing home inspectors. The other two are the American Home Inspectors Training Institute and the National Association of Home Inspectors that are somewhat competing organizations and are recognized by various states to a lesser degree than ASHI is. New home inspectors use International Conference of Building Officials. He just codified existing practice. SENATOR SEEKINS asked if he was satisfied that any examinations offered by those organizations would meet the nation-wide standard and be adequate in protecting the home buyer if they passed the test. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG replied yes. MR. RICK JARVIS, Anchorage resident, supported HB 9. He said that they are looking for continuity of education for all home inspectors who might have different industrial backgrounds. Nearly half the states regulate home inspectors. MR. BILL BRADY, Chairman, Anchorage Board of Realtors, said he was a member of Alaska Association of Realtors and that both associations supported this bill. He said that this is the biggest purchase some people are going to make in their lifetime and it would be nice to know that all home inspectors are on a level playing field with the same basic knowledge and requirements. "If one consumer gets hurt, that's one consumer too many." MS. CAROL PERKINS said she is a new construction inspector and has followed this bill for three years. "With a few more tweakings, I think I can live with this bill and make a living and continue to serve my constituents out here." One of her biggest concerns was section 41 that repeals protection from Alaska Housing. Any city inspector has that protection given to them through the building codes. She is a private building inspector and doesn't have a building department to back her up and if they repeal that, she will have very little protection from anyone who thought she didn't interpret codes the way they wanted her to. 2:22 p.m. TAPE 03-13, SIDE B MS. PERKINS explained that new home and existing home inspections are two different reports. She saw a lot of improvement in the current version and a few more tweaks and they would be there. MR. DAVID OWENS, Owens Inspection Services, said he had opposed HB 9 for the last five years, but changed his position to support. However, he requested some amendments especially the liability clause being removed from Alaska Housing statutes. With the insurance crisis, he is no longer able to buy errors and omissions insurance in the state of Alaska for new construction. Existing construction inspectors have that luxury. He suggested three amendments, one a partial title change and another deals with the liability that might impact small inspectors in rural areas who does only 10-15 houses per year. CHAIR BUNDE asked him to make sure he faxed his amendments to his office. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked if two of the amendments were a title change that went with the section 41 repeal. MR. OWENS replied yes, the second amendment would be changing the language from two years to one year on page 10, line 6, so it would be consistent with the existing home inspectors and the general warranty that builders offer new home owners on new construction. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG said he had an amendment on page 8, line 19. SENATOR SEEKINS moved amendment #1. 23-LS0029\SA.1 Lauterbach 4/7/03 A M E N D M E N T OFFERED IN THE SENATE TO: CSHB 9(FIN) am Page 8, line 19, before "unless": Insert "or "home inspector"" CHAIR BUNDE objected for discussion purposes. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG explained that it closed a loophole about who can hold themselves out to be a home inspector. CHAIR BUNDE removed his objection and amendment #1 was adopted. He asked him to speak to the repeal issue. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG said the public's good is best served by taking the immunity out for Alaska Housing, because no other lender has it. One of the witnesses said the municipal inspectors inspecting homes have immunity under the locally adopted codes. If there are complaints, people do have recourse, but here a private homeowner engages a private home inspector to make a home inspection. It seems that there is a duty owed by the inspector to the builder under new home construction. CHAIR BUNDE thanked him and said he would hold this bill for further work.