Legislature(2003 - 2004)

03/18/2003 01:35 PM L&C

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= 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                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG said he had  an amendment on page 8, line                                                               
SENATOR SEEKINS moved amendment #1.               23-LS0029\SA.1                                                                
                       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.                                                                                                                   

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