The IAC has been busy already this year. Through a substantial amount of time and hard work, the Education Subcommittee has proposed, and the IAC approved recommending changes to how one can obtain a license in Texas. Texas has had some of the strictest requirements for licensure of any state in the union. The proposed number of hours to be eligible for a license will go down significantly, but the content of those courses will change as well. Keep in mind that the intent here is not to lower the standards by any means. The focus here is on the quality of the education, and not the quantity. The Sunset Committee had noted some needed areas of improvement in inspector education, and the subcommittee took those suggestions into account while creating these impressive changes. The overarching goal of this change is to better ensure that once a person becomes licensed, they have a much better understanding of the Standards of Practice, the individual systems to a home, some business practices to put into place, and feel more comfortable overall in engaging in their new profession. This should improve the quality of the inspection from the beginning for the consumer, as well as the inspector. Look for rule proposals by the Commission on inspector education matters in the coming months.
The Standards of Practice Subcommittee is continuing to work on possible changes to the Standards. It is still early in the process, and there are a number of items that are on the agenda to be looked at. Though it is unclear as to how many items may change in the Standards, please keep in mind that the SOP is a living document that will be reviewed on a continuous basis as the industry changes.
Representatives of the IAC are also working with the Broker Responsibility Workgroup in an effort to ensure consistency in the rules that inspectors must abide by, as well as brokers. Currently, it is against the rules for an inspector to pay to be a part of a program that excludes those that do not pay. However, it is not clearly against the rules for some brokerages to solicit these types of programs to inspectors, or other service providers. There are a number of concerns with this issue, including possible RESPA violations, lack of disclosure to consumers, limitation of consumer choices, and a disadvantage to inspectors, and other service providers, that may not be able to afford such programs. The intent is not to eliminate a broker’s ability to solicit advertisers in any way. The goal is to provide for a level playing field for inspectors and other service providers alike.
If you have any questions, please feel free to email me. All are certainly welcome to attend the IAC meetings as well. The full committee and the subcommittees welcome license holders and other interested parties to attend the meetings in Austin, or via teleconference when available.