The 2019 Legislative Session is finished. While there was no legislative action that specifically relates to the regulation of inspectors, the Agency Sunset Bill passed, which deals directly with the regulatory authority of this Agency. Several other bills that impact the licensing authority of all regulatory agencies also passed. The Agency is determining what rules need to be recommended, some of which will likely come before the Inspector Committee at its July 15 meeting.
As many of you know, the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners (Plumbing Board) will be discontinued because the legislature did not take action to continue its existence past its September 1, 2019 Sunset date. This is of particular interest because an inspector licensed by TREC is prohibited from conducting sewer line inspections and static pressure testing under current Plumbing Board rules unless the inspector is also licensed as a plumber. If any actions are taken to modify this prohibition, the results of those actions will not become effective until September 1, 2019, at the earliest. Please see the article posted on the TREC website for additional details about this issue.
As reported last month by the Chair, the inspector committee forwarded its recommendations to the Commission to revise education requirements for inspector licenses. These proposed changes apply to inspector education rules 535.209, 535.212, and 535.213. The Commission agreed to propose these rules at its May meeting formally. Interested parties have an opportunity to provide comments or suggestions based on the current recommendations before the Commission considering formal adoption of these changes at its August meeting, and I encourage you to do so.
Other inspector rules proposed by the Commission deal with the professional conduct and ethics rule (535.220) to ensure that the rules for both inspectors and brokers clearly and consistently reflect RESPA and other guidelines, as they relate to service providers. The Commission also proposed amendments to 535.222 (relating to the timely delivery of an inspection report) to specify that the inspector may require the report to be paid for before delivery and to change the required delivery time frame to within two days from the time the inspector receives payment. Finally, the Commission proposed amendments to 535.218, to authorize inspectors to receive up to 4 hours of CE per license period for attending any meeting of the full Inspector Committee.
The Commission also approved the update to the Legal/Ethics 4-hour course at its May meeting. The course has been modified based on feedback from both the industry and providers. TREC staff is busy formatting the course manual with the goal of having it available in time for providers to have ample time to prepare to offer the updated course by the September 1 deadline.
The SOP Subcommittee is meeting via teleconference on June 24 at 1 pm to continue assessing the need for any updates to the current SOPs. The Education Subcommittee is meeting on June 28 at 10 am via teleconference to discuss the proposed educations rules I discussed above and review any comments received on those rules, and to discuss the best way to transition to the new requirements if adopted.
As mentioned above, the next meeting of the Inspector Committee will be on July 15 at 10 am in Austin. Meeting dates, times, agenda, and related materials are always posted on the TREC website before the meeting. The meetings of the full committee are always videotaped and archived on the TREC website and annotated by agenda item so that you can go directly to any portion of the meeting that interests you. This is an easy way to keep up-to-date on the activities of the Inspector Committee if you are unable to attend the meetings in person. As always, thank you for your continued involvement.