The Texas Real Estate Inspector Committee (TREIC) met in January, and there were a couple of items from that meeting that were forwarded to the Commissioners for approval. The first was a modification of a rule regarding when multiple check boxes are used. This rule makes it clear that if an inspector chooses more than one check box, that an explanation must be provided. For instance, if only the Inspected box is checked with no other comments, it could be determined that the area in question was inspected, and no deficiencies were observed. However, if an inspector checks the Deficient and Inspected boxes, or any other combination, then an explanation would be needed. This may seem a bit redundant to us as license holders, but we wanted to ensure that if a consumer sees multiple boxes checked in a report, that there would be a requirement for an explanation. We received public comment on this, both positive and negative, but based on the feedback, it appeared that many were just unclear as to what this means. Most inspectors are doing this already. This rule is simply for clarification.
Another item in this rule was to make a change that inspectors will be required to use the standard report form even if only a single system is inspected. When a property that is inspected is subject to a sales transaction, then Standards of Practice must be abided by. Previously, if an inspector was called out to simply inspect a roof, or some other single component to the house, then they would not be required to use the Standard Inspection Report form. When the Inspection Report form was modified and put into use a year ago, there were a lot of modifications that were made to it, including the preamble. That preamble has a lot of information that is directed toward consumer awareness. This rule will ensure that even if a consumer is just getting a single system inspected that they will still be provided this information to help educate them in the inspection process and to know what their rights and responsibilities are.
At the recommendation of the TREIC, the Commission had changed the timeline on when an inspector is required to provide the inspection report to a client. It was previously set at three days. It was then modified to state that the inspector must submit the report to the client within two days of the date of the inspection, provided that the inspection has been paid for. As a follow up to that rule, there was a clarification made that states that if an inspection is paid for prior to the inspection being completed that the two-day time frame starts from the completion of the inspection or payment for that inspection, whichever is later, unless otherwise agreed to in writing.
The current Legal/Ethics/SOP course was the first time that TREC created the actual class, as opposed to providing an outline for education providers to follow. This course renews every two years, on the odd-numbered year. As a result, there is a task force that is currently in the process of updating that course for release on September 1 of this year. Staff, committee members and other subject matter experts have been working hard to get this updated to reflect updated rules, hot topics, and much more.
One of the other topics that we are starting to work on is the possibility of reducing the number of license types from three to two. Currently, there are Professional Inspectors, Real Estate Inspectors, and Apprentice Inspectors. The latter two license types are used on a very minimal basis. Reducing the number of license types by one would help streamline a number of processes across the board. This would likely take a legislative change in order to take effect, so the process will be a bit lengthy. The initial thought was to remove the Real Estate Inspector license and keep the Apprentice. Most involved agree that this would likely be the simplest. One of the main areas of discussion though is modifying the pre-licensure requirements for an Apprentice license. Currently, there is no education requirement for someone to obtain an Apprentice license. This may be an unnecessary risk to consumers and the overall education of the inspector. The TREIC will be looking at the possibility of requiring, at the minimum, an 8-hour course that covers the Texas Standards of Practice to help ensure that should someone obtain an Apprentice license that they at least have the base knowledge of what is required from the state regarding what the minimum requirements for an inspection are from a consistent source prior to ever walking into a home to perform an inspection.
Officers were chosen during the January meeting, as they are each year. The chair this year will be Lee Warren. The secretary will be Steve Rinehart. Scott Regan was elected as the Vice Chair. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, Scott has since resigned. Scott has been a valued member of the committee, and he will be missed. We look forward to still receiving his input for years to come. TREIC will be looking at filling the vacancy in the upcoming months.