Winter 2023: A look forward
The combination of Covid-19 and a crazy sellers' market, led by low interest rates and soaring house prices decimated the home inspection profession in Ontario, and across Canada. With homebuyers placing unconditional offers on resale properties, an estimated 85% reduction in demand sent an overwhelming number of professional inspectors out of the business and into retirement or elsewhere.
The demand for home inspections is slowing recovering but even with house prices falling as much as 30 percent, soaring interest rates serve to cap demand - even with plenty of listings to choose from. When requests for home inspections really get going again, a new crop of inspectors will be generated - and with no licensing requirement in Ontario we may be headed for real mess. How did we get here? Read on...
Spring 2018: Looking back
After decades of debate among home inspectors and our scattered professional associations, in April 2017 the Ontario government passed The Home Inspection Act to establish minimum standards for inspection, as well as qualifications for inspectors.
It should now be a legal requirement that home inspectors be qualified and insured in order to obtain a license, and that no one should practice the business of home inspections without a proper license. No more casual inspections. No more inspections without service agreements in place, and a really, for real report written and delivered to clients after every inspection.
But hold on a sec… the new law will not be effective until the government creates and implements a regulatory body or finds a pre-existing regulatory body ready to administer the law for home inspectors.
Insurance requirements, standards of practice, a code of ethics and a disciplinary committee are but a few of the things which will need to be hashed out over the coming months – and these things don’t come for free.
Rumour has it, at least a million more dollars (on top of the three or four million already spent over the lifetime of licensing k’fluffle) is required to get this thing off the ground. And that’s with a buy-in of about $1500 from each and every identifiable home inspector in the province. (Good luck with that.)
The light at the end of the tunnel is but a flickering candle in the wind. The current government doesn’t seem to be in the mood to spend money on this project, probably because home inspectors aren’t really, anywhere near the top of the list for consumer complaints, and moreover because the Government of Ontario is up to its armpits in debt.
FOOTNOTE: With at least half of Ontario's experienced home inspectors disappearing between 2020 and 2023, the prospect of bankrolling a licensing program seems even more unlikely. I guess we'll see where that goes.
Gil Strachan is a professional home inspector, representing Electrospec Home Inspection Services in east-central Ontario since 1994.