Can a Home Inspector Condemn a House?
Private home inspectors have no power to condemn a house, while municipal building inspectors and especially fire marshals have a lot of power in regards to building authorities, to the point that they can “red-tag” a building to halt all construction progress or even condemn a building deemed to be to dangerous to allow habitation.
The big difference here is that as a private inspector performing inspections on primarily privately owned, residential homes for purchasing individuals, we are consultants, where as publicly employed building inspectors inspecting all manner of different buildings, especially those that are opened to the public, are effectively enforcers of building code. Its the building inspectors job to make sure that construction is being performed in a safe manner and is up to building code; it’s the home inspector’s job to ensure that their client is educated and informed on the condition of the home they are buying or selling, often using building codes as a guide.
As a consultant, the most that a home inspector can do about a particularly unsafe home is to ensure that all deficiencies are clearly explained, and to strongly advise against purchasing the home. Even that is particularly rare, as most money-pits aren’t necessarily death-traps, I just don’t like to see my clients make poor financial decisions if I can help it. With that said, all death-traps or otherwise unsafe homes are almost always money-pits, so we would recommend getting your home inspected to avoid them as well.
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