We are Temporarily Closed to protect Public Safety and isolating to help stop the spread of the Coronavirus. Please read this position statement on this matter of STAHI (Southern Tier Association of Home Inspectors), our regional home inspector organization.)
STAHI COVID-19 POSITION STATEMENT
We believe that the State’s inclusion of Home Inspection as an Essential Service is fundamentally wrong for the following reasons:
· Necessary PPE supplies are low and they are scarce. It is likely that this will lead to situations where protection of the home inspector and others involved is inadequate to prevent contagion.
· PPE supplies required for home inspection at this time, such as gloves, N-95 masks, disinfectant hand washes, etc. are also urgently needed and in critically short supply by medical professionals fighting on the front line. We should not be taking supplies from them when they are most needed to save lives.
· We are expected to be approaching an apex of infection outbreak and now does not seem to be the time to loosen controls intended to flatten the curve and save thousands of lives.
· The general population does not have access to fast and inexpensive tests for the virus. It is impossible to tell who may be a carrier, since they may be asymptomatic. Early symptoms are similar to seasonal allergies and colds. Signing inspection contract waivers, etc. does not protect the inspector from this disease or the public from community transmission.
· The sellers of many homes we inspect are elderly and most at risk.
· Many inspectors are seniors, some over 70, most with some form of underlying medical condition, some with compromised immune systems. These persons are REQUIRED by Matilda’s Law to stay home (along with other requirements to even be visited).
· Younger inspectors, who may feel that they are strong and would have a very good chance of surviving the disease, may be more inclined to take on home inspections. They may also be more likely to be the asymptomatic carriers.
· Many inspectors have families. Some have spouses and/or elderly parents who are suffering from illnesses that make them very high risk if they contract COVID-19. Doing a home inspection very much increases the potential that they could be infected by their inspector family member.
· Making home inspection an Essential Service may financially compromise licensed inspectors who refuse to do inspections because they believe that it is unsafe and a threat to all parties, their families and themselves. Being an Essential Service may make it more difficult or impossible for them to collect unemployment or other benefits available to businesses and occupations that are classified Non-Essential.
· While realtors and appraisers can and should spend minimal, if any time, in the home, home inspections should take two and a half to three hours inside the home. Inspectors handle every normal occupant contact surface in a home, including doorknobs, railings, faucets, cabinets, major appliances, window operators, thermostats, etc. Inspectors must spend time in every part of the home. This substantially increases the exposure and health risk to the home inspector, the occupants and everyone they come close to thereafter. Our risk is much greater than the other professions.
· Communications and announcements from the State Department have created great confusion as to whether home inspection is Essential or Non-Essential. Waivers have been granted to individual companies instead of standards for all with clear policy. There seems to be no order that a properly conscientious and responsible licensed home inspector can rely on.
· While highly knowledgeable, experienced and responsible professional home inspectors are refusing to do inspections due to the reasons above, others who may lack understanding of the gravity of the situation or regard for public welfare welcome the work. This acts to deprive the public not only of safety, but it also may lower the bar on the quality of inspections.
· Declaring real estate business and related home inspection and appraisal services Essential seems contrary to everything the Governor has explained to us about the Pause and isolating to fight this disease to save tens of thousands of lives. We believe the Governor’s strict controls are a systematic, rational approach that is working. Real Estate transactions are not life and death matters. Spreading COVID-19 is. Why should the inspectors, their families, clients and the public be further exposed to a deadly virus for a business transaction that is clearly NOT Essential at this critical time. It would seem that the potential costs of continuing home inspections now vastly outweigh the benefits.