Inspectors - Advocates with a Fiduciary Duty?
often hear home inspectors say they are advocates and have
a fiduciary duty to their clients. This month I would like
to discuss these terms and our duties as home inspectors.
I realize some may disagree with me and that is fine. I am
presenting my non-attorney opinion based upon my many years
of inspecting and working with attorneys. Should anyone have
discussion feel free to email me.
start by including the definitions, from "Webster's Unabridged"
of the terms:
kit, -k!tÅ), v.,
to speak or write in favor of; support or urge by argument;
recommend publicly: He advocated higher salaries for
a person who speaks or writes in support or defense of a
person, cause, etc. (usually fol. by of): an advocate
a person who pleads for or in behalf of another; intercessor.
person who pleads the cause of another in a court of law.
-Syn.2. champion, proponent, backer. 4. lawyer, attorney,
counselor, counsel; barrister; solicitor.
(fi dÁÆsh" erÅ",
a person to whom property or power is entrusted for the
benefit of another.
of or pertaining to the relation between a fiduciary and
his or her principal: a fiduciary capacity; a fiduciary
based on, or in the nature of trust and confidence, as in
public affairs: a fiduciary obligation of government
on public confidence for value or currency, as fiat money.
seems pretty clear to me that home inspectors are not advocates.
We are consultants and advisors. Advocates write in support
of something or someone. Home inspectors should provide an
unbiased opinion of the property, regardless of who may be
their client. We provide neutral opinions, based upon our
training and experience regarding a property for informational
purposes, not advocacy.
believe home inspectors have a contractual duty to their clients.
That is, to perform an inspection that meets or exceeds the
standards identified in the contract. If an oral contract
(not recommended) then the inspector still has a contractual
duty to peform at minimum to local industry standards. Persons
with a fiduciary duty typically act as agents and/or have
some involvement with the financial aspects of a deal. Home
inspectors should not be involved in any of the financial
dealings as that would remove the neutrality of the engagement.
talk next month,
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