Home Inspector/Associate Home Inspector Licensing
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WHAT I NEED TO KNOW:
I've never had to be licensed before, why do I have to be now?
In 2000, the Legislature enacted a law that required Home Inspectors and Associate Home Inspectors to be licensed. Until recently, there were no regulations in place to make this possible.
When will I have to become licensed?
It is anticipated that the licensing process will begin on January 1, 2020, with all Home Inspectors and Associate Home Inspectors having to become licensed by April 1, 2020.
Who must be licensed?
Anyone who wishes to conduct inspections of residential buildings on behalf of a client for a fee in Rhode Island.
What is considered a home inspection?
"Home inspection" means an inspection and a written evaluation of the following readily visible and accessible components of a residential building: heating, cooling, plumbing, and electrical systems, structural components, foundation, roof, masonry structure, exterior and interior components, and any other related residential housing components, unless the scope of the inspection is otherwise clearly limited, in writing, in the inspection report.
Does this license include the ability to conduct other services, such as radon testing and/or septic inspections?
No, this license grants authority for only the home inspection. To conduct other services, you will need to be licensed or certified through the agencies that regulate the services, such as the Department of Health or the Department of Environmental Management.
Is there a fee to become licensed?
Yes, the fee is $200 for a 2-year license.
What licenses will be issued?
Home Inspector and Associate Home Inspector.
What is the process to become licensed?
First, you will have to determine whether you meet the requirements to attain licensure through the “Grandfather Clause” or via “Reciprocity”. If not, you will have to follow the licensing process as described below.
What is the Grandfather Clause
The "Grandfather Clause" allows an applicant to use their prior experience to obtain a Home Inspector license without having to be an Associate Home Inspector first. The three options are:
- To take or have taken the National Home Inspector Examination and have been engaged in the practice of home inspections for compensation for not less than one year prior to January 1, 2020 and have performed not less than 100 home inspections for compensation;
- To take or have taken the National Home Inspector Examination prior to January 1, 2020, and have been a registered/licensed contractor in good standing in any state for an aggregate of not less than 5 years; or
- Have been engaged in the practice of home inspections for compensation for not less than 2 years and performed not less than 150 home inspections for compensation prior to January 1, 2020.
How do I obtain a license through Reciprocity?
The two options are:
- Hold a valid license issued by another state or possession of the United States or the District of Columbia, which has standards substantially equivalent to those of this state as determined by the Board; or
- Be licensed in Rhode Island as a state certified real estate appraiser or to practice architecture or professional engineering.
What if I am not eligible to receive a license through either the Grandfather Clause or Reciprocity?
You will have to obtain licensure as an Associate Home Inspector and work your way up to Home Inspector.
How do I become an Associate Home Inspector?
You must submit an application and fee, pass the National Home Inspector Examination, and have assisted in not less than 50 home inspections in the presence of a licensed Home Inspector.
Once I am an Associate Home Inspector, how do I become a Home Inspector?
You must submit an application, have passed the National Home Inspector Examination, and have been licensed as an Associate Home Inspector for no less than 1 year, and have performed not less than 100 home inspections for compensation.
What do I have to do to renew my Home Inspector or Associate Home Inspector License?
Your license will be valid for two years. At the end of that cycle, you will have to:
- Submit a renewal application and fee; and
- Show proof that you have completed 12 credit hours of continuing education courses during the cycle. The 12 credit hours shall be related to the practice of home inspection and must include 1 hour or ethics and standards of practice.
How do I obtain continuing education credit hours?
There are many Board approved educational providers who offer continuing education classes. Classes may be taken in person or online.
Are there any exceptions to the requirement that I must become licensed?
- Any person who is employed by a governmental agency or public body and acting within the scope of that government employment;
- Any person regulated by the state as an architect, professional engineer, electrical contractor, or master plumber who is acting within the scope of practice of his or her profession or occupation;
- Any state-licensed real estate broker, broker-salesperson, or salesperson, who is acting within the scope of his or her profession;
- Any state-licensed real estate appraiser or certified general or residential real estate appraiser, who is acting within the scope of his or her profession;
- Any person regulated by the state as an insurance adjuster who is acting within the scope of his or her profession;
- Any person certified or registered as a pesticide applicator who is acting within the scope of his or her profession;
- Any person performing an inspection under the supervision of a licensed home inspector for the purpose of meeting the requirements of § 5-65.1-5(3) to qualify for licensure as an associate home inspector;
- Any person registered/licensed as a contractor in good standing in any state acting within the scope of his or her occupation and experience; and
- Any person conducting real estate inspections as a part of the insurance underwriting process.
What happens if I am supposed to be licensed but don’t?
You will be subject to administrative fines and penalties. The failure of which to comply with could result in criminal prosecution.