Home inspectors are governed
by a hierarchy of codes and regulations.
The most general are state and federal codes,
both criminal and civil, which apply to
the general population. Next, California
Business and Professions Code, Sections
7195 to 7199 define home inspector
and itemizes their duties. CREIAs
Standards of Practice add another layer,
specifying what is included and excluded
in an inspection. Most CREIA inspectors
incorporate the CREIA Standards of Practice
in their contracts. Finally, CREIA members
agree to operate in accordance with the
CREIA Code of Ethics.
The Code of Ethics establishes
guidelines for our interactions with our
clients, sellers, and agents. These guidelines
foster a higher level of public trust of
our profession and organization as clients
and agents learn they can depend on our
clear, ethical behavior. We agree to abide
by the Code as a condition of CREIA membership.
Adherence to the ethical guidelines is critical
in promoting our credibility as individuals
and as an organization. In addition to directing
our own behavior, we agree to report to
CREIA substantial violations we observe
by other members.
The Code of Ethics specifically
prohibits practices that could create conflicts
of interest: reports must be unbiased and
objective; we must act in good faith toward
our clients and other interested parties;
we must not harm the public, discredit CREIA,
or our profession; advertising must be honest
and accurate; we must not make derogatory
statements about other inspectors, or those
involved in real estate transactions, including
buyers and sellers.
The most common complaints
we receive are related to advertising, improper
or unauthorized use of the CREIA logo, improper
use of the word certified, inaccurate
listing of credentials, or CREIA offices
held. Typically these infractions are inadvertent
or relatively minor, and are resolved with
a cease and desist letter from
CREIA, followed by full cooperation of the
inspector member. The next most common complaint
is from unhappy clients who feel that an
inspector did a poor job. These are Standards
of Practice issues as opposed to ethics
issues, and CREIA simply informs the complainant
that this is not an area in which the Ethics
Committee has jurisdiction.
All complaints must be in writing,
addressed to CREIAs state office,
and must be signedno anonymous complaints
are accepted. Upon receipt by the Executive
Director, the complaint is logged, and forwarded
to the Ethics Chair for investigation. The
Ethics Chair, or one of the other two Ethics
Committee members will investigate the situation.
Generally a complaint is investigated by
an Ethics Committee member who is in a different
chapter from the investigator in question
to help maintain objectivity. The investigation
process includes reviewing the complaint
and any evidence and contacting the inspector
to hear his version. The investigator then
writes a letter which reiterates the complaint,
identifies findings, and any recommended
disciplinary action. If a situation is complex,
a formal hearing may be held at the next
state board meeting. In either case, the
findings and disciplinary actions are reviewed
and ratified by the Board of Directors.
Corrective actions could include censure,
suspension, or expulsion from CREIA. The
inspector involved can accept the ruling,
or appeal it. In case of an appeal, the
CREIA chair appoints three members to an
appeal board: the past board chairperson,
plus two other past board members. The appeals
board reviews the evidence, the findings,
and the actions and makes a decision which
is final. The appeal option is rarely used.
Complaint procedures are designed
to be as fair and objective as possible.
The goal is to encourage all CREIA inspectors
to abide by the Code of Ethics, and to assure
the public that certain professional and
ethical standards can be expected from CREIA
All Inspector Members (MCI, CCI and Candidates)
of the California Real Estate Inspectors
Association (CREIA) are committed to providing
professional, high quality service to the
public. This code will serve as a basis
for ethical decision making in the conduct
of professional inspection work. It sets
forth principles and rules of conduct enforced
by CREIA through specific procedures contained
in Section B, Judicial Procedures. This
Code of Ethics is applicable to all CREIA
members as defined in the CREIA bylaws.
Inspectors shall avoid conflicts of interest
or activities that compromise, or appear
to compromise, professional independence,
objectivity, or inspection integrity.
1. Inspectors shall not inspect
properties for compensation in which they
have, or expect to have, a financial interest.
2. Inspectors shall avoid inspections under
contingent arrangements such as:
contingent upon closing of escrow.
of fees dependent upon inspection findings.
business referrals depending on inspection
findings and/or nnnclosure
3. Inspectors shall not compensate, directly
or indirectly, realty agents or other parties
financially interested in real estate transactions
for the referral of inspections, or for
inclusion on a list of recommended inspectors,
preferred providers, or similar arrangements.
4. Inspectors shall not receive compensation
from more than one party per inspection
unless agreed to by the client(s).
5. nspectors shall not accept compensation,
directly or indirectly, for recommending
contractors, services, or products to inspection
clients or other parties having an interest
in inspected properties.
6. Inspectors shall not repair or physically
improve, for compensation, reported deficient
systems or components listed in the CREIA
Standards of Practice, within one year after
shall act in good faith toward each client
and other interested parties.
1. Inspectors shall perform
services and express opinions based on honest
conviction and only within their areas of
education, training, or experience.
2. Inspectors shall be objective in reporting
and not knowingly understate or overstate
the significance of reported conditions.
3. Inspectors shall not disclose personal
information about the client, seller, tenant,
or others involved in the inspection without
the approval of the individual(s) affected.
4. Inspectors shall not disclose inspection
results without the approval of the client.
5. nspectors will make a reasonable effort
to notify client, agent, seller and/or occupant
of immediate safety hazards discovered in
the course of an inspection.
shall avoid activities that harm the public,
discredit themselves, or reduce public confidence
in the profession.
1. nspectors will maintain
professional relationships with clients,
colleagues and others associated with the
inspection without regard to race, color,
national origin, gender, religion, age,
sexual orientation, or disability.
2. nspectors will refrain from making derogatory
comments regarding other inspectors, colleagues
or other persons involved in the real estate
or home inspection professions.
3. nspectors advertising, marketing,
and promotion of services or qualifications
shall not be fraudulent, false, deceptive,
4. Inspectors shall abide by CREIA bylaws
and guidelines in the use of the CREIA logo
and other CREIA materials.
5. Inspectors will respond promptly to client
or CREIA concerns and complaints about an
6. nspectors shall report substantial and
willful violations of this Code to CREIA.
*Special thanks to ASHI for portions of
Sections I and II