Virginia Regulatory Town Hall

Final Text


SB 607 Amendment
Stage: Final
18VAC15-40-10 Definitions

A. Section 54.1-500 of the Code of Virginia provides definitions of the following terms and phrases as used in this chapter:


"Home inspection"

"Home inspector"


"Residential building"

B. Section 54.1-517.2:1 of the Code of Virginia provides definitions of the following terms and phrases as used in 18VAC15-40-130:


"Corrugated stainless steel tubing"


C. The following words and terms when used in this chapter shall have the following meanings unless a different meaning is provided or is plainly required by the context:

"Address of record" means the mailing address designated by the licensee to receive notices and correspondence from the board.

"Adjacent" means adjoining or within three feet of the residential building and that may affect the residential building.

"Applicant" means an individual who has submitted an application for licensure.

"Application" means a completed, board-prescribed form submitted with the appropriate fee and other required documentation.

"Client" means a person who engages the services of a home inspector for a home inspection.

"Compensation" means the receipt of monetary payment or other valuable consideration for services rendered.

"Component" means a part of a system.

"Contact hour" means 50 minutes of participation in a structured training activity.

"CPE" means continuing professional education.

"Department" means the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation.

"Financial interest" means financial benefit accruing to an individual or to a member of his an individual's immediate family. Such interest shall exist by reason of (i) ownership in a business if the ownership exceeds 3.0% of the total equity of the business; (ii) annual gross income that exceeds or may be reasonably anticipated to exceed $1,000 from ownership in real or personal property or a business; (iii) salary, other compensation, fringe benefits, forgiveness of debt, or benefits from the use of property, or any combination of it, paid or provided by a business that exceeds or may be reasonably expected to exceed $1,000 annually; (iv) ownership of real or personal property if the interest exceeds $1,000 in value and excluding ownership in business, income, salary, other compensation, fringe benefits, or benefits from the use of property; (v) personal liability incurred or assumed on behalf of a business if the liability exceeds 3.0% of the asset value of the business; or (vi) an option for ownership of a business, real property, or personal property if the ownership interest will consist of clause (i) or (iv) of this definition.

"Fireplace" means an interior fire-resistant masonry permanent or prefabricated fixture that can be used to burn fuel and is either vented or unvented.

"Foundation" means the element of a structure that connects to the ground and transfers loads from the structure to the ground. Foundations may be shallow or deep.

"Good working order" means, with respect to a smoke alarm inspected during a home inspection, that the smoke alarm is securely attached, not physically damaged, and operation of the test function is successful.

"Licensee" means a home inspector as defined in Chapter 5 (§ 54.1-500 et seq.) of Title 54.1 of the Code of Virginia.

"Licensure" means a method of regulation whereby the Commonwealth, through the issuance of a license, authorizes a person possessing the character and minimum skills to engage in the practice of a profession or occupation that is unlawful to practice without such license.

"New residential structure" or "NRS" means a residential structure for which the first conveyance of record title to a purchaser has not occurred or the purchaser has not taken possession, whichever occurs later.

"NRS specialty" means a designation granted by the board to a home inspector that authorizes such individual to conduct home inspections on any new residential structure.

"Outbuilding" means any structure on the property that is more than three feet from the residential building and that may affect the residential building.

"Prelicense education course" means an instruction program approved by the board and is one of the requirements for licensure effective July 1, 2017.

"Readily accessible" means available for access without requiring moving or removing of any obstacles.

"Reinstatement" means the process and requirements through which an expired license can be made valid without the licensee having to apply as a new applicant.

"Renewal" means the process and requirements for periodically approving the continuance of a license.

"Residential structure" means a structure consisting of no more than two dwelling units or a townhouse.

"Smoke alarm" means (i) a single station or multiple station alarm responsive to smoke; or (ii) a "smoke detector" as used in Chapter 398 of the 2022 Acts of Assembly.

"Solid fuel burning appliances" means a hearth and fire chamber or similarly prepared place in which a fire may be built and that is built in conjunction with a chimney, or a listed assembly of a fire chamber, its chimney, and related factory-made parts designed for unit assembly without requiring field construction.

"System" means a combination of interacting or interdependent components, assembled to carry out one or more functions.

"Virginia Residential Code" means the provisions of the Virginia Construction Code (Part I (13VAC5-63-10 et seq.) of 13VAC5-63) applicable to R-5 residential structures and that includes provisions of the International Residential Code as amended by the Board of Housing and Community Development.

18VAC15-40-120 Home inspection contract

A. For the protection of both the client and the licensee, both parties shall sign a legible, written contract clearly specifying the terms, conditions, and limitations and exclusions of the work to be performed.

B. At a minimum, the written contract shall include:

1. Name, business name (if applicable), business address, and telephone number of the home inspector.

2. License number of the home inspector, and notation of NRS specialty, if applicable.

3. Name of the clients.

4. Physical address of the residential property to be inspected.

5. Cost of the home inspection.

6. A listing of all areas and systems to be inspected, including those inspections that are either partial or limited in scope.

7. A statement in the contract that the home inspection does not include a review for compliance with regulatory requirements (Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code or other codes, regulations, laws, ordinances, etc.).

8. To the extent that any of the following categories are not covered by the home inspection, they shall be noted as exclusions in the inspection contract:

a. The condition of systems or components that are not readily accessible.

b. The remaining life of any system or component.

c. The strength, adequacy, effectiveness, or efficiency of any system or component.

d. The causes of any condition or deficiency.

e. The methods, materials, or costs of corrections.

f. Future conditions, including failure of systems and components.

g. The suitability of the property for any specialized use.

h. The market value of the property or its marketability.

i. The advisability of the purchase of the property.

j. The presence of diseases harmful to humans or potentially hazardous plants or animals, including wood destroying organisms and mold.

k. The presence of any environmental hazards, including toxins, carcinogens, noise, asbestos, lead-based paint, mold, radon, and contaminates in soil, water, and air.

l. The effectiveness of any system installed or methods utilized to control or remove suspected hazardous substances.

m. The operating costs of systems or components.

n. The acoustical properties of any system or component.

o. The presence of components involved in manufacturer's recalls.

p. The inspection of outbuildings.

To the extent any other items are not specifically included in the home inspection by agreement of the parties, they shall also be noted as exclusions in the home inspection contract.

9. Estimated delivery date to the client of the home inspection report.

10. Dated signatures of both the home inspector and the client or the client's authorized representative.

C. The home inspection contract shall make written disclosure that the home inspection report is based upon visual observation of existing conditions of the inspected property at the time of the inspection and is not intended to be, or to be construed as, a guarantee, warranty, or any form of insurance. This provision does not prevent a home inspector from offering a separate guarantee, warranty, or any form of insurance if he so chooses.

D. The requirements of 18VAC15-40-130 D regarding smoke alarms will not be excluded from the home inspection contract.

D. E. If the home inspector recommends a person to the client for repairs or modifications to the inspected property, the home inspector shall disclose to the client all financial interests that the home inspector has with the recommended person. The disclosure shall be written within the home inspection contract.

18VAC15-40-130 Home inspection report

A. Home inspection reports shall contain:

1. Information pertaining to the licensee, including:

a. Licensee's name;

b. Business address;

c. Telephone number; and

d. License number and expiration date, to be followed by "NRS" if so designated and performing a home inspection on a new residential structure;

2. The name, address, and telephone number of the client or the client's authorized representative, if available at the time of the inspection;

3. The physical address of the residential property inspected; and

4. The date, time (to include both start and finish times of the home inspection), and weather conditions at the time of the home inspection.

B. In conducting a home inspection and reporting its findings, the home inspector, at a minimum, shall inspect the condition of and shall describe in writing the composition or characteristics of the following readily accessible components and readily observable defects, except as may be limited in the home inspection contract agreement:

1. Structural system.

a. Foundation.

b. Framing.

c. Stairs.

d. Crawl space,; the method of inspecting the crawl space shall be noted and explained in the home inspection report. If the crawl space cannot be inspected, the licensee shall explain in the home inspection report why this component was not inspected.

e. Crawl space ventilation and vapor barriers.

f. Slab floor, when present.

g. Floors, ceilings, and walls.

2. Roof structure, attic, and insulation.

a. Roof covering. The method of inspecting the roof covering shall be noted and explained in the home inspection report. If the roof covering cannot be inspected, the licensee shall explain in the home inspection report why this component was not inspected.

b. Roof ventilation.

c. Roof drainage system, to include gutters and downspouts.

d. Roof flashings, if readily visible.

e. Skylights, chimneys, and roof penetrations, but not antennae or other roof attachments.

f. Roof framing and sheathing.

g. Attic, unless area is not readily accessible.

h. Attic insulation.

3. Exterior of residential building or NRS.

a. Wall covering, flashing, and trim.

b. Readily accessible doors and windows, but not the operation of associated security locks, devices, or systems.

c. Decks, balconies, stoops, steps, porches, attached garages, carports, and any associated railings that are adjacent to the residential building or NRS and on the same property but not associated screening, shutters, awnings, storm windows, detached garages, or storm doors.

d. Eaves, soffits, and fascias where readily accessible from ground level.

e. Walkways, grade steps, patios, and driveways, but not fences or privacy walls.

f. Vegetation, trees, grading, drainage, and any retaining walls adjacent to the residential building or NRS.

g. Visible exterior portions of chimneys.

4. Interior of residential building or NRS.

a. Interior walls, ceilings, and floors of residential building or NRS and any adjacent garage.

b. Steps, stairways, railings, and balconies and associated railings.

c. Countertops and installed cabinets, including hardware.

d. Doors and windows, but not the operation of associated security locks, devices, or systems.

e. Garage doors and permanently mounted and installed garage door operators. The automatic safety reverse function of garage door openers shall be tested, either by physical obstruction as specified by the manufacturer, or by breaking the beam of the electronic photo eye but only when the test can be safely performed and will not risk damage to the door, the opener, any nearby structure, or any stored items.

f. Fireplaces, venting systems, hearths, dampers, and fireboxes, but not mantles, fire screens and doors, seals, and gaskets.

g. Solid fuel burning appliances, if applicable.

5. Plumbing system.

a. Interior water supply and distribution systems, including water supply lines and all fixtures and faucets, but not water conditioning systems or fire sprinkler systems.

b. Water drainage, waste, and vent systems, including all fixtures.

c. Drainage sumps, sump pumps, and related piping.

d. Water heating equipment, including energy source and related vent systems, flues, and chimneys, but not solar water heating systems.

e. Fuel storage and distribution systems for visible leaks.

6. Electrical system.

a. Service drop.

b. Service entrance conductors, cables, and raceways.

c. Service equipment and main disconnects.

d. Service grounding.

e. Interior components of service panels and sub panels, including feeders.

f. Conductors.

g. Overcurrent protection devices.

h. Readily accessible installed lighting fixtures, switches, and receptacles.

i. Ground fault circuit interrupters.

j. Presence or absence of smoke detectors alarms.

k. Presence of solid conductor aluminum branch circuit wiring.

l. Arc fault interrupters shall be noted if installed but not tested if equipment is attached to them.

7. Heating system.

a. Heating equipment, including operating controls, but not heat exchangers, gas logs, built-in gas burning appliances, grills, stoves, space heaters, solar heating devices, or heating system accessories such as humidifiers, air purifiers, motorized dampers, and heat reclaimers.

b. Energy source.

c. Heating distribution system.

d. Vent systems, flues, and chimneys, including dampers.

8. Air conditioning system.

a. Central and installed wall air conditioning equipment.

b. Operating controls, access panels, and covers.

c. Energy source.

d. Cooling distribution system.

C. Systems in the home that are turned off, winterized, or otherwise secured so that they do not respond to normal activation using standard operating controls need not be put into operating condition. The home inspector shall state, in writing, the reason these systems or components were not inspected.

D. For any smoke alarms that are readily accessible in the residential building or NRS, the home inspection report must include a determination of whether the smoke alarms are in good working order as defined in 18VAC15-40-10.

1. A home inspector is not required to operate the test function of a smoke alarm if the smoke alarm is part of a central alarm system or security system in which such testing will automatically alert a fire department or other authority. To the extent the home inspector is unable to determine whether testing will cause an automatic alert, the home inspector is not required to operate the test function of the smoke alarm.

2. If a smoke alarm is not readily accessible or there are any limitations in determining whether it is in good working order, the home inspection report must state that it is not readily accessible or describe such limitations, as applicable.

3. The home inspection report must include the substance of the following: It is recommended that a home have smoke alarms on each level of the dwelling and in every bedroom or sleeping area. Clients should replace any existing smoke alarms that are not in good working order with new ones and install smoke alarms where they may be missing or not properly located. Any test of a smoke alarm during a home inspection only reflects its condition at the time of inspection and is not a guarantee, warranty, or any form of insurance. A test performed during the home inspection does not supersede the smoke alarm manufacturer's testing recommendations. Clients should follow the manufacturer's instructions for proper placement, installation, and maintenance.

E. In accordance with § 54.1-517.2:1 of the Code of Virginia, if a home inspector observes the presence of any shade of yellow corrugated stainless steel tubing during a home inspection in a home that was built prior to the adoption of the 2006 Virginia Construction Code, effective May 1, 2008, the home inspector shall include that observation in the report along with the following statement: "Manufacturers believe that this product is safer if properly bonded and grounded as required by the manufacturer's installation instructions. Proper bonding and grounding of the product should be determined by a contractor licensed to perform the work in the Commonwealth of Virginia."