Date of enactment: April 13, 1998
1997 Assembly Bill 334 Date of publication*: April 27, 1998
* Section 991.11, Wisconsin Statutes 1995-96: Effective date of acts. "Every act and every portion of an act enacted by the legislature over the governor's partial veto which does not expressly prescribe the time when it takes effect shall take effect on the day after its date of publication as designated" by the secretary of state [the date of publication may not be more than 10 working days after the date of enactment].
1997 WISCONSIN ACT 81
An Act to create 440.08 (2) (a) 38g. and subchapter X of chapter 440 [precedes 440.97] of the statutes; relating to: the regulation of home inspectors, providing an exemption from emergency rule procedures, granting rule-making authority and providing penalties.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do enact as follows:
81,1 Section 1. 440.08 (2) (a) 38g. of the statutes is created to read:
440.08 (2) (a) 38g. Home inspector: January 1 of each odd-numbered year; $41.
81,2 Section 2. Subchapter X of chapter 440 [precedes 440.97] of the statutes is created to read:
Chapter 440
Subchapter X
Home inspectors
440.97 Definitions. In this subchapter:
(1) "Client" means a person who contracts with a home inspector for a home inspection.
(2) "Compensation" means direct or indirect payment, including the expectation of payment whether or not actually received.
(3) "Dwelling unit" means a structure or that part of a structure that is used or intended to be used as a home, residence or sleeping place by one person or by 2 or more persons who are maintaining a common household, to the exclusion of all others.
(4) "Home inspection" means the process by which a home inspector examines the observable systems and components of improvements to residential real property that are readily accessible.
(5) "Home inspection report" means a written opinion of a home inspector concerning all of the following:
(a) The condition of the improvements to residential real property that contains not more than 4 dwelling units.
(b) The condition of mechanical and structural components of the improvements specified in par. (a).
(6) "Home inspector" means an individual who, for compensation, conducts a home inspection.
(7) "Technically exhaustive" means the extensive use of measurements, instruments, testing, calculations and other means to develop scientific or engineering findings, conclusions or recommendations.
440.971 Registry established. The department shall establish a registry of home inspectors.
440.9712 Registration required. (1) Except as provided in s. 440.9715, no individual may act as a home inspector, use the title "home inspector", use any title or description that implies that he or she is a home inspector or represent himself or herself to be a home inspector unless the individual is registered under this subchapter.
(1m) No business entity may provide home inspection services unless each of the home inspectors employed by the business entity is registered under this subchapter.
(2) No business entity may use, in connection with the name or signature of the business entity, the title "home inspectors" to describe the business entity's services, unless each of the home inspectors employed by the business entity is registered under this subchapter.
440.9715 Applicability. A registration is not required under this subchapter for any of the following:
(1) An individual who conducts a home inspection while lawfully practicing within the scope of a license, permit or certificate granted to that individual by a state governmental agency.
(2) An individual who constructs, repairs or maintains improvements to residential real property, if the individual conducts home inspections only as part of his or her business of constructing, repairing or maintaining improvements to real property and if the individual does not describe himself or herself as a registered home inspector or convey the impression that he or she is a registered home inspector.
(3) An individual who conducts home inspections in the normal course of his or her employment as an employe of a federal, state or local governmental agency.
440.972 Registration of home inspectors. (1) The department shall register an individual under this subchapter if the individual does all of the following:
(a) Submits an application for registration to the department on a form provided by the department.
(b) Pays the fee specified in s. 440.05 (1).
(c) Submits evidence satisfactory to the department that he or she is not subject to a pending criminal charge, or has not been convicted of a felony, misdemeanor or other offense, the circumstances of which substantially relate to the practice of home inspection.
(d) Passes an examination under s. 440.973 (1).
(2) The renewal date and renewal fee for certificates granted under this section are specified under s. 440.08 (2) (a) 38g.
440.973 Examinations. (1) No person may be registered under this subchapter unless he or she passes an examination approved by the department. In approving an examination under this subsection, the department shall consider the use of an examination that is similar to an examination that is required for membership in the American Society of Home Inspectors.
(2) The department shall conduct examinations for home inspector registration at least semiannually at times and places determined by the department.
(3) An individual is not eligible for examination unless the individual has satisfied the requirements for registration under s. 440.972 (1) (a) to (c) at least 30 days before the date of the examination.
440.974 Rules. (1) The department shall promulgate rules necessary to administer this subchapter, including rules to establish all of the following:
(a) Standards for acceptable examination performance by an applicant for registration.
(b) Subject to s. 440.975, standards for the practice of home inspection by home inspectors and standards for specifying the mechanical and structural components of improvements to residential real property that are included in a home inspection. The rules promulgated under this paragraph may not require a home inspector to use a specified form for the report required under s. 440.975 (3).
(c) Subject to s. 440.975, the information that a home inspector is required to provide to a client concerning the results of the home inspection conducted by the home inspector.
(2) The department shall promulgate rules establishing continuing education requirements for individuals registered under this subchapter. The rules promulgated under this subsection shall require the completion of at least 20 hours of continuing education during each calendar year.
440.975 Standards of practice. (1) In this section, "reasonably competent and diligent inspection" means an inspection that complies with the standards established under this subchapter or the rules promulgated under this subchapter.
(2) A home inspector shall perform a reasonably competent and diligent inspection to detect observable conditions of an improvement to residential real property. Except for removing an access panel that is normally removed by an occupant of residential real property, this subsection does not require a home inspector to disassemble any component of an improvement to residential real property. A reasonably competent and diligent inspection under this subsection is not required to be technically exhaustive.
(3) After completing a home inspection, a home inspector shall submit a written report to a client that does all of the following:
(a) Lists the components of an improvement to residential real property that the home inspector is required to inspect under the rules promulgated under s. 440.974 (1) (b).
(b) Lists the components of an improvement to residential real property that the home inspector has inspected.
(c) Describes any condition of an improvement to residential real property or of any component of an improvement to residential real property that is detected by the home inspector during his or her home inspection and that, if not repaired, will have a significant adverse effect on the life expectancy of the improvement or the component of the improvement.
(d) Provides any other information that the home inspector is required to provide under the rules promulgated under s. 440.974 (1) (c).
(4) A home inspector is not required to report on any of the following:
(a) The life expectancy of an improvement to residential real property or a component of an improvement to residential real property.
(b) The cause of the need for any major repair to an improvement to residential real property or a component of an improvement to residential real property.
(c) The method of making any repair or correction, the materials needed for any repair or correction or the cost of any repair or correction.
(d) The suitability for any specialized use of an improvement to residential real property.
(e) Whether an improvement to residential real property or a component of an improvement to residential real property complies with applicable regulatory requirements.
(f) The condition of any component of an improvement to residential real property that the home inspector was not required to inspect under the rules promulgated under s. 440.974 (1) (b).
(5) A home inspector may not report, either in writing or verbally, on any of the following:
(a) The market value or marketability of a property.
(b) Whether a property should or should not be purchased.
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