|(a) The responsibility of those persons who engage
in the business of performing independent inspections of improvements
in real estate transactions imposes integrity beyond that of a person
involved in ordinary commerce. Each inspector must maintain a high
standard of professionalism, independence, objectivity and fairness
while performing inspections in a real estate transaction. Each inspector
license holder must also uphold, maintain, and improve the integrity,
reputation, and practice of the home inspection profession.
(b) The relationship between an inspector and a client
should at a minimum meet the following guidelines.
(1) In accepting employment as an inspector, the inspector
should protect and promote the interest of the client to the best
of the inspector's ability and knowledge, recognizing that the client
has placed trust and confidence in the inspector.
(2) In the interest of the client and the inspector's
profession, the inspector should endeavor always to maintain and increase
the inspector's level of knowledge regarding new developments in the
field of inspection.
(3) The inspector should conduct the inspector's business
in a manner that will assure the client of the inspector's independence
from outside influence and interests that might compromise the inspector's
ability to render a fair and impartial opinion regarding any inspection
(c) The relationship between an inspector and the public
should at a minimum meet the following guidelines.
(1) The inspector should deal with the general public
at all times and in all manners in a method that is conducive to the
promotion of professionalism, independence and fairness to the inspector's,
the inspector's business and the inspection industry.
(2) The inspector should attempt to assist the general
public in recognizing and understanding the need for inspections,
whether the inspector is selected to perform such inspection or not.
(3) The inspector accepts the duty of protecting the
public against fraud, misrepresentation or unethical practices in
the field of real estate inspections.
(d) The relationship of the inspector with another
inspector should at a minimum meet the following guidelines.
(1) The inspector should bind himself to the duty of
maintaining fairness and integrity in all dealings with other inspectors
and other persons performing real estate inspections.
(2) The inspector should cooperate with other inspectors
to insure the continued promotion of the high standards of the real
estate inspection profession and pledges himself to the continued
pursuit of increasing competence, fairness, education and knowledge
necessary to achieve the confidence of the public.
(3) If an inspector has knowledge of a possible violation
of the rules of the Commission or Chapter 1102, the inspector should
report the possible violation to the Commission.
(e) An inspector shall comply with the following requirements.
(1) An inspector shall not inspect a property when
any compensation or future referrals depend on reported findings or
on the closing or settlement of a property.
(2) In this section, "settlement service" means a service
provided in connection with a prospective or actual settlement, and
"settlement service provider" includes, but is not limited to, any
one or more of the following:
(A) federally related mortgage loan originator;
(B) mortgage broker;
(C) title service provider;
(E) a person who prepares documents, including notarization,
delivery, and recordation;
(H) settlement agent;
(I) a person who provides mortgage insurance services;
(J) a person who provides services involving hazard,
flood, or other casualty insurance or homeowner's warranties;
(K) real estate agent or broker; and
(L) a person who provides any other services for which
a settlement service provider requires a borrower or seller to pay.
(3) An inspector shall not pay or receive a fee or
other valuable consideration to or from any other settlement service
provider for, but not limited to, the following:
(A) the referral of inspections;
(B) inclusion on a list of inspectors, preferred providers,
or similar arrangements; or
(C) inclusion on lists of inspectors contingent on
other financial agreements.
(4) An inspector shall not receive a fee or other valuable
consideration, directly or indirectly, for referring services that
are not settlement services or other products to the inspector's client
without the client's consent.
(5) This section does not prohibit an inspector from
paying or receiving a fee or other valuable consideration, such as
to or from a contractor, for services actually rendered.
(6) An inspector shall not accept employment to repair,
replace, maintain or upgrade systems or components of property covered
by the Standards of Practice under this subchapter on which the inspector
has performed an inspection under a real estate contract, lease, or
exchange of real property within 12 months of the date of the inspection.
(7) Inspectors shall not disclose inspection results
or client information without prior approval from the client. Inspectors,
at their discretion, may disclose observed immediate safety hazards
to occupants exposed to such hazards when feasible.
(8) This subsection does not prohibit an inspector
(A) engaging in legal promotional or educational activities
to or with settlement service providers that are not conditioned on
the referral of business; or
(B) purchasing advertising and promoting the inspector
at market rates from any person in any publication, event or media.
(f) The inspector should make a reasonable attempt
to cooperate with other professionals and related tradespersons at
all times and in all manners in a method that is conducive to the
promotion of professionalism, independence and fairness to the inspector,
the inspector's business, and the inspection industry.
(g) Each active real estate inspector licensed by the
Commission shall provide the consumer notice adopted under §531.18
of this title by:
(1) displaying it in a readily noticeable location
in each place of business the inspector maintains; and
(2) providing a link to it labeled "Texas Real Estate
Commission Consumer Protection Notice", in at least a 10 point font,
in a readily noticeable place on the homepage of the business website
of the inspector.
|Source Note: The provisions of this §535.220 adopted to be effective March 6, 1992, 17 TexReg 1542; amended to be effective August 31, 2004, 29 TexReg 8297; amended to be effective August 28, 2006, 31 TexReg 6736; amended to be effective January 1, 2015, 39 TexReg 9669; amended to be effective January 1, 2016, 40 TexReg 8249