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Virginia Home Inspector (Contract Question's)  XML
Forum Index » Legislation, Licensing, Ethics, and Legal Issues
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Michael Altizer
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Does the Commonwealth of Virginia's court system uphold an inspector's "LIMITATION OF LIABILITY CLAUSE", to the inspection fee paid?

Will Virginia courts uphold an explanatory clause, if The Home Inspector explains the contract in an understandable manner, before the inspection begins?

(See example below):
13. INSPECTOR ASSUMES NO LIABILITY AND SHALL NOT BE LIABLE FOR ANY MISTAKES, OMISSIONS, OR ERRORS IN JUDGMENT OF ITS EMPLOYEES, OR SUBCONTRACTORS, BEYOND THE COST OF THE INSPECTION REPORT. THIS LIMITATION OF LIABILITY SHALL INCLUDE AND APPLY TO ALL CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES, BODILY INJURY AND PROPERTY DAMAGE OF ANY NATURE. INSPECTOR’S LIABILITY ARISING OUT OF PERFORMANCE OF SERVICES TO CUSTOMER WILL BE LIMITED TO NO MORE THAN THE CONTRACT AMOUNT INSPECTOR HAS AGREED TO CHARGE CUSTOMER FOR THE SERVICES IDENTIFIED HEREIN. CUSTOMER AGREES TO INDEMNIFY AND HOLD HARMLESS INSPECTOR FROM AND AGAINST ALL LIABILITIES IN EXCESS OF THE CONTRACT AMOUNT.

I want to make sure that my client(s) are made fully aware of this clause prior to signing the agreement.

I have researched all home inspection laws in Virginia and I cannot find anything that says: this will not be enforceable.

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Let's say that Virginia does adapt to the theory mentioned above ..... Nothing states that I cannot have a limitation of two or three times the inspection fee.
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In that case I might word things, like this:
Liability Limit:
CLIENT agrees that the maximum liability of THE HOME INSPECTOR, its employees, and its agents, is limited to an amount not to exceed TWO TIMES the fee paid for the inspection service. The CLIENT hereby assumes all risks in connection with the home inspection to be performed under this AGREEMENT, and further, hereby releases THE HOME INSPECTOR from any damage which may befall the CLIENT as a result of any inspection to be performed by THE HOME INSPECTOR, whether seen or unseen, where liquidated or not liquidated; and, further, CLIENT hereby agrees to save and hold harmless THE HOME INSPECTOR including all shareholders, officers, directors, and employees of THE HOME INSPECTOR, from any claim made or loss sustained by the CLIENT or any of the CLIENT’s family heirs, or assigns arising out of any inspection to be performed under this AGREEMENT by THE HOME INSPECTOR.

Michael Altizer
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I cannot inspect for free and honestly, I cannot afford a lawyer or Errors & Omissions / General Liability Insurance, until I start getting 2-3 (Daily) Fee paid inspections coming in for about a month.

I am pretty confident with the little knowledge that I have, that I can perform a residential home inspection and produce a well written report. However, I am SCARED TO DEATH (PETRIFIED), that some money hungry *** **** will sue me.

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DISCLAIMER
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*** I am not in the health that I once was, and this may prevent me from doing all that I once could. Sure, I can disclaim how I done this or how I done that, but does that protect me or open me up for increased liability? ***
Dom D'Agostino
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Joined: 12/08/2014 01:25 PM EST
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Location: Orlando, FL
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Whether or not you think you "can't afford" a lawyer, this question should be answered by an attorney licensed to practice law in your State or Jurisdiction.

I'm pretty sure most insurance vendors offer payment plans or similar options, FWIW.

Lawsuits and legal action are part of every business; HI is no different and may be even more litigious than other businesses. You need to figure out how to manage risk and come to grips with those details, if you are ever going to feel comfortable in this line of work.

Dom.
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Michael Altizer
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Okay Dom, what type of Virginia lawyer should I be looking for?
Michael Altizer
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Okay, I am waiting for Patrick K. Moore, PC to get back in touch with me.
Areas of practice:
75% Residential Real Estate
10% Commercial Real Estate
10% Estate Planning/Wills/Power of Attorney
5% Small Business Formation

Michael Altizer
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Okay, f**k it. I'll go ahead and say why I'm never going to make it in this business. Because I have an Associate's Degree in Business Management, I was awarded the privilege to homeschool my biological daughter. I did just that. I have tried to re-build and teach my mouthy, disrespectful daughter. Autumn pushes me to no end and I want to beat her ***. I bust my *** to be a good husband, father, etc. and all that I get is disrespect and mouth (stressing me out, so I can't focus). The above reason is why I'm not making it. Oh the h**l with it ... every ******* penny that I get goes on paying bills. That's right, by God, I was hurt in the military and I get a monthly check. There I said it and the truth came out. I try to be a good honest Christian and I try to be something I obviously am not and that's a home inspector.

I apologize for being so upset. It's nobody's fault but my own. I have to find a way to calm down, before I have a heart attack.

Nathan, if you delete this post and kick my account to the curb, it may be the best thing for this industry. I am under so much stress from trying so hard and going nowhere, that I'd end everything today, if I was sure that my wife and kids would be okay. Nathan, you was right last year, when you said that I need mental help. I have failed for 19+ years in this industry and I've got to face the facts.
Michael Altizer
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What a day man.
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Michael Altizer
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What a day man.
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Mike Casey
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Joined: 06/28/2014 07:21 PM EDT
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Michael:

Speaking as a non-attorney, I can tell you there can be no promise or guarantee that the LOL clause will be upheld unless it is written in law. Otherwise, that's up to the arbitrator or judge. I can tell you if you don't have it in your contract, you have absolutely no chance of it being upheld. Virginia does not prohibit LOL clauses in the contract.

Mike Casey
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Home Inspection University
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Michael Altizer
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Thank you, Mike Casey.
Mike Casey
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No problem. And just for FYI, even if an inspectors liability was limited to the fee per state law, some judge could disagree with it, or be convinced it is not enforceable for some other reason. But as I said, best to have it in there.

Mike Casey
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Home Inspection University
www.HomeInspectionUniversity.com
www.MichaelCasey.com
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Nathan
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Michael...you're good man! Look at it this way: You're not the first inspector to ever start a business.

If you're looking for zero risk, that doesn't really exist and candidly I wouldn't take that opportunity because even a very limited risk can have a very limited reward.

P. Nathan Thornberry
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Michael Altizer
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Mike Casey wrote:No problem. And just for FYI, even if an inspectors liability was limited to the fee per state law, some judge could disagree with it, or be convinced it is not enforceable for some other reason. But as I said, best to have it in there.


Sad thing when it comes to the lawyer's in my area.
Custody battle over my 3 step-children for the past 14 years. Did you know that if I had a consultation with a lawyer, you could never use that lawyer (That's a conflict of Interest). I could sit down with every lawyer around here and he or she could never represent you.

Did you also know that you can go back and forth to court two times a week, every week for 2 year's and just as the time for legal proceedings to run out (because they don't have a case on you), the courts can turn right around and arrest you and charge you with some ridiculous charge, just to make an example of you?

Oh yeah. I spanked my step-son, got charged with child abuse by the boys biological father, went to court for 2 years, got arrested right in the court room at the end of the 2 year mark and was charged with some ridiculous charge. The charge changed from child abuse (because it never occurred) to working a 9 year old for .40¢ an hour (like China does their youth).

I use to believe in the judicial system in this country but I do not anymore. I had to go through a bunch of crap and pay our attorney fees $900.00 for mine and $700.00 for my wife and get a mark (misdemeanor) on my record. The Commonwealth's attorney said that he wanted to make an example of me and had it to where I can no longer vote, carry or purchase a firearm legally or get a good paying job.

You want to know what's funny about that. The boy's biological father couldn't even raise his kids (I DID). I provided food, shelter, transportation, clothes, housing, medical, etc. He wouldn't even pick his 3 kids up for visitation.

And that's the God's honest truth. William Chandler and Pete Campbell already knew about this. I am not embarrassed or ashamed, because I done nothing wrong.
Michael Altizer
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Nathan wrote:Michael...you're good man! Look at it this way: You're not the first inspector to ever start a business.

If you're looking for zero risk, that doesn't really exist and candidly I wouldn't take that opportunity because even a very limited risk can have a very limited reward.


Yes Sir. It's just hard Nathan. I try and try. You know my story pretty much. I will make it but just not as fast as other's expect me too.

I would love to just inspect, report and go home to my family and make enough to provide safe housing, medical and food for my family.

This is a very stressful time in my life and my health has gotten the best of me. I have so many responsibilities on me both as a home inspector and a husband/father.

I know others have been through worse and I really feel for them. I wish my first wife wouldn't have cheated on me because I'd be one of those top inspectors now. I never have been the same since my divorce.
 
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