Code of Maryland Regulations Governing Standards of Practice and Ethics for Home Inspections

COMAR Title Nine: Home Inspection Standards of Practice as of October 2014

(09.36.07.03) .03 Limitations and Exclusions.
A. A home inspection performed in accordance with the standards of practice set forth in this chapter:
(1) Is not technically exhaustive; and
(2) May not identify concealed conditions or latent defects.

B. Except as may be required by lawful authority, a home inspector is not required to perform any action or make any determination unless specifically stated in the standards of practice set forth in this chapter.

C. A home inspector is not required to determine any of the following:
(1) Condition of a system or component that is not readily accessible;
(2) Remaining life of any system or component;
(3) Strength, adequacy, effectiveness, or efficiency of any system or component;
(4) Causes of any condition or deficiency;
(5) Methods, materials, or costs of corrections;
(6) Future conditions, including, but not limited to, failure of systems and components;
(7) Suitability of the property for any specialized use;
(8) Property boundary lines or encroachments;
(9) Compliance of the structure with applicable provisions of local ordinances, regulations, or codes;
(10) Market value of the property or its marketability;
(11) Advisability of the purchase of the property;
(12) Indoor air quality or sickness of any building, including, but not limited to, the presence or absence of all manner of biological activity, such as carcinogens, mold, insects, birds, pets, mammals, and other flora and fauna, and their consequent damage, toxicity, odors, waste products, and noxiousness;
(13) Effectiveness of any system installed or methods utilized to control or remove suspected hazardous substances;
(14) Operating costs of a system or component;
(15) Acoustical properties of any system or component; or
(16) Existence of manufacturer's recalls.

D. A home inspector is not required to offer or perform any of the following:
(1) Any act or service contrary to law;
(2) Engineering services;
(3) Work in any trade or any professional service other than home inspection; or
(4) Warranties or guarantees of any kind.

E. A home inspector is not required to operate any system or component that:
(1) Is shut down or otherwise inoperable; or
(2) Does not respond to normal operating controls.

F. A home inspector is not required to enter:
(1) Any area that may be, in the opinion of the home inspector, dangerous to the inspector or other persons or may damage the property or its systems or components; or
(2) Under-floor crawl spaces or attics that are not readily accessible.

G. A home inspector is not required to inspect any of the following:
(1) Underground items, including, but not limited to, underground storage tanks or other underground indications of their presence, whether abandoned or active;
(2) Systems or components that are not installed;
(3) Decorative items;
(4) Systems or components located in areas that cannot be entered in accordance with the standards of practice set forth in this chapter;
(5) Detached structures other than garages and carports;
(6) Common elements or common areas in multiunit housing, such as condominium properties or cooperative housing; or
(7) A common condominium component or system or evaluated condominium reserve accounts.

H. A home inspector is not required to:
(1) Perform any procedure or operation that may be, in the opinion of the inspector, dangerous to the inspector or other persons or damage the property or its systems or components;
(2) Move suspended ceiling tiles, personal property, furniture, equipment, plants, soil, snow, ice, or debris;
(3) Dismantle any system or component, except as explicitly required by the standards of practice set forth in this chapter; or
(4) Include in a written report any information from any source concerning previous:
(a) Property, geological, environmental, or hazardous waste conditions;
(b) Manufacturer recalls or conformance of proper manufacturer's installation of any component or system; or
(c) Information contained in a consumer protection bulletin of publication.

09.36.07.04

.04 Structural System.

A. A home inspector shall visually inspect the structural system, including the structural components including foundation and framing.

B. Probing.
(1) A home inspector shall probe a representative number of structural components where deterioration is suspected or where clear indications of possible deterioration exist.
(2) Probing is not required:
(a) If it will damage any finished surface; or
(b) Where no deterioration is visible.

C. A home inspector shall describe the structural system, including the:
(1) Foundation, and report the methods used to inspect the under-floor crawl spaces and basements;
(2) Floor structure;
(3) Wall structure;
(4) Ceiling structure; and
(5) Roof structure, and report the methods used to inspect the attic.

D. A home inspector is not required to:
(1) Provide any engineering service; or
(2) Offer an opinion as to the adequacy of any structural system or component.

09.36.07.05

.05 Exterior.

A. A home inspector shall visually inspect the home exterior, including:
(1) Exterior wall covering, flashing, and trim;
(2) All exterior doors;
(3) Attached decks, balconies, stoops, steps, porches, and their associated railings;
(4) Eaves, soffits, and fascias that are accessible from the ground level;
(5) Vegetation, grading, surface drainage, and retaining walls on the property if any of these may adversely affect the building; and
(6) Walkways, patios, and driveways leading to dwelling entrances.

B. A home inspector shall describe the exterior wall covering.

C. A home inspector is not required to inspect any of the following:
(1) Screening, shutters, awnings, and similar seasonal accessories:
(2) Fences;
(3) Geological, geotechnical, or hydrological conditions;
(4) Recreational facilities;
(5) Outbuildings;
(6) Seawalls, break-walls, and docks; or
(7) Erosion control and earth stabilization measures.

09.36.07.06

.06 Roof System.

A. A home inspector shall visually inspect a roof system, including:
(1) The roof covering;
(2) Roof drainage systems;
(3) Flashings; and
(4) Skylights, chimneys, and exterior and roof penetrations.

B. A home inspector shall describe the roof covering and report the methods used to inspect the roof.

C. A home inspector is not required to:
(1) Inspect:
(a) Antennae;
(b) Interiors of flues or chimneys that are not readily accessible; or
(c) Other installed accessories;
(2) Walk on or access a roof where it could damage the roof or roofing material or be unsafe for the home inspector;
(3) Remove snow, ice, debris, or other conditions that prohibit the observation of the roof surfaces; or
(4) Determine:
(a) The remaining life expectancy of roof coverings;
(b) The presence or absence of hail damage;
(c) Manufacturer's defects;
(d) Installation methods; or
(e) The number of layers of roofing material.

09.36.07.07  

 .07 Plumbing System.  

A. A home inspector shall visually inspect the plumbing system, including:   
(1) Interior water supply and distribution systems, including all fixtures and faucets;   
(2) Drain, waste, and vent systems, including all fixtures;   
(3) Water heating equipment;   
(4) Vent systems, flues, and chimneys;   
(5) Fuel storage and fuel distribution systems for the presence of CSST;   
(6) Drainage sumps, sump pumps, and related piping;   
(7) The functional flow of all fixtures and faucets; and   
(8) The functional drainage of all fixtures.   

B. A home inspector shall describe the plumbing system, including:   
(1) Water supply, drain, waste, and vent piping materials:   
(2) Water heating equipment, including the energy source;   
(3) The location of main water and main fuel shut-off valves; and   
(4) The presence of CSST with the recommendation that the bonding of the CSST be reviewed by a licensed master electrician.   

C. A home inspector is not required to:   
(1) Inspect any of the following:   
(a) Clothes washing machine connections;   
(b) Interiors of flues or chimneys that are not readily accessible;   
(c) Wells, well pumps, or water storage related equipment;   
(d) Water conditioning systems;   
(e) Solar water heating systems;   
(f) Fire and lawn sprinkler systems; or   
(g) Private waste disposal systems;   
(2) Determine:   
(a) Whether water supply and waste disposal systems are public or private; or   
(b) The quantity or quality of the water supply; or   
(3) Operate safety valves or shut-off valves.

09.36.07.08

.08 Electrical Systems.

A. A home inspector shall visually inspect an electrical system, including:
(1) The service drop;
(2) Service entrance conductors, cables, and raceways;
(3) Service equipment and main disconnects;
(4) Service grounding;
(5) Interior components of service panels and subpanels;
(6) Conductors;
(7) Overcurrent protection devices;
(8) A representative number of installed lighting fixtures, switches, and receptacles;
(9) Ground fault and arc fault circuit interrupters; and
(10) The general condition of visible branch circuit conductors that may constitute a hazard to the occupant or the structure by reason of improper use or installation of electrical components.

B. A home inspector shall describe the electrical system, including the:
(1) Amperage and voltage rating of the service;
(2) Location of main disconnect and subpanels; and
(3) Wiring methods.

C. If applicable, a home inspector shall include in a written report the:
(1) Presence of solid conductor aluminum branch circuit wiring;
(2) Absence of smoke detectors; and
(3) Presence of CSST gas piping with the recommendation that the bonding of the CSST be reviewed by a licensed master electrician.

D. A home inspector is not required to:

(1) Inspect:
(a) Remote control devices, unless the device is the only control device;
(b) Alarm systems and components;
(c) Low voltage wiring systems and components;
(d) Ancillary wiring, systems, and components that are not a part of the primary electrical power distribution system; or
(e) the existing bonding method for CSST; or
(2) Measure amperage, voltage, or impedance.

09.36.07.09

.09 Heating System.

A. A home inspector shall visually inspect:
(1) Installed heating equipment;
(2) Vent systems, flues, and chimneys; and
(3) Heating distribution.

B. A home inspector shall describe energy sources and heating methods by distinguishing characteristics and means of distribution.

C. A home inspector is not required to:
(1) Inspect:
(a) Flue or chimney interiors that are not readily accessible;
(b) Heat exchangers;
(c) Humidifiers or dehumidifiers;
(d) Electronic air filters; or
(e) Solar space heating systems; or
(2) Determine the adequacy of the heat system or the distribution balance.

09.36.07.10

.10 Air-Conditioning System.

A. A home inspector shall inspect the installed central and through-wall cooling equipment.

B. A home inspector shall describe energy sources and cooling methods by distinguishing characteristics and means of distribution.

C. A home inspector is not required to:
(1) Inspect electronic air filters; or
(2) Determine the adequacy of the cooling system or the distribution balance.

09.36.07.11

.11 Interior.

A. A home inspector shall visually inspect:
(1) Walls, ceilings, and floors;
(2) Steps, stairways, and railings;
(3) Countertops and a representative number of installed cabinets;
(4) A representative number of doors and windows; and
(5) Garage doors and garage door operators.

B. A home inspector is not required to inspect:
(1) Paint, wallpaper, and other finish treatments;
(2) Carpeting;
(3) Window treatments;
(4) Central vacuum systems;
(5) Household appliances; or
(6) Recreational facilities.

09.36.07.12

.12 Insulation and Ventilation.

A. A home inspector shall visually inspect:
(1) Insulation and vapor retarders in unfinished spaces;
(2) Ventilation of attics and foundation areas; and
(3) Mechanical ventilation systems.

B. A home inspector shall describe:
(1) Insulation and vapor retarders in unfinished spaces; and
(2) If applicable, the absence of insulation in unfinished spaces at conditioned surfaces.

C. A home inspector is not required to:
(1) Disturb insulation or vapor retarders; or
(2) Determine indoor air quality.

09.36.07.13

.13 Fireplaces and Solid Fuel Burning Appliances.

A. A home inspector shall visually inspect:
(1) System components of fireplaces and solid fuel burning appliances; and
(2) Vent systems, flues, and chimneys.

B. A home inspector shall describe:
(1) Fireplaces and solid fuel burning appliances; and
(2) Chimneys.

C. A home inspector is not required to:
(1) Inspect any of the following:
(a) Interiors of flues or chimneys:
(b) Firescreens and doors;
(c) Seals and gaskets;
(d) Automatic fuel feed devices;
(e) Mantles and fireplace surrounds;
(f) Combustion make-up air devices; or
(g) Gravity-controlled and fan-assisted heat distribution assists;
(2) Ignite or extinguish fires;
(3) Determine draft characteristics; or
(4) Move fireplace inserts or stove or firebox contents.

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