Chapter 4764: HOME INSPECTORS

4764.01 Definitions.

As used in this chapter:

(A) "Client" means a person who enters into a written contract with a home inspector to retain for compensation or other valuable consideration the services of that home inspector to conduct a home inspection and to provide a written report on the condition of a residential building.

(B) "Crime of moral turpitude" has the same meaning as in section 4776.10 of the Revised Code.

(C) "Home inspection" means the process by which a home inspector conducts a visual examination of the readily accessible components of a residential building for a client. "Home inspection" does not include pest inspections; environmental testing; inspection of any property or structure conducted by an employee or representative of an insurer licensed to transact business in this state under Title XXXIX of the Revised Code for purposes related to the business of insurance; or determination of compliance with applicable statutes, rules, resolutions, or ordinances, including, without limitation, building, zoning, or historic codes.

(D) "Home inspection report" means a written report prepared by a licensed home inspector for compensation and issued after an on-site inspection of a residential property. A report shall include all of the following:

(1) Information on any system or component inspected that, in the professional opinion of the inspector, is deficient to the degree that it is deficient;

(2) The inspector's recommendation to repair or monitor deficiencies reported under division (D)(1) of this section;

(3) A list of any systems or components that were designated for inspection in the standards of practice adopted by the board under division (A)(10) of section 4764.05 of the Revised Code but that were not inspected;

(4) The reason a system or component listed under division (D)(3) of this section was not inspected.

(E) "Licensed home inspector" means a person who holds a valid license issued pursuant to section 4764.07 or 4764.10 of the Revised Code to conduct a home inspection for compensation or other valuable consideration.

(F) "Parallel inspection" means a home inspection performed by an applicant for a home inspector license at which both of the following take place concurrently:

(1) A licensed home inspector observes and evaluates the applicant during the inspection to verify the applicant's compliance with the standards of practice specified in rules adopted by the Ohio home inspector board pursuant to division (A)(10) of section 4764.05 of the Revised Code.

(2) The inspection is an on-site inspection of a residential building for the licensed home inspector's client.

(G) "Readily accessible" means available for visual inspection without requiring a person to move or dismantle personal property, take destructive measures, or take any other action that will involve risk to a person or to the property.

(H) "Residential building" has the same meaning as in section 3781.06 of the Revised Code but also includes the individual dwelling units within an apartment or condominium complex containing four or more dwelling units.

(I) "Peer review session" means a practical exercise in which a prospective applicant for a home inspector license identifies and reports defects in a residential building that contains previously identified defects for the purpose of evaluating the prospective applicant's ability to conduct a home inspection and prepare a home inspection report.


Added by 132nd General Assembly File No. TBD, SB 255, §1, eff. 4/5/2019.

4764.02 License.

(A) No person shall knowingly conduct a home inspection or represent a qualification to conduct a home inspection for compensation or other valuable consideration unless that person is licensed pursuant to this chapter as a home inspector or performing a parallel inspection.

(B) No person shall perform a home inspection unless it is performed pursuant to a written contract entered into between a licensed home inspector and a client.

(C) No person shall perform a home inspection unless the home inspection conforms to requirements specified in rules adopted by the Ohio home inspector board pursuant to division (A)(10) of section 4764.05 of the Revised Code.

(D) No person shall knowingly make or cause to be made any false representation concerning a material and relevant fact relating to the person's licensure as a home inspector.


Added by 132nd General Assembly File No. TBD, SB 255, §1, eff. 4/5/2019.

4764.03 Exceptions.

Section 4764.02 of the Revised Code does not apply to any person described as follows if the person is acting within the scope of practice of the person's respective profession:

(A) A person who is employed by or whose services otherwise are retained by this state or a political subdivision of this state for the purpose of enforcing building codes;

(B) A person holding a valid certificate to practice architecture issued under Chapter 4703. of the Revised Code;

(C) A person registered as a professional engineer under Chapter 4733. of the Revised Code;

(D) A heating, ventilating, and air conditioning contractor, refrigeration contractor, electrical contractor, plumbing contractor, or hydronics contractor who is licensed under Chapter 4740. or section 3781.102 of the Revised Code or who is licensed or registered under section 715.27 of the Revised Code;

(E) A real estate broker, real estate salesperson, foreign real estate dealer, or foreign real estate salesperson who is licensed under Chapter 4735. of the Revised Code;

(F) A real estate appraiser who is licensed under Chapter 4763. of the Revised Code;

(G) A public insurance adjuster who holds a valid certificate of authority issued under Chapter 3951. of the Revised Code or an employee or representative of an insurer licensed to transact business in this state under Title XXXIX of the Revised Code who conducts an inspection of any property or structure for purposes related to the business of insurance;

(H) A commercial applicator of pesticide who is licensed under Chapter 921. of the Revised Code.


Added by 132nd General Assembly File No. TBD, SB 255, §1, eff. 4/5/2019.

4764.04 Ohio home inspector board.

There is hereby created the Ohio home inspector board consisting of seven members. The governor shall appoint five members who are licensed home inspectors. The president of the senate and the speaker of the house of representatives each shall appoint one member who represents the public and has no financial interest in the home inspection industry. Not more than four members of the board shall be members of the same political party.

The governor, president of the senate, and speaker of the house of representatives shall make the initial appointments to the board not later than ninety days after the effective date of this section. Of the initial appointments to the board, the governor shall appoint one member to a term ending one year after the effective date of this section, two members to a term ending three years after that date, and two members to a term ending five years after that date. The president of the senate shall appoint one member to a term ending two years after that date, and the speaker of the house of representatives shall appoint one member to a term ending four years after that date. Thereafter, each term shall be for five years, ending on the same day of the same month as the term that it succeeds. Each member shall hold office from the date of appointment until the end of the term for which the member was appointed. Vacancies shall be filled in the manner provided for original appointments. A member appointed to fill a vacancy prior to the expiration of a term shall hold office for the remainder of that term. A member shall continue in office subsequent to the expiration of the term until the member's successor takes office.

The members of the board shall not be compensated but shall be reimbursed for actual expenses reasonably incurred in the performance of their duties as members.

The person who, or office that, appointed a member may remove that member for misconduct, neglect of duty, incapacity, or malfeasance.

The Ohio home inspector board is a part of the department of commerce for administrative purposes. The director of commerce is ex officio the executive officer of the board, or the director may designate the superintendent of real estate and professional licensing to act as executive officer of the board.


Added by 132nd General Assembly File No. TBD, SB 255, §1, eff. 4/5/2019.

4764.05 Duties of board.

(A) The Ohio home inspector board shall adopt rules in accordance with Chapter 119. of the Revised Code to do all of the following:

(1) Establish standards to govern the issuance, renewal, suspension, and revocation of licenses, other sanctions that may be imposed for violations of this chapter, the conduct of hearings related to these actions, and the process of reactivating a license;

(2) Establish the amount of the following fees:

(a) Establish the following fees in an amount that is sufficient to defray necessary expenses incurred in the administration of this chapter:

(i) The fee for applying for and receiving a license issued under section 4764.07 of the Revised Code and the special assessment for the home inspection recovery fund created in section 4764.21 of the Revised Code, which together shall not exceed two hundred fifty dollars;

(ii) The fee for renewal of a license under section 4764.09 of the Revised Code and the special assessment for the home inspection recovery fund created in section 4764.21 of the Revised Code, which together shall not exceed two hundred fifty dollars.

(b) The renewal late fee described in division (B)(2) of section 4764.09 of the Revised Code;

(c) The fee an institution or organization described in division (A)(7) of this section shall pay to receive approval to offer continuing education courses and programs;

(d) The fee an institution or organization that is approved to offer continuing education courses and programs shall pay for each course or program that the institution or organization wishes to have the superintendent approve pursuant to the rules adopted by the board under division (A)(8) of this section;

(e) Any other fees as required by this chapter.

(3) In accordance with division (C) of this section, specify methods and procedures the board shall use to approve a curriculum of education a person must successfully complete to obtain a license under this chapter;

(4) In accordance with division (D) of this section, specify methods and procedures the board shall use to approve a curriculum of experience that a person may elect to complete the proof of experience requirement specified in division (D)(6) of section 4764.07 of the Revised Code;

(5) Establish the administrative reporting and review requirements for parallel inspections or equivalency for field experience to assure that an applicant for a license satisfies the requirements of division (D)(6) of section 4764.07 of the Revised Code, as applicable;

(6) Establish a curriculum for continuing education that a licensed home inspector shall complete to satisfy the requirements for continuing education specified in section 4764.08 of the Revised Code and procedures to assure continuing education requirements are updated periodically to make those requirements consistent with home inspection industry practices;

(7) Establish requirements an institution or organization shall satisfy to obtain approval to provide courses or programs that enable a licensed home inspector to satisfy the requirements for continuing education specified in section 4764.08 of the Revised Code and establish procedures that the superintendent of real estate and professional licensing shall use to approve an institution or organization that satisfies the requirements the board establishes;

(8) Establish procedures and standards that the superintendent shall use to approve courses and programs, including online courses and programs, offered by an institution or organization that is approved by the superintendent to offer continuing education courses or programs pursuant to the rules adopted by the board under division (A)(7) of this section;

(9) Establish reporting requirements for a licensed home inspector to follow to demonstrate that the licensed home inspector successfully completed the continuing education requirements specified in section 4764.08 of the Revised Code;

(10) Establish requirements for conducting home inspections, standards of practice for home inspectors, and conflict of interest prohibitions to the extent that those provisions do not conflict with divisions (B) to (E) of section 4764.14 of the Revised Code;

(11) Specify requirements for settlement agreements entered into between the superintendent and a licensed home inspector under division (C) of section 4764.13 of the Revised Code;

(12) Establish procedures for providing licensees with notice and applications for renewal under section 4764.09 of the Revised Code;

(13) Establish a set of standards of practice and canons of ethics for the home inspection industry;

(14) Establish directions for the superintendent of real estate and professional licensing to follow regarding the scheduling, instruction, and offerings of home inspection courses a person must successfully complete to obtain a license issued under this chapter;

(15) Establish requirements a licensed home inspector shall satisfy to obtain approval to prepare and conduct peer review sessions.

(B) The board shall do all of the following:

(1) On appeal by any party affected, or on its own motion, review any order of or application determination made by the superintendent, and as the board determines necessary, reverse, vacate, modify, or sustain such an order or determination;

(2) Hear appeals from orders of the superintendent regarding claims against the home inspection recovery fund created under section 4764.21 of this section;

(3) Disseminate to licensees and the public information relative to board activities and decisions;

(4) Notify licensees of changes in state and federal laws pertaining to home inspections and relevant case law and inform licensees that they are subject to disciplinary action if they do not comply with the changes.

(C) The board shall approve a curriculum of education a person must successfully complete to obtain a license issued under this chapter. The board shall approve a curriculum of education that satisfies all of the following requirements:

(1) The curriculum is offered by an accredited public or private institution of higher education or a professional organization that has been approved by the board to offer a curriculum.

(2) The curriculum includes a requirement that a person, to successfully complete the curriculum, complete at least eighty hours of classroom or online prelicensing instruction, including instruction about compliance with the requirements specified in this chapter, inspection safety, report writing, and any other administrative matters required by the board.

(3) The curriculum satisfies any other requirements the board established in rules it adopts.

(D) The board shall determine the equivalency of field experience that a person may elect to complete to satisfy the proof of experience requirement specified in division (D)(6) of section 4764.07 of the Revised Code. The board shall approve only a curriculum of experience that includes a requirement that a person, to successfully complete the curriculum, must perform at least forty hours of work in the home inspection field that allows the person to obtain practical experience or training regarding home inspections. The board shall approve only a curriculum of experience that includes a requirement that a person, to successfully complete the curriculum, must complete a peer review session with a licensed home inspector approved by the board before applying for a license. The peer review session may be used as part of the required eighty hours of prelicensing education.


Added by 132nd General Assembly File No. TBD, SB 255, §1, eff. 4/5/2019.

4764.06 Duties of superintendent.

(A) The superintendent of real estate and professional licensing shall do all of the following:

(1) Administer this chapter;

(2) Provide the Ohio home inspector board with meeting space, staff services, and other technical assistance required by the board to carry out the duties of the board under this chapter;

(3) Provide each applicant for a home inspector license with a copy of the requirements for home inspections specified in rules adopted by the board pursuant to division (A)(10) of section 4764.05 of the Revised Code, and make those requirements available to the public by posting them on the web site maintained by the department of commerce;

(4) In accordance with division (B) of this section, issue a home inspector license to, or renew a home inspector license for, any person who satisfies the requirements specified in this chapter for such licensure or renewal, and make a list of those licensed home inspectors available to the public by posting the list on the web site maintained by the department of commerce;

(5) Administer the home inspector recovery fund created under section 4764.21 of the Revised Code;

(6) Establish procedures, in accordance with division (K) of section 121.08 of the Revised Code, to have fingerprint-based criminal records checks conducted by the bureau of criminal identification and investigation for all applicants for licensure;

(7) In accordance with the procedures specified in rules adopted by the board in accordance with division (A)(7) of section 4764.05 of the Revised Code, approve an institution or organization wishing to provide continuing education courses or programs if that institution or organization satisfies the requirements specified in rules adopted by the board in accordance with that division and pays the fee established in rules adopted by the board pursuant to division (A)(2)(c) of that section;

(8) In accordance with the procedures specified in rules adopted by the board in accordance with division (A)(8) of section 4764.05 of the Revised Code, approve a course or program that a licensed home inspector may complete to satisfy the continuing education requirements specified in section 4764.08 of the Revised Code if all of the following are satisfied:

(a) The course or program is offered by an institution or organization approved by the superintendent pursuant to division (A)(7) of this section.

(b) The course or program satisfies the standards established in rules adopted by the board pursuant to division (A)(8) of section 4764.05 of the Revised Code.

(c) The institution or organization pays the fee established in rules adopted by the board pursuant to division (A)(2)(d) of section 4764.05 of the Revised Code.

(9) Issue all orders necessary to implement this chapter;

(10) In accordance with section 4764.12 of the Revised Code, investigate complaints concerning an alleged violation of this chapter or the conduct of any licensee and subpoena witnesses in connection with those investigations, as provided in that section. The subpoena may contain a direction that the witness produce and bring any documents, work files, inspection reports, records, or papers mentioned in the subpoena.

(11) Establish and maintain an investigation and audit section to investigate complaints and conduct inspections, audits, and other inquiries as in the judgment of the superintendent are appropriate to enforce this chapter. The superintendent shall utilize the investigators and auditors employed pursuant to division (B)(4) of section 4735.05 of the Revised Code to assist in performing the duties specified in division (A)(10) of this section.

(12) Specify the information that must be provided on an application for licensure under this chapter;

(13) Establish procedures for processing, approving, and denying applications for licensure under this chapter;

(14) Specify the format and content of all affidavits and other documents required for the administration of this chapter;

(15) Appoint a hearing officer for any proceeding involving a determination under section 3123.47 of the Revised Code, disciplinary action arising under section 4764.02 or division (F) of section 4764.14 of the Revised Code, or a proceeding under section 4764.16 of the Revised Code.

(B) The superintendent shall not issue a license to a corporation, limited liability company, partnership, or association, although a licensed home inspector may sign a home inspection report in a representative capacity on behalf of any of those types of entities.


Added by 132nd General Assembly File No. TBD, SB 255, §1, eff. 4/5/2019.

4764.07 Application for license.

(A) To obtain a license to perform home inspections, a person shall submit both of the following to the superintendent of real estate and professional licensing:

(1) An application meeting the requirements of division (D) of this section on a form the superintendent provides;

(2) The fee established in rules adopted by the Ohio home inspector board pursuant to division (A)(2)(a) of section 4764.05 of the Revised Code.

(B) Each person applying for a license shall submit one complete set of fingerprints directly to the superintendent of the bureau of criminal identification and investigation for the purpose of conducting a criminal records check. The person shall provide the fingerprints using a method the superintendent of the bureau of criminal identification and investigation prescribes pursuant to division (C)(2) of section 109.572 of the Revised Code and fill out the form the superintendent of the bureau of criminal identification and investigation prescribes pursuant to division (C)(1) of section 109.572 of the Revised Code. Upon receiving an application under this section, the superintendent of real estate and professional licensing shall request the superintendent of the bureau of criminal identification and investigation, or a vendor approved by the bureau, to conduct a criminal records check based on the applicant's fingerprint impressions in accordance with division (A)(15) of section 109.572 of the Revised Code. Notwithstanding division (K) of section 121.08 of the Revised Code, the superintendent of real estate and professional licensing shall request that criminal record information based on the applicant's fingerprints be obtained from the federal bureau of investigation as part of the criminal records check. Any fee required under division (C)(3) of section 109.572 of the Revised Code shall be paid by the applicant.

(C) The superintendent shall issue a license to perform home inspections to applicants who satisfy the requirements set forth in this section, subject to section 4768.14 of the Revised Code.

(D) Except as otherwise specified in division (E) of this section, the application shall include all of the following:

(1) A pledge the applicant signs, agreeing to comply with the rules adopted by the board pursuant to division (A)(10) of section 4764.05 of the Revised Code;

(2) A statement that the applicant understands the grounds for any disciplinary action that may be initiated under this chapter;

(3) Proof of holding a comprehensive general liability insurance policy or a commercial general liability insurance policy in accordance with division (A) of section 4764.11 of the Revised Code;

(4) Proof of successfully passing, within two years before the date of the application, the national home inspector examination;

(5) Proof of successfully completing a curriculum of education approved by the board in accordance with rules the board adopts pursuant to division (A)(3) of section 4764.05 of the Revised Code;

(6) Proof that the applicant has experience in the field of home inspections through either of the following:

(a) Successful completion of a curriculum of experience approved by the board in accordance with rules the board adopts pursuant to divisions (A)(4) and (D) of section 4764.05 of the Revised Code;

(b) Successful completion of ten parallel inspections or equivalent experience as determined by the board pursuant to division (A)(5) of section 4764.05 of the Revised Code;

(7) Proof that the applicant is at least eighteen years of age;

(8) Proof that the applicant has graduated from the twelfth grade, received a general educational development diploma, or satisfactorily completed a program that is the equivalent to graduating from the twelfth grade or receiving a general educational development diploma;

(9) Any other information the board requires that the board determines is relevant to receiving a license to practice as a licensed home inspector.

(E) The superintendent shall not require a person described in division (B) or (C) of section 4764.03 of the Revised Code who wishes to obtain a license to perform home inspections under this chapter to submit proof of education and experience as required under divisions (D)(5) and (6) of this section in the person's application in order for that person to receive a license. Such a person, however, shall satisfy all other requirements specified in divisions (A) and (D) of this section and provide proof of licensure in good standing described in division (B) or (C) of section 4764.03 of the Revised Code to receive a license.

(F) The act of submitting an application to the superintendent does not create, shall not be construed as creating, and is not intended to indicate licensure as a home inspector.


Added by 132nd General Assembly File No. TBD, SB 255, §1, eff. 4/5/2019.

4764.08 Continuing education instruction requirements.

During each three-year period that a license is valid, a licensed home inspector shall successfully complete not less than fourteen hours of continuing education instruction annually in courses or programs directly applicable to the standards of practice and requirements specified in rules adopted by the Ohio home inspector board pursuant to division (A)(10) of section 4764.05 of the Revised Code.

The superintendent of real estate and professional licensing shall accept only those courses and programs the superintendent approves in accordance with division (A)(8) of section 4764.06 of the Revised Code prior to the date the licensed home inspector completes the course or program. The superintendent shall not include parallel inspections completed by a person for credit toward satisfying the continuing education requirements specified in this section.


Added by 132nd General Assembly File No. TBD, SB 255, §1, eff. 4/5/2019.

4764.09 Expiration of license; renewal.

(A) A home inspector license issued or renewed pursuant to this chapter expires three years after the date of issuance or renewal.

(B)

(1) To renew a home inspector license, a licensed home inspector shall file all of the following with the superintendent of real estate and professional licensing within the ninety-day period immediately preceding the date the license expires:

(a) A renewal application pursuant to the procedures established by the Ohio home inspector board under section 4764.05 of the Revised Code;

(b) Proof of holding or being covered by a comprehensive general liability insurance policy or a commercial general liability insurance policy in accordance with division (A) of section 4764.11 of the Revised Code;

(c) Proof of satisfying the continuing education requirements specified in section 4764.08 of the Revised Code.

(2) A licensed home inspector who fails to renew a license before its expiration may, during the three months following the expiration, renew the license by following the procedures in division (B)(1) of this section and paying a late renewal fee in an amount the Ohio home inspector board establishes. A licensed home inspector who applies for a late renewal pursuant to this division shall not engage in any activities permitted under the license being renewed until the superintendent notifies the licensed home inspector that the licensed home inspector's license has been renewed.

(C) A licensed home inspector who fails to renew a license prior to its expiration or during the three months following its expiration, or who fails to submit the proof required under division (B)(1)(b) or (c) of this section, may subsequently obtain a license by applying for a license pursuant to section 4764.07 of the Revised Code.


Added by 132nd General Assembly File No. TBD, SB 255, §1, eff. 4/5/2019.

4764.10 Licensees from other jurisdictions.

The superintendent of real estate and professional licensing may issue a home inspector license to an applicant who holds a license, registration, or certification as a home inspector in another jurisdiction if that applicant submits an application on a form the superintendent provides, pays the fee the Ohio home inspector board prescribes, and satisfies all of the following requirements:

(A) The applicant is licensed, registered, or certified as a home inspector in a jurisdiction that the board determines grants the same privileges to persons licensed under this chapter as this state grants to persons in that jurisdiction.

(B) That other jurisdiction has licensing, registration, or certification requirements that are substantially similar to, or exceed, those of this state.

(C) The applicant attests that the applicant is familiar with and will abide by this chapter.

(D) The applicant attests to all of the following in a written statement that the applicant submits to the superintendent:

(1) To provide the superintendent the name and address of an agent to receive service of process in this state or that the applicant authorizes the superintendent to act as agent for that applicant;

(2) That service of process in accordance with the Revised Code is proper and the applicant is subject to the jurisdiction of the courts of this state;

(3) That any cause of action arising out of the conduct of the applicant's business in this state shall be filed in the county in which the events that gave rise to that cause of action occurred.


Added by 132nd General Assembly File No. TBD, SB 255, §1, eff. 4/5/2019.

4764.11 Insurance requirements; recordkeeping.

(A) Every licensed home inspector shall maintain, or be covered by, a comprehensive general liability insurance policy or a commercial general liability insurance policy with coverage limits of not less than one hundred thousand dollars per occurrence and not less than a three-hundred-thousand-dollar aggregate limit. The insurance policy shall provide coverage against liability of the licensed home inspector for loss, damage, or expense as a result of an act that occurred while the licensed home inspector was on the premises performing a home inspection. If the employer of a licensed home inspector is not a licensed home inspector and maintains an insurance policy covering the licensed home inspector, the licensed home inspector is not required to maintain the licensed home inspector's own insurance policy.

(B) Every licensed home inspector shall retain for a period of five years the original or a true copy of each written contract for the licensee's services relating to home inspection work, all home inspection reports, and all work file documentation and data assembled in preparing those reports. The retention period begins on the date the report is submitted to the client unless, prior to expiration of the retention period, the licensee is notified that the services or report is the subject of or is otherwise involved in pending investigation or litigation, in which case the retention period begins on the date of final disposition of the litigation.

A licensee shall make available all records required to be maintained under this section for inspection and copying by the superintendent of real estate and professional licensing upon reasonable notice to the licensee.


Added by 132nd General Assembly File No. TBD, SB 255, §1, eff. 4/5/2019.

4764.12 Violations; investigation.

(A) On receipt of a written complaint or on the superintendent's or the board's own motion, the superintendent of real estate and professional licensing may investigate licensed home inspectors concerning any alleged violation of this chapter. Investigators and auditors employed by the superintendent may review and audit, during normal business hours, the licensed home inspector's business records that are directly related to complaints. The licensed home inspector shall permit such a review and audit.

(B) Within five business days after a person files a complaint against a licensed home inspector with the superintendent, the superintendent shall provide to that person an acknowledgment of the receipt of the complaint and send a notice regarding that complaint to the licensee who is the subject of the complaint. The superintendent shall include in that notice a description of the activities in which the licensed home inspector allegedly engaged that violate this chapter. Within twenty days after the superintendent sends the notice to the complainant and the licensed home inspector who is the subject of the complainant's complaint, the complainant and the licensed home inspector may file with the superintendent a request to have an informal mediation hearing.

If both the complainant and the licensed home inspector file such a request, the superintendent shall notify the complainant and the licensed home inspector of the date and time of the informal mediation hearing. A mediator employed by the superintendent shall conduct the informal mediation hearing. If the complainant and the licensed home inspector reach an accommodation during that informal mediation hearing, the mediator shall send a written report describing the accommodation to the superintendent, complainant, and licensee. Notwithstanding division (C) of this section, the written report describing the accommodation is confidential and is not a public record for purposes of section 149.43 of the Revised Code. The superintendent shall close the complaint upon satisfactory completion of the accommodation.

If the licensee or the complainant fails to file a request for an informal mediation hearing, or if the parties fail to agree on an accommodation during that informal mediation hearing, the superintendent shall proceed with an investigation of the complaint.

(C) This section does not prohibit the superintendent of real estate and professional licensing from releasing information relating to licensees to the superintendent of financial institutions for purposes relating to the administration of sections 1322.01 to 1322.12 of the Revised Code, to the superintendent of insurance for purposes relating to the administration of Chapter 3953. of the Revised Code, to the commissioner of the division of securities for purposes relating to the administration of Chapter 1707. of the Revised Code, to the attorney general, or to local law enforcement and appropriate prosecutorial authorities. Information released by the superintendent pursuant to this section remains confidential.

(D) The Ohio home inspector board or the superintendent may compel, by order or subpoena, the attendance of witnesses to testify in relation to any matter over which the board or superintendent has jurisdiction and that is the subject of inquiry and investigation by the board or superintendent, and may require the production of any book, paper, or document pertaining to such a matter. For that purpose, the board or superintendent shall have the same power as judges of county courts to administer oaths, compel the attendance of witnesses, and punish them for refusal to testify. Service of the subpoena may be made by sheriffs or constables, or by certified mail, return receipt requested, and the subpoena shall be considered served on the date delivery is made or the date the person refused to accept delivery. A witness shall receive, after the witness's appearance before the board or superintendent, the fees and mileage allowed in civil actions in courts of common pleas. If two or more witnesses travel together in the same vehicle, the mileage fee shall be paid to only one of those witnesses, but the witnesses may agree to divide the fee among themselves in any manner.

(E) If any person fails to file any statement or report, obey any subpoena, give testimony, answer questions, or produce any books, records, or papers as required by the board or superintendent under this chapter, the board or superintendent may apply to the court of common pleas of any county in the state setting forth the failure.

The court may make an order awarding process of subpoena or subpoena duces tecum for the person to appear and testify before the board or superintendent. The court also may order any person to give testimony and answer questions, and to produce books, records, or papers, as required by the board or superintendent.

Upon the filing of such order in the office of the clerk of the court of common pleas, the clerk, under the seal of the court, shall issue process of subpoena for the person to appear before the board or superintendent at a time and place named in the subpoena, and each day thereafter until the examination of such person is completed. The subpoena may contain a direction that the witness bring with the witness to the examination any books, records, or papers mentioned in the subpoena. The clerk shall also issue, under the seal of the court, such other orders, in reference to the examination, appearance, and production of books, records, or papers, as the court directs.

If any person so summoned by subpoena fails to obey the subpoena, to give testimony, to answer questions as required, or to obey an order of the court, the court, on motion supported by proof, may order an attachment for contempt to be issued against the person charged with disobedience of any order or injunction issued by the court under this chapter. If the person is brought before the court by virtue of the attachment, and if upon a hearing the disobedience appears, the court may order the offender to be committed and kept in close custody.


Added by 132nd General Assembly File No. TBD, SB 255, §1, eff. 4/5/2019.

4764.13 Hearings; disciplinary actions; penalties; review.

(A) If, upon examining the results of an investigation, the superintendent of real estate and professional licensing determines that reasonable evidence exists that a licensed home inspector has violated this chapter or engaged in an activity described in divisions (A) to (G) of section 4764.14 of the Revised Code, the superintendent shall proceed in accordance with the notice and hearing requirements prescribed in Chapter 119. of the Revised Code. After a hearing officer conducts a hearing and issues a report pursuant to division (D) of this section, the Ohio home inspector board shall review the report and shall order the disciplinary action the board considers appropriate, which may include any one or more of the following:

(1) A reprimand;

(2) A fine not exceeding one thousand dollars per violation;

(3) Completion of hours of education in subjects related to the underlying cause of the violation in an amount determined by the board;

(4) Suspension of the license until the licensed home inspector complies with conditions the board establishes;

(5) Suspension of the license for a specific period of time;

(6) Revocation of the license;

(7) Surrender of the license in lieu of discipline.

(B) The superintendent shall not credit any hours of education a licensed home inspector completes in accordance with division (A)(3) of this section toward satisfying the requirements for continuing education specified in section 4764.08 of the Revised Code.

(C) At any time after the superintendent notifies a licensee in accordance with division (A) of this section that a hearing will be held, the licensee may apply to the superintendent to enter into a settlement agreement regarding the alleged violation. The superintendent and the licensed home inspector shall comply with the requirements for settlement agreements established in rules adopted by the board pursuant to division (A)(11) of section 4764.05 of the Revised Code. If the parties enter into the settlement agreement and comply with all of the requirements set forth in that agreement, the investigation regarding that alleged violation is considered closed. Notwithstanding division (C) of section 4764.12 of the Revised Code, the settlement agreement is a public record for purposes of section 149.43 of the Revised Code.

(D) The superintendent shall appoint a hearing officer to conduct adjudication hearings in accordance with Chapter 119. of the Revised Code.

In accordance with section 119.09 of the Revised Code, after conducting a hearing, a hearing officer shall submit to the board a report of the hearing and a recommendation for the action to be taken against the licensed home inspector. All parties may file objections to the report and recommendations as permitted under that section, and the board shall issue an order in accordance with the procedures prescribed in that section.

(E) If the board assesses a licensee a fine for a violation of section 4764.02 of the Revised Code and the person fails to pay that fine within the time period prescribed by the board, the superintendent shall forward to the attorney general the name of the person and the amount of the fine for the purpose of collecting that fine. In addition to the fine assessed pursuant to this section, the person also shall pay any fee assessed by the attorney general for collection of the fine.

(F) The decision and order of the board is final, subject to review in the manner provided in Chapter 119. of the Revised Code and appeal to the court of common pleas of Franklin county.


Added by 132nd General Assembly File No. TBD, SB 255, §1, eff. 4/5/2019.

4764.14 Refusal to issue or renew license.

The superintendent of real estate and professional licensing may refuse to issue or renew a license if the applicant for the license or renewal has done any of the following:

(A) Failed to establish to the satisfaction of the superintendent that the applicant is honest, truthful, and of good reputation;

(B) Accepted compensation or other valuable consideration from more than one interested party for the same service without the written consent of all interested parties;

(C) Accepted commissions, allowances, or other valuable consideration, directly or indirectly, from other parties who deal with a client in connection with the home inspection for which the home inspector is responsible, or from other parties who are involved in any part of the real estate transaction involving a residential building for which that home inspector conducted a home inspection;

(D) Repaired, replaced, or upgraded, or solicited to repair, replace, or upgrade, for compensation or other valuable consideration, systems or components in a residential building after completing a home inspection of that residential building, but prior to the close of the real estate transaction associated with that home inspection and the resolution of all contingent issues involving that building and transaction;

(E) Failed to disclose to a client in writing and before entering into a written contract with the client information about any business interest of the home inspector that may affect the client in connection with the home inspection;

(F) Pleaded guilty to or been convicted of any crime of moral turpitude, a felony, or an equivalent offense under the laws of any other state or the United States, or was required to register under Chapter 2950. of the Revised Code;

(G) Failed to maintain or provide copies of records to the superintendent as required by section 4764.11 of the Revised Code or failed to cooperate with an investigation conducted by the superintendent under section 4764.12 of the Revised Code. Failure of a licensee to comply with a subpoena issued under division (D) of section 4764.12 of the Revised Code is prima facie evidence of a violation of division (B) of section 4764.11 of the Revised Code.

(H) Failed to maintain, be covered by, or submit proof of a comprehensive general liability insurance policy or a commercial general liability insurance policy as required under division (A) of section 4764.11 of the Revised Code at any point during the term of a prior license;

(I) Violated rules adopted under section 4764.05 of the Revised Code or is otherwise not in compliance with this chapter;

(J) Failed to submit proof of satisfying the continuing education requirements specified in section 4764.08 of the Revised Code.


Added by 132nd General Assembly File No. TBD, SB 255, §1, eff. 4/5/2019.

4764.15 Violation of chapter; injuction.

The superintendent of real estate and professional licensing may apply to any court of common pleas to enjoin a violation of this chapter. Upon a showing by the superintendent that a person has violated or is violating this chapter, the court shall grant an injunction, restraining order, or other appropriate relief.


Added by 132nd General Assembly File No. TBD, SB 255, §1, eff. 4/5/2019.

4764.16 Investigation of person who are not licensed.

(A) Upon receipt of a written complaint or upon the motion of the superintendent of real estate and professional licensing, the superintendent may investigate any person who is not a licensed home inspector who has allegedly violated section 4764.02 of the Revised Code.

(B) The superintendent has the same powers to investigate an alleged violation of section 4764.02 of the Revised Code by a person who is not licensed as a home inspector as those powers are specified in section 4764.12 of the Revised Code. If, after an investigation pursuant to section 4764.12 of the Revised Code, the superintendent determines that reasonable evidence exists that an unlicensed person has violated section 4764.02 of the Revised Code, within seven days after that determination, the superintendent shall send a written notice to that person by regular mail and shall include in the notice the information specified in section 119.07 of the Revised Code for notices given to licensees, except that the notice shall specify that a hearing will be held and specify the date, time, and place of the hearing.

(C) The Ohio home inspector board shall hold a hearing regarding the alleged violation in the same manner prescribed for an adjudication hearing under section 119.09 of the Revised Code. If the board, after the hearing, determines a violation has occurred, the board may impose a civil penalty on the person, not exceeding five hundred dollars per violation which is distinct from any criminal fine imposed pursuant to section 4764.99 of the Revised Code. Each day a violation occurs or continues is a separate violation. The superintendent may approve a payment plan if the unlicensed person requests such. The board shall maintain a transcript of the proceedings of the hearing and issue a written order to all parties, citing its findings and grounds for any action taken. The board's determination regarding a violation of section 4764.02 of the Revised Code is an order that the person may appeal in accordance with section 119.12 of the Revised Code.

(D) If the unlicensed person who allegedly committed a violation of section 4764.02 of the Revised Code fails to appear for a hearing, the board may request the court of common pleas of the county where the alleged violation occurred to compel the person to appear before the board for a hearing.

(E) If the board assesses an unlicensed person a civil penalty for a violation of section 4764.02 of the Revised Code and the person fails to pay that civil penalty within the time period prescribed by the board, the superintendent shall forward to the attorney general the name of the person and the amount of the civil penalty for the purpose of collecting that civil penalty. In addition to the civil penalty assessed pursuant to this section, the person also shall pay any fee assessed by the attorney general for collection of the civil penalty.

If the board finds, or an unlicensed person admits to the board, a violation of section 4764.02 of the Revised Code, the superintendent shall not issue to the person a home inspector license without prior board approval.


Added by 132nd General Assembly File No. TBD, SB 255, §1, eff. 4/5/2019.

4764.17 Construction of chapter; actions for damages.

(A) Except as provided in divisions (B) and (C) of this section, nothing in this chapter shall be construed to create or imply a private cause of action against a licensed home inspector for a violation of this chapter if that action is not otherwise maintainable under common law.

(B) An action for damages that is based on professional services that were rendered or that should have been rendered by a licensed home inspector shall not be brought, commenced, or maintained unless the action is filed within one year after the date that the home inspection is performed.

(C) Before bringing, commencing, or maintaining an action under division (B) of this section, a client shall notify the licensed home inspector of the alleged deficiencies and shall allow the licensed home inspector the opportunity to review and remedy the alleged deficiencies. The statute of limitations specified in division (B) of this section shall be tolled for the period that begins on the date the client notifies the licensed home inspector of the alleged deficiencies and that ends on the date that the licensed home inspector reviews, declines to review, remedies, or declines to remedy the alleged deficiencies, whichever comes later.

(D) The remedies provided under sections 4764.12 to 4764.15 of the Revised Code are the exclusive remedies for alleged violations of any conflict of interest prohibitions specified in the rules adopted by the Ohio home inspector board pursuant to division (A)(10) of section 4764.05 of the Revised Code.

(E) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the superintendent of real estate and professional licensing from investigating, or to prohibit the board from taking action against a licensed home inspector for violations of this chapter if the investigation commences more than one year after the date that the licensed home inspector conducts the home inspection that is the subject of the investigation and action.


Added by 132nd General Assembly File No. TBD, SB 255, §1, eff. 4/5/2019.

4764.18 Home inspectors fund.

Except as provided in section 4764.21 of the Revised Code, the superintendent of real estate and professional licensing shall deposit all money collected under this chapter in the state treasury to the credit of the home inspectors fund, which is hereby created. Money credited to the fund shall be used solely by the superintendent to pay costs associated with the administration and enforcement of this chapter.


Added by 132nd General Assembly File No. TBD, SB 255, §1, eff. 4/5/2019.

4764.19 Defaults under child support orders.

On receipt of a notice pursuant to section 3123.43 of the Revised Code, the superintendent of real estate and professional licensing shall comply with sections 3123.41 to 3123.50 of the Revised Code and any applicable rules adopted under section 3123.63 of the Revised Code with respect to a license issued pursuant to this chapter.


Added by 132nd General Assembly File No. TBD, SB 255, §1, eff. 4/5/2019.

4764.20 Compliance with law regarding human trafficking.

The superintendent of real estate and professional licensing shall comply with section 4776.20 of the Revised Code.


Added by 132nd General Assembly File No. TBD, SB 255, §1, eff. 4/5/2019.

4764.21 Home inspection recovery fund.

(A) The home inspection recovery fund is hereby created in the state treasury, to be administered by the superintendent of real estate and professional licensing. Amounts collected by the superintendent as prescribed in this section and interest earned on the assets of the fund shall be ascertained by the superintendent as of the first day of July each year.

The Ohio home inspector board, in accordance with rules adopted under division (A)(2) of section 4764.05 of the Revised Code, shall impose a special assessment not to exceed five dollars per year for each year of a licensing period on each person applying for a license under section 4764.07 of the Revised Code and on each licensee filing a notice of renewal under section 4764.09 of the Revised Code if the amount available in the fund is less than two hundred and fifty thousand dollars on the first day of July preceding that filing. The board may impose a special assessment not to exceed three dollars per year for each year of a licensing period if the amount available is greater than five hundred thousand dollars, but less than one million dollars on the first day of July preceding that filing. The board shall not impose a special assessment if the amount available in the fund exceeds one million dollars on the first day of July preceding that filing.

(B)

(1) Any person who obtains a final judgment in any court of competent jurisdiction against any home inspector licensed under this chapter, on the grounds of conduct that is in violation of this chapter or the rules adopted under it, and that is associated with an act or transaction that only a licensed home inspector is authorized to perform as specified in section 4764.02 of the Revised Code, may file an application, as described in division (B)(3) of this section, in the court of common pleas of Franklin county for an order directing payment out of the home inspection recovery fund of the portion of the judgment that remains unpaid and that represents an actual and direct loss sustained by the applicant.

(2) Punitive damages, attorney's fees, and interest on a judgment are not recoverable from the fund. The superintendent may allow court costs to be recovered from the fund, and, if the superintendent authorizes the recovery of court costs, the order of the court of common pleas then may direct their payment from the fund.

(3) The applicant shall describe in the application the nature of the act or transaction on which the underlying judgment was based, the activities of the applicant in pursuit of remedies available under law for the collection of judgments, and the actual and direct losses, attorney's fees, and the court costs sustained or incurred by the applicant. The applicant shall attach to the application a copy of each pleading and order in the underlying court action.

(4) The court shall order the superintendent to make payments out of the fund when the person seeking the order has shown all of the following:

(a) The person has obtained a judgment, as provided in this division;

(b) All appeals from the judgment have been exhausted and the person has given notice to the superintendent, as required by division (C) of this section;

(c) The person is not a spouse of the judgment debtor, or the personal representative of the spouse;

(d) The person has diligently pursued the person's remedies against all the judgment debtors and all other persons liable to the person in the transaction for which the person seeks recovery from the fund;

(e) The person is applying not more than one year after termination of all proceedings, including appeals, in connection with the judgment.

(5) Divisions (B)(1) to (4) of this section do not apply to any of the following:

(a) Actions arising from home inspections conducted by an unlicensed individual;

(b) A bonding company when it is not a principal in the real estate transaction;

(c) A person in an action for the payment of a fee or other compensation for the performance of an act or transaction specified or comprehended in division (A) or (C) of section 4764.02 of the Revised Code;

(d) Losses incurred by investors in real estate if the applicant and the licensee are principals in the investment.

(C) A person who applies to a court of common pleas for an order directing payment out of the fund shall file notice of the application with the superintendent. The superintendent may defend any action on behalf of the fund and shall have recourse to all appropriate means of defense and review, including examination of witnesses, verification of actual and direct losses, and challenges to the underlying judgment required in division (B)(4)(a) of this section to determine whether the underlying judgment is based on activity only a licensed home inspector is permitted to perform. The superintendent may move the court at any time to dismiss the application when it appears there are no triable issues and the application is without merit. The motion may be supported by affidavit of any person having knowledge of the facts and may be made on the basis that the application, including the judgment referred to in it, does not form the basis for a meritorious recovery claim; provided, that the superintendent shall give written notice to the applicant at least ten days before making the motion. The superintendent may, subject to court approval, compromise a claim based upon the application of an aggrieved party. The superintendent shall not be bound by any prior compromise or stipulation of the judgment debtor.

(D) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section to the contrary, the liability of the fund shall not exceed forty thousand dollars for any one licensee. If a licensee's license is reactivated as provided in division (E) of this section, the liability of the fund for the licensee under this section shall again be forty thousand dollars, but only for transactions that occur subsequent to the time of reactivation.

If the forty-thousand-dollar liability of the fund is insufficient to pay in full the valid claims of all aggrieved persons by whom claims have been filed against any one licensee, the forty thousand dollars shall be distributed among them in the ratio that their respective claims bear to the aggregate of valid claims or in any other manner as the court finds equitable. Distribution of moneys shall be among the persons entitled to share in it, without regard to the order of priority in which their respective judgments may have been obtained or their claims have been filed. Upon petition of the superintendent, the court may require all claimants and prospective claimants against one licensee to be joined in one action, to the end that the respective rights of all the claimants to the fund may be equitably adjudicated and settled.

(E) If the superintendent pays from the fund any amount in settlement of a claim or toward satisfaction of a judgment against a licensed home inspector, the superintendent may suspend the home inspector's license. The superintendent shall not reactivate the suspended license of that home inspector until the home inspector has repaid in full, plus interest per annum at the rate specified in division (A) of section 1343.03 of the Revised Code, the amount paid from the fund on the home inspector's account. A discharge in bankruptcy does not relieve a person from the suspension and requirements for reactivation provided in this section unless the underlying judgment has been included in the discharge and has not been reaffirmed by the debtor.

(F) If, at any time, the money deposited in the fund is insufficient to satisfy any duly authorized claim or portion of a claim, the superintendent shall, when sufficient money has been deposited in the fund, satisfy the unpaid claims or portions, in the order that the claims or portions were originally filed, plus accumulated interest per annum at the rate specified in division (A) of section 1343.03 of the Revised Code.

(G) When, upon the order of the court, the superintendent has paid from the fund any sum to the judgment creditor, the superintendent shall be subrogated to all of the rights of the judgment creditor to the extent of the amount so paid, and the judgment creditor shall assign all the judgment creditor's right, title, and interest in the judgment to the superintendent to the extent of the amount so paid. Any amount and interest so recovered by the superintendent on the judgment shall be deposited in the fund.

(H) Nothing contained in this section shall limit the authority of the superintendent to take disciplinary action against any licensee under other provisions of this chapter; nor shall the repayment in full of all obligations to the fund by any licensee nullify or modify the effect of any other disciplinary proceeding brought pursuant to this chapter.

(I) The superintendent shall collect from the fund a service fee in an amount equivalent to the interest rate specified in division (A) of section 1343.03 of the Revised Code multiplied by the annual interest earned on the assets of the fund, to defray the expenses incurred in the administration of the fund.


Added by 132nd General Assembly File No. TBD, SB 255, §1, eff. 4/5/2019.

4764.99 Misdemeanor and felony violations.

(A) Whoever violates division (A) of section 4764.02 of the Revised Code is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree.

(B) Whoever violates division (D) of section 4764.02 of the Revised Code is guilty of a felony of the fifth degree.


Added by 132nd General Assembly File No. TBD, SB 255, §1, eff. 4/5/2019.