What will 2019 bring?

After two brutal years for the Home Inspection Profession in Ontario, what will the new year bring?
Each year, at about this time, we look back at what has happened in the past. We thought it was about time to do something different.

2019 - The year ahead

Ever since Pythia, people have been turning to soothsayers and oracles for a glimpse of the future.

Looking back, we can see that most of these predictions have been twisted to fit actual events.

Whether it is possible to predict the future or not, it’s always fun to try, and so much more so than coming up with a resolution for the new year that only lasts for a couple of weeks.

This year we thought in addition to telling you what you already know, we’d get our crystal ball out, polish it off, and see if we can make some predictions for the year to come.

Good News – Bad News

Here’s a summary of our predictions for the year to come

Bad News
Good News
  • We predict that Licensing will proceed on a slow track to completion.
  • We predict that, assuming Premier Ford doesn’t cancel this important piece of consumer protections legisaltion, the Home Inspection Act, 2017 will be proclaimed by the third quarter of 2019.
    Here at OntarioACHI, we are proceeding as though the Home Inspection Act will be proclaimed and the regulations and DAA will have been identified by this time.  We are also gearing up for the the influx of inspector who may choose to change Associations when the Act fundamentally changes the provincial association protections of existing legisaltion.
  • We predict that when Licensing is announced, the cost of the license is going to be around $2,300 per year.
    This will ensure that regulation can be implemented with little or no cost to the public purse.
  • $2,300 per year equates to around $10.50 per day if you work 44 weeks a year, 5 days a week.
    With fewer inspectors and more inspections we predict this to be able to be easily absorbed with moderate price increases in the cost of a Home Inspection.  This will ensure that neither the Home Inspector nor the Consumer will suffer from the cost of regulation to the profession.
  • We predict that Professional Indemnity Insurance is going to be mandatory for ALL Home Inspectors.
  • Anyone who is a Canadian-Certified Home Inspector already carries this insurance and we predict Insurance rates will come down as the risk profile will be lowered and the number of insured inspectors will increase.
    Here at OntarioACHI we wil continue to work with regulators and insurers to ensure consumer protection mechanisms do not cause an impediment to people choosing to have Home Inspections by keeping insurance premiums affordable.
  • We predict an initial loss of between 15% and 25% of practicing Home Inspectors in Ontario following Licensing
  • We predict that most of those losses will come from natural attrition, the loss of cut-price, part-time inspectors and those who are already on the fence as to whether it’s a profession that provides a viable income.
    Here at OntarioACHI, we will continue to provide support for Home Inspectors who want to advance as Professional Consultants in the area of Home & Property Inspections.
  • We predict the folding of at least two nationally focussed Canadian Home Inspection Associations in 2019
  • We predict that with the new direct membership format, CAHPI will come to the forefront as the advocate for Home Inspectors on the Federal and International stage.
    Here at OntarioACHI, we will our relationships with CAHPI and the NHICC to strengthen representation of Home Inspectors at all levels.  OntarioACHI will be concentrating on the Provincial market and we will continue to work with CAHPI on the National and International market and with the NHICC for greater strength in education of Inspectors.
  • We predict that membership in the Home Inspection Professional Associations will be challenged in 2019
  • We predict that this will strengthen Associations that support their members, the profession and consumers, by ensurig the Professional Home Inspectors will choose representation and anyone choosing to represent themselves will not survive in the profession.  Here at OntarioACHI we will be opening new doors for Home Inspectors to expand thier portfolios, create new sources of referals and income and prosper
  • We predict that Home Inspectors will be seriously financially challenged in 2019
  • We predict that Professional Home Inspectors will rise to that challenge and exit 2019 in a far stronger prostion than they enter it.  Here at OntarioACHI we will be guiding members how to mould their businesses into forward thinking, profitable entities that they can rely on for future income.
  • We predict that Drone regulations will prevent Home Inspectors (and Realtors) from using drones for aerial services for Real Estate Transactions
  • We predict that the regulations will open up a niche market for a small number of inspectors who  wish to invest in UAS services and provide these to other inspectors and professionals who identfiy the need for drone videos and photos.

of course…….like Nostradamus, we might not be right on all of this.

Either way, we wish you all a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2019.

Here’s a detailed breakdown of why we think our predictions will pan out.

Licensing

Image of DroneThe process for this round of regulating the Home Inspection Profession in Ontario has been ongoing now since 2012. We have seen three governments come and two go. We have burned through 5 Ministers for Consumer Protection, we have seen all-party support for both a Private Members Bill and Government Act.

The Home Inspection Act, 2017 received royal assent in early 2017. Discussions have been ongoing, but any real forward movement has been lacking since then.

We see the future for Licensing of Home Inspectors in Ontario start to take shape over the next few months.

We believe in the early part of 2019 the Ministry will lay out an agenda for the development of regulations, costing for the licensing process and a recommendation for the appointment of a Delegated Administrative Authority.

Dependant upon the go-ahead from Premier Ford (who after all will have the last say on whether he wants legislation to protect consumers), we believe that the licensing process will be announced, the Act will be proclaimed and the move towards full licensing of the profession will commence in the third quarter of 2019.

We see an 18 months transition period following proclamation.

We foresee this as generating an initial cull, in the profession, of part-time Inspectors. This is based upon prior experience of the introduction of Licensing in B.C. and Alberta.

At the same time, we predict that public recognition of the newly regulated profession will act as a catalyst to ensuring more consumers are protected by Professional Home Inspections carried out by Licensed Home Inspectors. Again this is based upon statistics coming out of B.C. and Alberta. Licensing, we predict, we eradicate quick and dirty walk-throughs and cut-price ineffective inspections that performed to protect no-one and do nothing but accelerate the sale of the property for the benefit of those associated with the sale.

Association Direction

Different paths forwardWith the extra burden of Licensing will come the decision for Home Inspectors as to what Associations they belong to.

The ability of a Home Inspection Association to survive will rely on what it can do for its members.

Here we are going to cheat because we know what the future holds for the Ontario Association of Certified Home Inspectors. We are going to continue ensuring our members are seen as truly independent consultants, focused on protecting consumers and helping those consumers maintain their investments.

Unlike other Associations who might choose to side with Sales organisations, we will continue to maintain our affiliation with the regulators, whose tasks is to protect consumers. We will also work with other Home Inspection Associations and groups who have similar ideals of ensuring segregation of duty between the act of selling and the act of advising on the condition of property and advice as to the best way to maintain that property.

In 2019, we will be helping Home Inspectors to expand their portfolios to ensure they can earn sufficient income to remain in business and continue their protection of consumers in areas not usually associated with a Residential Home Inspection, but equally important to homeowners in protecting their investments.

We see the demise of at least two Candian-wide Home Inspection Associations, and the strengthening of ties between the Canadian Association of Home & Property Inspectors and those provincial Associations that work for both their members and the consumers, and not just to promote themselves or their offerings. The smaller organisations such as PHPIC and CanNACHI are not likely to be able to maintain their operations with the reduction in members following on from two brutal years of decreased membership.

The proclamation of the Home Inspection Act, 2017, will end the protectionist clauses in the provincial legislation for any Inspector who is a member of the Ontario Association of Home Inspectors (OAHI). Anyone who is a “Registered Home Inspector” or R.H.I. because of their membership of OAHI will lose that right-to-title. Because the National Association, CAHPI, owns the trademark Registered Home Inspector (RHI) and OAHI member who wishes to maintain these designations will have to join CAHPI directly. OAHI will have to rebadge its designations. While their coffers might be ample, we see their wholesale alignment with the Realtors trade association and more recently ZooCasa as a detrimental step to the independence of the profession. We believe this approach presents a real conflict of interest and may eventually lead to the demise of OAHI. This is why OntarioACHI have focused on links with regulators and other professions, who offer no opinion to consumers about the suitability of a property, to ensure our members act – and are seen to act – without conflict.

Drones

Image of DroneWe’ve been working with the CARAC group at Transport Canada since 2013 and have seen a number of changes to the rules for flying drones as a hobby. nothing much has changed with respect to the use of Drones as a Professional.

Home Inspectors (and Realtors taking aerial photos) have needed a Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC) to perform Drone Inspections and Realty aerial photos.

Our prediction for the future is that new regulations won’t change anything. The stand-off distances will require that special permission will be required to legally fly drones for Home and Property Inspections. The extra cost for applying for a Drone license, plus the cost of maintaining a license, and the realisation that a Drone actually increases the time it takes to perform an inspection of a residential home will lead to most Inspectors choosing not to offer this service.

We see regulation as a way to standardise the law making it easier for the authorities to enforce regulations and catch and prosecute anyone flying a drone illegally in Canada. In Southern Ontario, that will likely be anyone flying a drone.

While the regulations have been aimed at legal operators of drones, nothing seems to be put into the regulations about preventing illegal operation. Rather than target law-abiding professionals who want to use drones for legitimate reasons, we would have expected Transport-Canada to concentrate on ensuring manufacturers made the drones so they could be prevented (or stopped) from flying if they encroached into areas where they could be a danger. Imagine how many people in the U.K. who could have reached their intended destination if this had been the case in the run-up to Christmas at London Gatwick.