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RI will finally make home inspectors get licensed – 2 decades after law passed

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A Rhode Island law requiring home inspectors to be licensed will finally be enforced, two decades after it was enacted, Call 12 for Action has learned.

Paul Brunetti has been a home inspector for years, and for years, he’s been pushing for home inspectors in the state to be licensed. He believes consumers will be protected by the extra requirements, including insurance and continuing education.

“Buying a house is probably the single largest purchase that most of us make,” said Brunetti, who is also a member of R.I. Contractors’ Registration and Licensing Board.

“We get pretty routine calls coming in — ‘He missed this.’ ‘He missed that,'” Brunetti said.

Home inspectors in Massachusetts and Connecticut are licensed, and Rhode Island legislators passed a law back in 2000 mandating the same policy here. But state officials never created regulations to enforce the licensing requirements.

“They said we have no money to fund the program,” Brunetti recalled. “When we found out we had to put the brakes on, we were just totally deflated, and over the years really I can’t tell you how many times we sat down with senators and representatives and governors.”

He added, “We didn’t give up.”

Now the regulations are finally becoming a reality, according to Julietta Georgakis, deputy director of the R.I. Department of Business Regulation, which oversees the contractors’ board.

In addition to home inspectors and their assistants, licensing requirements will also be going into effect for well-drilling contractors; pump installers; residential water filtration/treatment system contractors, and installers; and commercial roofers.

“I think by the end of November, maximum by the end of the year, we will have a bunch of new professionals licensed,” Georgakis told Call 12 for Action.

“Being licensed means individuals have taken tests to prove skill level, which is very important,” she said. “They’re insured, they’re registered with us so we can keep track of them, and this is going to be a much better system to protect homeowners.”

Brunetti agrees.

“Rather than be negative — why did it take so long — I’m just excited that it’s going forward,” he said. “I think it’s a great thing for Rhode Island home buyers. At least they can know they’re going to have someone that’s qualified.”

Brian Hodge, a spokesperson for DBR, said the regulations for all seven professions are awaiting a final stamp of approval before they go into effect.

Susan Campbell (scampbell@wpri.com) is the Call 12 for Action and Target 12 consumer investigator for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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