I also found in NJAC 13:40-15.16, the standards of practice for
inspectors in NJ, that inspectors are required to:
(i) 1. Inspect
ii. Main disconnects, main panel and sub panels, including interior
components of main panel and sub panels;
v. Over-current protection devices and the compatibility of their
ampacity with that of the connected wiring;
(i) 2. Describe (report in writing)
iv. Predominant type of wiring;
vi. Presence of solid conductor aluminum branch circuit wiring.
Also, the standards of practice for the American Sociaety of Home
Inspectors requires that inspectors report in writing "on the presence
of solid conductor aluminum branch circuit wiring".
7.1, C, 1
In addition, the Examination Board of Professional Home Inspectors
hanbook indicates that inspectors should be familiar with "Problems
with aluminum wire"
section II, Task 4, c., 4
Yes, I am obsessing about this but when you pay somebody to do a job,
they should do what they are paid to do. Especially when they are
licensed experts in a particular field.
After DAGS, (a whole lot of them) I have found that the inspectors
waiver would probably not hold up in NJ.
Now I have to find an attorney...
The bug guy showed me how extensive the damage is in the basement, sill
plate compressed under a few joists and the rim joist is pretty chewed
up. House is in no danger falling down but would easily be found by a
I'm still too ticked off to let this go right now. Maybe a discussion
with an attorney will convince me to let it go...
As others have tried to point out, there is the issue here of what is
practical. If you were to pursue this to trial, where is the big
payoff? It's far from certain that you would win, and even if you
did, what are you going to collect? The most that I could see would
be the inspection fee you paid, plus some arguable amount that covers
the difference in value of a house with the wiring you have which is
still legal and functional vs one with copper wiring. How much that
amounts to is highly questionable, but it's a lot less than the cost
of rewiring the house.
Let's take a generous guess and say it's $10K. To try to recover
$10K, how much are you prepared to spend? You're going to have to pay
a lawyer. You are going to need testimony from expert witnesses.
In short order, you will spend a lot more than you stand to recover and
you may not win. I'd also take a good hard look at the contract you
signed with the home inspector, as they generally have pretty good
protection for the inspector and limit recovery. To succeed, you are
probably going to have to prove it was gross negligence.
The best solution I see is what has been already suggested and that is
to sue the inspector in small claims court. In NJ, that limits the
amount to $3000, but avoids the legal fees.
See my post from earlier today, it shows that inspectors in NJ are
required to report in writing the presence of aluminum wiring in a
Small claims might not work because *malpractice* is not eligible for
small claims in NJ. Also the inspector is required to have insurance
so any claim I file will put me up against an attorney from the
insurance company who would bury me in legaleze.
Just checked the rules for small claims in NJ and I think you are
right. Malpractice suits are prohibited, so I think that route is out.
If you could get it into small claims, I wouldn't worry about the
insurance company sending a lawyer for a possible $3000 case, as it's
not worth their time. More likely they would offer to settle Even if
they did send a lawyer, the judge knows small claims is to give the
little guy a fair shot, so I doubt he'd let a lawyer bury you in
legaleze. But if small claims is out, I don't see any alternative that
makes any sense.
Another possible data point occurred to me. I believe the max you can
hope to recover in any case would be the inspector's fee, plus whatever
a judge would determine is the difference in worth of a house with
copper clad alum vs a house with copper wiring. If you know a real
estate agent, you could see if they have any actual experience in sales
where the inspection uncovered that type wiring, or even full alum
wiring. They could tell you what happened and how much difference it
made in selling price. Even that is probably very hard to determine,
because other factors can be involved. But if you were to pursue this
in any court, that would be evidence you would need to prove damages.
If a realtor tells you it can't be determined or made little
difference, then you know you are gonna have a hard time proving
I would also check the NJ sellers disclosure law rules at the DCA,
which are pretty strict and what the requirements are for disclosing
alum wiring. You might have a legitimate claim against the seller, if
for example it is required to be disclosed, you can show they knew it
and didn't disclose it. But of course that comes with it's own
problems. You could check with the town for records of electrical
permits pulled and what they show.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.