A repeat question asked by HotLine callers is whether a home inspection report prepared for buyer #1 can be given, after the original transaction fails, to buyer #2. Apparently home inspectors have instilled fear into the buyers who have hired them. Buyers believe that since they paid for the home inspection and since it was performed for them, it can’t be given to any other person. This is hardly so.
Under the Pennsylvania Home Inspection Law, the seller always has a right to a home inspection report prepared in connection with the seller’s property. No ifs, ands or buts.
On what basis then do we hold that a second buyer is entitled to the first buyer’s report? While there is no legal authority, it is hard to imagine the circumstance where a home inspector is going to sue because a seller or listing agent provided the inspection report to a second buyer. Reports are prepared in connection with the property and anticipated transaction. Sellers can’t avoid the duty of disclosing material defects and perhaps the best way to do is provide a copy of the report, verbatim.
While an inspector may claim that the inspection report is proprietary, it was clearly performed in connection with a transaction and was intended as a snapshot of the property on a given date, at a given time. If that snapshot is passed onto someone else, it is only for the purpose of assessing how the scene looked at that particular date and time the snapshot was taken.
I believe that sellers have little to fear by passing along a snapshot (home inspection report) taken of their property to subsequent purchasers who have a legal right to notification of material defects known to the seller. I have never seen a home inspector sue a seller who has given out a report in an effort to be transparent and honest when disclosing conditions.