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Consumer Protection Bill

A proposal on Beacon Hill would change the way homes are bought and sold in Massachusetts.

Senate Bill 197 and House Bill 245—known as An Act Protecting Consumer Rights in Purchasing Safe and Habitable Homes—would make home inspections a right in Massachusetts. Supporters of the legislation say prospective home buyers would no longer feel the pressure to waive inspection to sweeten an offer.

“We need to ensure that our consumers have some protections,” said Sen. Michael Moore, who introduced the bill earlier this year. “This largest investment in your life and you’re putting it on the line [if you choose not to get a home inspection].”

 

More and more buyers have been forced to waive inspection in recent years to compete in a hyper-competitive housing market. Home inspectors warn it is a dangerous gamble that can cause safety and financial risks down the road. The bill would essentially remove the home inspection contingency as a bargaining chip.

“It would no longer be part of the negotiations of buying a home,” said North Shore home inspector James Malgeri. “You can’t sweeten up your offer by waiving it.”

Malgeri is president of the New England chapter of the American Society of Home Inspectors and testified in support of the bill at the State House last month.

“To me, this is a real consumer protection issue when it comes down to it,” Malgeri said.

The bill would also give buyers ten days from the time of an agreement to complete an inspection and five days to review the results. Sellers would face a $10,000 fine for failing to comply.

“As a seller or an agent, you can’t dissuade someone from getting a home inspection. You can’t talk them out of it,” Malgeri said.

Moore called the bill a “common sense” piece of legislation and said he hasn’t heard any of any opposition.

“No one has spoken negatively about this. As a matter of fact, I’ve had a lot of realtors approach me, they actually think it’s a good piece of legislation,” Moore said.

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