The inspector's liability is determined by the service regulations in the Consumer Protection Act whenever the inspection is commissioned by a consumer (not a company). The law requires that the inspector performs his services carefully and in a professional manner. The inspector is liable for ensuring that observations, conclusions and recommendations are correct and comprehensive, and that the inspection has been performed to the agreed extent.
The inspector must also provide advice to the party who commissions the inspection. The inspector must clearly explain to the customer what the condition inspection includes and what does it not include. In particular, limitations related to the survey or inspection method must be explained to the customer, e.g. what type of information can be gained by using the chosen method. If necessary, the inspector must urge the customer to commission additional surveys if the inspection reveals any obvious risk factors.
The inspector is only liable for his own work
The party who commissions the inspection may demand a price adjustment, a refund of service fees or a cancellation of the agreement if the inspector has performed his duties unprofessionally or negligently. The inspector is generally not liable for any defects in the property. Such defects fall within the seller's liability. The inspector's liability for damages is generally only considered when, after concluding a sales transaction, an apartment or house is discovered to have a defect that is not mentioned in the condition inspection report.
If, after concluding the sale, the buyer discovers a defect that is not mentioned in the condition inspection report, the buyer must first demand a price adjustment from the seller. The seller is not, however, liable to pay for general renovation or maintenance work required due to the age of the property.
- The reasoning behind this is that if the defect had been discovered in the condition inspection before concluding the sale, it would have resulted in a lower price for the property. When the defect is only discovered after concluding the sale, the seller is deemed to have been ”overpaid” for the property. In such cases, the seller is required to adjust the sales price afterwards to reflect the costs of rectifying the defect. This liability may not be passed on to the inspector.
- If the seller is found to be insolvent, for example, the liability for compensation may be passed on to the inspector if he has performed the inspection in a negligent manner. As with the seller, the liability does not cover the part included in the housing company's liability for repairs.
- The inspector may be liable for e.g. unnecessary costs of dismantling and repairs. This can be the case when the inspector has reported a defect in the property that did not, in fact, exist.
In other cases of compensation the inspector's liability and applicable law depends, among other things, on
- who commissioned the inspection
- what is the extent of the damage
- whether there is a causal relationship between the damage and the inspector's work
- whether the damage is a result of the inspector's negligence