Registration of builders, inspectors to be sought in next Assembly session

April 18, 1999|By Robert Nusgart | Robert Nusgart,SUN REAL ESTATE EDITOR

In December, the registering of homebuilders and home inspectors was expected to become a reality as the General Assembly prepared for its 1999 session. Instead, the roof collapsed on bills targeting those two key consumer concerns in the real estate industry.

"The good news is that we will have this summer to join with the committee members, the authors of the original bill to draft a new one that we can agree on and get through next year's session," said Martin P. Azola, president of the Home Builders Association of Maryland.

House Bill 967, which would have established the Office of Home Builder Registration to license homebuilders, died in committee, having been attacked by builders as too regulatory.

"It's a shame we didn't get it done this year, but, unfortunately, when it got written, the successive drafts of what had started as some pretty simple concepts got pretty darn complicated and pretty onerous," Azola said.

"But we are committed to being part of a registration effort that will allow some tracking of the bad guys, which fortunately are very few [it] won't prevent problems from occurring the first time, but it will certainly help them from occurring twice."

Meanwhile, Del. Dan K. Morhaim, a Baltimore County Democrat, said he expects to reintroduce legislation next year to establish the licensing of home inspectors.

His bill, and another, scaled-back version introduced by Del. John P. Donoghue, an Allegany County Democrat, and Del. Mary Ann Love, an Anne Arundel County Democrat, didn't make it out of committee.

The bills would have established a board and provided a system for denying, revoking or suspending registrations, and would have required liability insurance but no insurance for negligence.

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