Home Inspector and GFCI recomendations

JRB2k

New member
Recently my home which was built in 1926 had a home inspection for a buyer. The report stated that GFCI receptacles must be installed in bathroom and kitchen areas. I was wondering if this is true, I stress the word MUST in the statement. I believe, but have no education on the matter, that while it may be a good idea to upgrade, since this was not code when the home was built and no electrical work was done to any circuit that the wording is a mistake. And I do not have any legal cause to install GFCI's. Any thoughts?
 

infinity

Moderator
Staff member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Journeyman Electrician
I'm allowing this thread to help out this home owner with some professional opinions.

Home inspectors should make recommendations that enhance safety and not demand that repairs be made. In many places that's all that they're allowed to do and demanding certain improvements is a violation of their professional protocol.
 
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JFletcher

Senior Member
Location
Williamsburg, VA
The report stated that GFCI receptacles must be installed in bathroom and kitchen areas. I was wondering if this is true, I stress the word MUST in the statement. I believe, but have no education on the matter, that while it may be a good idea to upgrade, since this was not code when the home was built and no electrical work was done to any circuit that the wording is a mistake. And I do not have any legal cause to install GFCI's. Any thoughts?

If the wiring is untouched since inception, I believe you are correct and the HI is in error. The only way he might be correct is if the bathrooms originally had receptacles in the light fixtures, said fixtures have been replaced with receptacle-less ones (thus leaving no receptacles at all), and 1926 building/NEC required bathroom receptacles... which seems to have come about in 1975.

However, I did find this:

"In jurisdictions that have included the PROPERTY MAINTENANCE CODE as part of their code adoption, there is a retroactive requirement for at least one receptacle in a bathroom."

poster was from NY, as you are, and it was an HI forum. Here's the link, post #16:

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct...aklgv_wck4Mg3YB6g&sig2=BFn5qEXToqhtauf5tbiEqQ

eta: found this under the PMC:

102.8 Requirements not covered by code. No
structure, the construction and use of which complied
with all code and other such requirements in effect at
the time of construction, shall be required to be
altered in use or structure by the provisions of this
code, except in the case of a clear public safety
hazard. In the case of a clear public safety hazard,
the code official shall be authorized to enforce a
provision of this code, or other recognized relative
codes, retroactively



http://www.statecollegepa.us/documentcenter/view/7152
 
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kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
HI's inspect and report on hazards to life or property they may encounter. They are not code officials, they can't force you to fix or replace anything, you are still buying or selling a home "as is" but with that HI report there is a tool for negotiating between buyer and seller.

If there is questionable items on the HI report you may want to hire a professional to take a look and make further suggestions that deals with that area that this problem is associated with - like a licensed electrician for electrical issues, or a builder/framer if HI would happen to bring up structural issues. If something is deemed a serious issue the buyer may request you fix the problem if you want to sell at your original asking price or may use that information and make you a lower offer knowing they will have to pay for that repair if they (or sometimes their lender) will want it made.

It is a little like taking a mechanic with you to make suggestions when looking at a used car.
 

user 100

Senior Member
Location
texas
It is a little like taking a mechanic with you to make suggestions when looking at a used car.

Yes-they point out (in their opinion) defects and you take their advice (or not) and determine what you want to do-either buy or bargain w/seller to fix "defects."
 

iwire

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Massachusetts
For what it is worth, here in MA it is mandatory to have GFCIs in bathrooms to sell a home.

It is not the electrical code it is another other law or code. Other states could have similar rules
 

JFletcher

Senior Member
Location
Williamsburg, VA
For what it is worth, here in MA it is mandatory to have GFCIs in bathrooms to sell a home.

It is not the electrical code it is another other law or code. Other states could have similar rules

and, fwiw, we are installing GFCI receptacles in the bathrooms in the home we are selling here in VA because the original lights which had receptacles (2prong, probably 5A max load) were replaced a while ago, leaving the bathrooms receptacle-less, which is what prompted my initial search and post.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
For what it is worth, here in MA it is mandatory to have GFCIs in bathrooms to sell a home.

It is not the electrical code it is another other law or code. Other states could have similar rules
A HI may point that out, a lender may want it done or no loan, but outside of that who is enforcing the law?

Maybe buyer doesn't get a clear title to the property unless things like that are taken care of whether it be done by the buyer or seller is between them?
 

iwire

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Massachusetts
A HI may point that out, a lender may want it done or no loan, but outside of that who is enforcing the law?

No loan without proof of certain things being done like GFCIs and smoke detectors.

Not sure how it goes if someone is paying cash.

Bottom line is if the seller wants to sell a MA dwelling property bathroom GFCIs are required. I made a lot of money side jobbing GFCI installations back in the 80s and 90s.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
No loan without proof of certain things being done like GFCIs and smoke detectors.

Not sure how it goes if someone is paying cash.

Bottom line is if the seller wants to sell a MA dwelling property bathroom GFCIs are required. I made a lot of money side jobbing GFCI installations back in the 80s and 90s.
The cash sale is what I was wondering the most about, the actual transfer of title deed is the only place any third party may be involved. What if the buyer's intent is to destroy the property and build something new?
 

iwire

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Massachusetts
The cash sale is what I was wondering the most about, the actual transfer of title deed is the only place any third party may be involved. What if the buyer's intent is to destroy the property and build something new?


Who knows, who cares. :lol:

Luckily MA rules do not apply where you are so you should be able to sleep well.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
Who knows, who cares. :lol:

Luckily MA rules do not apply where you are so you should be able to sleep well.
Nobody ever buys property with the intention of destroying it or giving it a major make over in MA? I bet there is exceptions in the laws, as well as some cash sales that might slip through the cracks.:p
 

user 100

Senior Member
Location
texas
Nobody ever buys property with the intention of destroying it or giving it a major make over in MA? I bet there is exceptions in the laws, as well as some cash sales that might slip through the cracks.:p

That would be dependent entirely on Ma law- are inspections mandated every time a house is sold-even for "as is, cash only" ? Maybe up there they are concerned about the condition of the structure at the time of sale and couldn't careless if it's going to be razed /reno'ed- just in case it is going to be lived in?

It's possible you could still be caught even w/ a cash sale- the change in title info is recorded w/ county clerk- ahj could find out that way if they actually have people that monitor for that sort of thing.:)


How could that be reasonably enforced? Would they say something like "inspection waived, as buyer isn't going to live there and intends to demolish building and has 90 days after sale date to do so"?
 
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kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
That would be dependent entirely on Ma law- are inspections mandated every time a house is sold-even for "as is, cash only" ? Maybe up there they are concerned about the condition of the structure at the time of sale and couldn't careless if it's going to be razed /reno'ed- just in case it is going to be lived in?


How could that be reasonably enforced? Would they say something like "inspection waived, as buyer isn't going to live there and intends to demolish building and has 90 days after sale date to do so"?
How is the assurance that the GFCI's get installed during an ownership change was where I started with this. If they can do that why can't they have conditional variances to the general rules?

What if ownership changes because of inheritance?
 

user 100

Senior Member
Location
texas
How is the assurance that the GFCI's get installed during an ownership change was where I started with this. If they can do that why can't they have conditional variances to the general rules?

What if ownership changes because of inheritance?

The deal about inheritance is a good point- perhaps you would have to prove you inherited the place by showing a probate certificate in order to beat any requirements if a waivere exists.

Like I said above -maybe you can get caught during deed transfer at the local record office and thats where they block you when they inquire about inspection if there is a dwelling?

Imagine swarms of csi like investigators going thru every requested transfer- they don't carry guns, they carry laptops and red tags.:lol:
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
Installing GFCI receptacle is nothing if that is all that is required to transfer the property to a new owner. But chances are they also have structural requirements and fire safety requirements, maybe plumbing (at the very least back flow devices), that get looked into as well. If a new owner's intentions are to demolish or at least make major renovations, there probably is arrangements to allow those to happen. If anything new building permits maybe required at time of the transfer of property and those permits would need to be closed and inspections passed before a final COA is issued.
 

jap

Senior Member
The biggest problem I usually run into is trying to fit a GFI receptacle in a box that was installed 60 years ago.
They never seem to be big enough and a simple receptacle change out becomes a half day ordeal.


JAP>
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
The biggest problem I usually run into is trying to fit a GFI receptacle in a box that was installed 60 years ago.
They never seem to be big enough and a simple receptacle change out becomes a half day ordeal.


JAP>
Non metallic Wiremold extension box makes it go pretty quick:happyyes:

They don't wan't to pay you for half a day in those instances and will settle for it.
 

gadfly56

Senior Member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Professional Engineer, Fire & Life Safety
The cash sale is what I was wondering the most about, the actual transfer of title deed is the only place any third party may be involved. What if the buyer's intent is to destroy the property and build something new?

This happens with some regularity in NJ.

Although it didn't happen to my property, what I should have done when I sold and will do if/when I sell my current home is require that any allowances be placed in an escrow account, and if the work hasn't actually been done within 3-5 years or so, I get the money back. On my last home they beat me down about $8,000 in consideration of needing a new roof and exterior painting. This was in 2006. I went by a couple of months ago and nothing has been done.
 

JFletcher

Senior Member
Location
Williamsburg, VA
Installing GFCI receptacle is nothing if that is all that is required to transfer the property to a new owner. But chances are they also have structural requirements and fire safety requirements, maybe plumbing (at the very least back flow devices), that get looked into as well. If a new owner's intentions are to demolish or at least make major renovations, there probably is arrangements to allow those to happen. If anything new building permits maybe required at time of the transfer of property and those permits would need to be closed and inspections passed before a final COA is issued.

In VA, afaik the only req is a termite inspection.
 
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