Point-of-Sale Inspections: Elevators, Stairway Lifts, Etc.

Will sellers of single-family homes be required to have pre-sale inspections of all elevators, side chair lifts, trams and other conveyances before the home could be sold? 

The International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC) has been working to pass a law that would require sellers of single family homes to have pre-sale inspections of elevators, side stair lifts, trams, and other conveyances before the home could be sold. In addition, any defects or permitting efficiencies would have to be remedied. Failure to “inspect & remedy” would result in the seller being prohibited from recording any deed transferring title to the home to the buyer. The inspections would likely be done by IUEC union members licensed by the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries.

REALTORS® opposed the idea, and convinced legislators to instead propose amending Form 17 (the Seller Disclosure Statement).

What the IUEC was proposing is known as a “Point-of-Sale” requirement in which government imposes a requirement on the buyer and seller so that the buyer and seller must do something more than what the buyer and seller have agreed to do in their purchase and sale agreement. Typically, the requirement involves some public policy objective that has broad application throughout the community. But instead of requiring the whole community to address the issue, the “Point-of-Sale” approach chooses to hold only buyers and sellers hostage, and requires them to fix the community-wide problem at personal cost to the buyer and seller.

Unlike the Home Inspection issues that are negotiated between buyers and sellers, “Point-of- Sale” mandates leave buyers and sellers no options or choices, and instead hold them hostage to a requirement imposed by a third-party, such as the government, simply because a family wants, or needs, to sell their home.

During the last couple of years the International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC) has sought to have L&I’s Elevator Safety Advisory Committee (ESAC) endorse the idea of a new conveyance Point-of-Sale requirement for Single Family Homes. In the face of many long-standing unanswered questions, that didn’t happen. So, the union decided to “go it alone” in asking members of the State Senate to pass a law.

Sen. Karen Keiser, D-33But before that could happen, the Association of REALTORS® stepped-in and worked with Senator Karen Keiser (pictured) and attorneys in the real estate brokerage industry. The REALTORS® helped to craft the outlines of a bill (SB 5156) that would instead amend the Seller Disclosure Statement to require that sellers simply disclose any known defects in elevators, side stair lifts and other conveyances that are on the property. Senators Warnick and Conway joined Senator Keiser in co-sponsoring the legislation which is under consideration by the Legislature in Olympia.