Woman poisoned by carbon monoxide worries home inspectors aren’t regulated by state

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AURORA, Colo. -- After going to the hospital for carbon monoxide poisoning, one homeowner wants answers as to why inspectors aren't regulated by the state.

After Kimberly Klepper moved into her home, she couldn't figure out why she constantly felt sick.

"I was getting horrible headaches," Klepper said. "I ended up in the hospital for this, but at the time, no one knew what it was from."

Finally, it dawned on Klepper that something in her new home was making her sick. She researched and realized her symptoms matched up with carbon monoxide poisoning.

She called her energy company. A technician found gas leaking from her furnace and carbon monoxide leaking from the water heater.

A home inspector report pointed out Klepper needed to repair or replace the water heater and furnace, and recommended further inspection by a qualified contractor. But Klepper said the inspector should have gone further.

"I didn't know that he hadn't checked for gas leaks or anything like that," Klepper said.

There is no state law that requires home inspectors to take those steps. Home inspectors are not regulated by Colorado's Department of Regulatory Agencies.

"I think it's important and someone needs to make people aware of that and that it needs to be regulated," Klepper said.

State Sen. Nancy Todd, D-Aurora, has tried twice to pass bills that would regulate home inspectors. Lawmakers voted against her most recent bill on Friday.

"Right now, a person that calls themselves a home inspector can be you and me. There is no credentialing, there is no record keeping. What this bill was doing is saying, let's at least find out who people are, if they are going to call themselves a home inspector, register with the state, have background checks, fingerprinting, and carry some sort of liability," Todd said.

However, home inspectors who oppose regulation said it will only add more bureaucracy, while doing nothing to protect consumers.

Inspectors noted there are bad apples in every industry, even those that are regulated by the state.

Plus, one inspector said a bill won't provide recourse for compensation for someone who is wronged by a home inspector. He said ultimately, the victim would need to go to court to receive compensation from the faulty inspector.

At the State Capitol on Monday, Todd said she will continue to push for regulation.

"The average consumer doesn't have any protection," Todd said. "This is important because no other purchase that we make is as valuable as our homes."

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