Killed by Carbon Monoxide: Appraiser Blamed
Read this article on how to check CO detectors. You may save someone’s life!!
by Kendra Budd, Associate Editor, WorkingRE
Excerpts: For decades, appraisers have been gently reminded to pay careful attention to smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors—especially noting when they are absent altogether. Many experts advise that the state and federal standards requiring these important systems exist for a reason.
A recent case in which a young couple died from carbon monoxide poisoning while they slept highlights the life and death importance of these simple alarms—and brings this issue front and center for the real estate appraiser community as a whole.
As you might expect, it didn’t take long for both John and Suzy’s parents to hire a law firm and start going after all the real estate professionals involved.
As it turns out, both the appraiser and the home inspector had each independently inspected the home 18 months prior and both mistakenly reported a few of the smoke alarms present at the home, as CO detectors.
Consequently, both the appraiser and home inspector ended up on the receiving end of a “wrongful death” legal claim.
The legal team for the parents of the deceased young adults (plaintiffs) alleged that the appraiser, Darcy Doe (name changed for privacy), had negligently appraised the Smiths’ home and had reported the presence of a CO detector when in fact, none were present. Unfortunately for Doe, she labeled her photograph inaccurately in her own appraisal report to the lender.
CO Detector vs Smoke Alarm
One important lesson in these cases is that it can be extremely difficult to tell the difference between CO detectors and smoke alarms. This is a reminder to appraisers to take a second look at all CO detectors and smoke alarms—and to test them as well.
Rick Bunzel, home inspector and Washington firefighter was able to give us some tips on how to not only tell the difference between the two detectors, but offers additional safety tips on smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors as well.
For starters, the difference between a smoke alarm and a CO detector is quite simple. “The item will be clearly labeled, written on the exterior shell of the device, so you’ll be able to see it easily,” advises Bunzel. However, this can be hard to read because the signage could be the same color as the shell, so it’s incredibly important for you to get close enough to the alarm or CO detector to read it clearly (and test it!).
Bunzel was also able to provide some helpful tips for appraisers as far as how to communicate with their clients about CO detectors. For example, Bunzel says that appraisers and home inspectors should make it clear to their clients that they do not warranty if the device is working, just that it is there. “The test button doesn’t test the workability of a device—only the alarm. Just because it squeaks doesn’t mean it works,” reports Bunzel. This disclaimer language should be included in the appraiser’s report.
Another tip is to check the date of a CO alarm and smoke detector
To read more, click here
My comments: Read this article, especially how to identify and check CO detectors. The disclaimers are useful. I have CO and smoke detectors in several locations in my house. CO is much riskier than smoke as you can’t smell it.
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