Brookfield village trustees voted 5-1 on Sept. 14 to change the way single-family homes are inspected prior to being sold.
For many years, village inspectors would perform what’s known as a re-sale inspection of a home before it changed hands, making sure the house was up to electrical and plumbing codes, had working smoke and CO2 detectors and dozens of other items.
But the time required of the village’s two inspectors to do hundreds of those inspections each year and keep up with other aspects of their jobs — like inspecting new construction, catching and preventing unpermitted work and dealing with property maintenance issues — was just too much of a burden, according to officials.
“We have a set amount of resources in our community and economic development department,” said Village Manager Keith Sbiral.
In order to give inspectors more time to promptly address those other issues, trustees passed a new law, which takes the village out of the single-family home resale inspection business.
Instead, within two months of a single-family property changing hands, homebuyers will now be required to hire a state-licensed inspector to complete the resale inspection. In addition, the homebuyer will have to provide the village with a certificate proving that the inspection was completed and that the home is in compliance with fire safety, plumbing and electrical codes.
According to Sbiral, the vast majority of single-family home buyers in Brookfield already get a private inspection in addition to the one completed by the village. With that in mind, according to Sbiral, it made more sense for village inspectors to focus on the other aspects of their jobs.
“We can better focus our resources on this through this mechanism of eliminating inspections and focusing on other things,” Sbiral said.
Brookfield inspectors will continue to do resale inspections on multifamily and commercial properties — ones considered to be higher-risk properties — prior to sale.
While there was some thought that the new law would go into effect at the beginning of 2016, officials decided that the village’s resale inspection process would change as of Oct. 1.
Trustee Michael Garvey, who voted to approve the new measure, said that while he agreed with the need for the village to do resale inspections in the past, it was time to change the process.
“I’m glad to hear that we’ve gotten to a point where our resources can be better allocated,” Garvey said. Trustee David LeClere was the only member of the village board to vote against the new law.