The technical answer is no! In the real world, however, we know it happens.
Here is what you need to know so you can decide for yourself: Oregon Senate bill 515 became effective January 1, 2004 and amended ORS 105.464 (Form of seller’s property disclosure statement). The bill requires sellers to not only disclose any inspections done on the property but also to provide potential purchasers with a copy of those reports. The bill also contains the following text: “FOR A MORE COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATION OF THE SPECIFIC CONDITION OF THIS PROPERTY, BUYER IS ADVISED TO OBTAIN AND PAY FOR THE SERVICES OF A QUALIFIED SPECIALIST TO INSPECT THE PROPERTY ON BUYER’S BEHALF INCLUDING, FOR EXAMPLE, ONE OR MORE OF THE FOLLOWING: ARCHITECTS, ENGINEERS, PLUMBERS, ELECTRICIANS, ROOFERS, ENVIRONMENTAL INSPECTORS, BUILDING INSPECTORS, CERTIFIED HOME INSPECTORS, OR PEST AND DRY ROT INSPECTORS.”
Our reports are copyrighted information and contain the following paragraph: “This inspection report was prepared for the above-named client only and is a collection of information obtained by this company concerning only the conditions of the components and systems on the day of the inspection. As conditions can and do change, this report may not accurately represent conditions existing at the property at later dates. This report is not a substitute for disclosure required of the seller under state law or other real estate contracts. If any parties other than our client have obtained this report they are hereby made aware that their use of this report is in violation of the contract between this company and our client. The seller may have obtained this report in accordance with a previous contract for the sale of the property to our client; however third parties expressly should not rely on this report or the information contained herein when making their decision to purchase this property. If you are reading this report and you are not our client, you may pay the required fee and contract with this company to do a complete, new inspection of the property with you as our named client, or you may contract with another company and pay for their services. In any case, this inspection company shall not be responsible for the unauthorized use of this report by third parties. Any questions regarding this policy shall be directed to this company.”
The bottom line is two-fold: Conditions can and do change so any information contained in a report that is not current may not accurately represent the current conditions of the property. The other consideration is that if you rely on information contained in a report that you know was not done on your behalf and you are trying to benefit from the services somebody else paid for, then you are not the named client and you have no recourse against the inspection firm if you later believe the report was inaccurate or incomplete. You will be best served by contracting with and paying for the services of your own home inspector.