RAL TREC AFCI Statement
Texas Home Inspections and Arc-fault Circuit Interrupting Devices:
Texas home inspectors are required to complete inspections in compliance with standards of
practice set forth by the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC). TREC established inspection
forms as well as detailed inspection and reporting requirements. It is important to note that a
home inspection per TREC standards of practice (or per Employee Relocation Council (ERC)
inspection guidelines) is not a building “code-compliant” inspection.
The lack of arc-fault circuit interrupting (AFCI) devices is an issue that often arises on the TREC
report. Per TREC requirements a home inspector shall report “the lack of arc-fault circuit
interrupting devices serving family rooms, dining rooms, living rooms, parlors, libraries, dens,
bedrooms, sunrooms, recreation rooms, closets, hallways, or similar rooms or areas” as
“Deficient”. While this safety upgrade issue may be a building code requirement on newer homes
in some Texas municipalities, in most instances the building codes do not mandate retrofitting
existing homes. However, TREC wanted consumers to be informed of this issue.
TREC issued a Consumer Notice Concerning Hazards or Deficiencies (OP-1) dated 10/27/08.
The TREC Notice explains the inspectors are required to report “deficiencies” such as missing
AFCI devices. The TREC Notice states, “These conditions may not have violated building codes
or common practices at the time of construction of the home, or they may have been
“grandfathered” because they were present prior to the adoption of codes prohibiting such
conditions”. The TREC Notice also states, “Neither the Standards of Practice nor the TREC
contract forms requires a seller to remedy conditions revealed by an inspection. The decision to
correct a hazard or any deficiency identified in an inspection report is left to the parties to the
contract for the sale or purchase of the home”. In other words, issues identified on a TREC
inspection report are negotiable items to be resolved between the seller and buyer.
RAL’s understanding of the general practice in the Texas residential real estate industry is that
sellers rarely agree to or are required by buyers to install AFCI devices in their homes. The cost
to retrofit a home with AFCI devices as a safety upgrade can cost several hundreds or thousands
of dollars. Since the lack of AFCI devices may not violate past or current building codes, sellers
and buyers typically negotiate and agree that the seller will not be responsible for the installation
of AFCI devices.
RAL Inspection Services 10/4/11
The above is RAL’s interpretation of the TREC reporting requirements and general practices in
Texas and should not be relied upon as legal advice regarding inspection and/or real estate
transaction issues. RAL recommends you consult the appropriate legal counsel and/or building
authorities for advice.