We advise all of our clients to get a gas company inspection directly from the gas company that provides gas service to the home. We feel this is important for a number of reasons:
- If the home does not pass inspection, the gas company could shut off service;
- Some localities may not allow you to obtain an occupancy permit without passing a gas inspection;
- Gas issues are almost always safety issues, and should be addressed before the closing date;
- Litigation over gas issues can be extremely time consuming and expensive.
One of the most common standard sale contracts we see in St. Louis County, Missouri, used to include a paragraph obligating the Seller to obtain a passing Laclede Gas Company inspection no later than closing. This obligation has recently been removed from the standard contract. So when working with home purchasers, we always add this language back into the contract, obligating the Seller to obtain a passing gas inspection.
Be aware, however, that because it is no longer a standard part of the contract, lenders have become accustomed to allowing Buyers to purchase homes without passing a gas inspection.
This leaves Buyers in an unfortunate position of either:
- Obtaining the inspection themselves, but not necessarily having any ability to negotiate over that inspection with the Seller;
- Forgoing the gas inspection, even though it may be a safety issue or lead to future litigation; or
- Getting the inspection, but risking the home does not pass. In this situation the lender may refuse to close until the inspection is passed, even if the cause of the failure was not a safety issue. This will result in a potential delay to closing.
Despite these risks, due to the dangers to Buyer stated above, we continue to advise our clients to make it the Seller’s obligation to obtain a passing gas inspection, prior to closing.