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Dear Urban Diplomat: should I confront my brother-in-law over a shoddy home inspection?

Dear Urban Diplomat: My Brothers Keeper

(Image: tamasrepus)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
I hired my wife’s brother, a certified home inspector, to look at a west-end semi. He gave it a full pass, so we bought it. Trouble is, we’ve since discovered a leaky roof, cockroaches in the kitchen and cracks in the foundation. It’ll cost upwards of $20,000 to fix it all. My wife wants me to suck it up and not confront him. What do you suggest?

—My Brother’s Keeper, Runnymede

Think of your situation as punishment for ignoring two maxims. The first: never hire family. Doing so leaves you screwed when things inevitably go wrong. The second: blood runs thick. Your wife’s protective sibling instincts clearly trump her homeowner outrage. If it’s any consolation, even if you’d hired a non-family inspector, you’d still be left with no recourse short of a civil lawsuit, since there’s no licensing body or complaint process. The Ministry of Consumer Affairs has commissioned a review of the industry, and the results are due sometime this year. In the meantime, make the case to your wife that her brother should at least know what he missed. You won’t get your $20,000 back, but his guilty conscience may spur him to volunteer when it comes to patching that roof.

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