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Talking about TISH (and I/I)

Let’s take a moment to think about TISH reports, shall we? What is a TISH report? A TISH (Truth in Sale of Housing) report is simply a summary of a visual overview of a house and its fixtures. This report serves as a disclosure for the home and must be completed before the home is listed for sale. Current cites that require TISH inspections are Bloomington, Golden Valley, Hopkins, Maplewood, Minneapolis, New Hope, Richfield, Robbinsdale, St. Louis Park, and St. Paul. Contact one of these local municipal offices for more information. Another great place to find information on TISH is your Twin Cities’ inspectors’ websites.

TISH inspections are completed by licensed TISH evaluators that are hired through the city. Now for the big question: Why are TISH evaluations required? A TISH evaluation ensures that a quality home is being put on the market. It protects buyers looking for homes in a TISH city. TISH reports measure a houses structure and systems against the basic benchmarks of a property that is safe for occupancy.

“About one-third of the 124 million houses in the U.S. were built before 1960 and are thus now more than 50 years old, according to a 2005 survey by the U.S. Census Bureau.”

(Bankrate, Marcie Geffner, Jan. 22, 2010)

So, that statistic is 13 years old. The existing houses have not gotten any younger. The average plumbing system lasts 40-80 years. Electrical wiring can last over 100 years, but the insulation protecting those wires does not. Stucco is good for about 60 years while brick can last much longer. An air conditioning system may last 15-20 years before it needs to be replaced. My point is that things fall apart. TISH evaluations provide a check on crumbling infrastructure, failing systems, or structures that have reached the end of their life.

It’s not just TISH evaluations anymore, however. We now have I/I inspections. On January 1, 2017 the city of West St. Paul began requiring I/I (Inflow and Infiltration) inspections to ensure that the city’s sewer infrastructure is not overloaded by clear water drainage. Clear water drainage is defined as waste water that contains no contaminants or pollutants that could be harmful for people, plants, or animals. Some examples include precipitation run off from roofs, eave troughs, and downspouts, as well as yard drains, ponds, sump pumps, and many other examples. Yes, sump pumps. The city now requires a permit to allow drainage from a sump pump to introduced into the city sewer system.* *(West St. Paul Ordinance 17-08)

Why is the city worried about the overflow of clear water drainage in to the sewer system? “Overflow occurrences put public health at risk and violate state and federal environmental regulations. Sanitary sewer overflows release wastewater and potential pathogens onto streets, into waterways, and basements increasing potential health risks.”

(Global Water, 2011)

When working with a buyer, check if their prospective city has TISH requirements and look for these evaluations when showing properties. Working with seller? Let them know that repairs may be required if they live in a TISH city. As more cities look to relieve pressure on their aging sewer systems as well, look for more I/I required evaluations on the horizon.

Knowledge is power. Do your research and help your clients navigate municipal requirements and inspections.

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