Property Negligence

Investing in a property as a buyer or selling a property as seller will be a large financial transaction. As such, individuals and companies will inevitably rely on the advice from property specialists at different stages of the conveyance- from an architect’s plans to alter or design a building, to surveyors inspecting a property and discovering latent defects affecting your choice to purchase a property, to valuers quantifying the value of the property at the market rate, to licenced conveyancers managing the land transaction from pre to post completion.

Mistakes made by professionals in the property industry such as surveyors, architects, valuers, conveyancers and builders can lead to serious financial loss. Professional indemnity insurers will often instruct a specialist City of London law firm to defend claims vigorously and therefore it is essential to take legal advice at the outset from our expert professional negligence team.

Complaint against a surveyor, architect, valuer or coveyancer?

Property experts such as surveyors are highly trained and regulated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). The RICS holds itself out as promoting and enforcing the highest international standards across the built and natural environment.

Conveyancers, if they are legally trained, will be regulated by the Solicitor’s Regulation Authority (SRA).  

In order to bring a complaint against a property expert, then you must prove that the professional fell below the standard of care.

How do I prove that my surveyor, conveyancer, architect or valuer has been negligent?

Like all negligence actions, in order to claim compensation, the following three elements need to be made out by a claimant to prove the tort of negligence:

  1. Duty of care – The defendant owed the claimant a duty not to cause the type of harm suffered.
  2. Breach of duty – The defendant breached the duty owed.
  3. Causation – This has two elements, both of which must be proved ie (a) factual causation in that the claimant must prove, but for the defendant’s negligence, they would not have suffered loss and (b) legal causation or remoteness in that the defendant’s negligence was the legal cause of loss.

Common examples of negligence by a professional in the property industry

  • Failing to provide an accurate surveyor inspection report: for example failure to discover defects like dry rot, woodworm, a leak or subsidence issues affecting the structure of the property.
  • Over-valuing a property: if a valuation report transpires to be over-valued and you have purchased the property at above the market rate, then you may have a claim for damages against the surveyor.
  • Burdens affecting the property such as rights of way or restrictive covenants not being investigated or warned about.
  • Failing to ensure building regulations consent, listed building consent, conservation area consent, planning permissions have been provided before exchange of contracts or completion.
  • Incorrect budget planning, for example in Riva Properties Ltd and others v Foster + Partners Ltd[2017] EWHC 2574 (TCC), the court held that the architect firm failed to identify key constraints for the project.
  • Poor or incorrect building design advice by an architect.

Book an Initial Consultation with our Professional Negligence Lawyers

Do you have a claim against a professional? If you want expert legal advice, do not delay in instructing us so we can assess the legal merit of your case.

We can often take on such claims on a no win no fee basis (such as a Conditional Fee Arrangement) once we have discussed the claim with you and then assessed and advised you on the merits of the proposed professional negligence action.

Our expert legal team of leading Professional Negligence Solicitors & Barristers can provide urgent help, advice or representation to you. Just call our Professional Negligence Lawyers on 02071830529 or email us now.

Instruct Specialist Professional Negligence Solicitors

We are a specialist City of London law firm made up of Solicitors & Barristers operating from the only law firm based in the Middle Temple Inns of Court adjacent to the Royal Courts of Justice. Our team have expertise in advising on claims for compensation against professionals that have fallen below the standard expected, which causes clients financial or personal loss. We are experienced in bringing successful claims against negligent solicitors, barristers, financial advisers, surveyors, valuers, architects, tax advisers and IFAs.

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