Surveyor Negligence

Mistakes made by professionals in the property industry such as surveyors, chartered surveyors and quantity surveyors 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 about a RICS surveyor or valuer? Incorrect survey report? Failure to identify defects at the property? Failure to identify subsidence issue? Over-valuation of property by valuation expert?

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 much compensation can I get if my RICS surveyor has been negligent?

If it can be proved that the surveyor owed a duty of care, the surveyor by act or omission breached this duty, and the breach caused loss to you, then you have a claim for damages. The courts usually measure damages in a surveyor’s negligence case as the difference between the price paid by the buyer of the property and what the market value of the property actually was.

Examples of Surveyor Negligence

The following are examples of cases where a surveyor has fallen below the standard of care:

  • Failure to inspect a property accurately: for example a surveyor may fail to discover latent defects such as dry rot, woodworm, a leak or defects in the underlying structure of the property.
  • Failure to identify a subsidence issue: if a survey report is requested then the identification of subsidence is a key aspect of the report. If it can be shown that a surveyor exercising the due care and skill expected in the profession would have discovered the issue and the property would not have been purchased if the subsidence was known about in the pre-contractual searches stage, then you may be able to claim compensation.
  • Over-valuation of 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.

Case studies: Negligence by a Surveyor

Successful claim against chartered surveyor who gave an inaccurate survey report

The claimant in this matter commissioned the chartered surveyor firm to undertake a full building survey of a London flat with gardens, which he had intended to purchase for over £1 million. The surveyors were aware that the claimant was visually impaired and that he would rely heavily on their surveyors report.

The report stated that the surveyor had “no hesitation in recommending [the property] as a worthwhile investment”, following which the claimant bought the property in reliance of the surveyors report. After a year, the claimant’s garden discovered Japanese knotweed (a non-native rapidly growing weed species). The invasion of Japanese knotweed can be a serious issue, and often its presence results in mortgage lenders requesting assurances that it will be eradicated before agreeing to advance any mortgage funds. The claimant was put to the cost of excavating the Japanese knotweed of over £10,000.

The claimant was advised to pursue a claim against the surveyors for the costs of all remediation work and the consequent reduction in value of the property. It was evidenced in court that a reasonably competent surveyor would have identified and reported on the presence of Japenese knotweed in a Level 3 Building survey. What was most damning was the fact that the surveyor would have had to actually push past the knotweed in order to carry out his inspection in the first place!

The claimant achieved the fantastic result of £50,000 in damages (to include the diminution in value of the property).

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 Inn 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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