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Your guide to surveyor negligence

Surveyor looking at a building

If you’ve bought or are seeking to buy a property, your surveyor will play an essential role in the process, and you’ll expect them to perform their duties to the highest possible standard.

Unfortunately, in some circumstances, surveyors can make mistakes as a result of negligence. Perhaps they missed the presence of dry rot within the property, failed to spot a structural problem, or provided an inadequate report to their client. If these negligent actions resulted in financial loss to the client, there’s a strong chance that the client could pursue a claim for professional negligence.

What is professional negligence?

Professional negligence is when a professional fails to perform their duties or responsibilities to the standard that a client could reasonably expect of them. Claimants pursuing these cases will need to prove three criteria in order to win their professional negligence case:

  • That the surveyor had a duty of care to their client
  • That the surveyor breached this duty of care
  • That the survey’s negligence resulted in financial loss to the client

At Your Legal Friend, we understand just how overwhelming it can be to consider a professional negligence claim against your surveyor - especially if you’re still dealing with the repercussions of the surveyor’s negligence. Our expert team of highly experienced professional negligence solicitors will make the process as stress-free as possible and will fight to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

What is the role of a surveyor?

Surveyors play an essential role in buying homes or other property, providing the Homebuyer’s reports and full surveys that not only help potential buyers decide whether to invest in the property or not but also determine whether a mortgage will be made available.

Though many people settle for the Homebuyer’s report, it’s recommended for the vast majority to opt for the more expensive full report, which requires the surveyor to go into greater detail in their examination of the property. They’ll go over the entire structure and surface of the house, providing information about things like dry rot or woodworm, property defects and structural issues that might become a greater problem.

Unfortunately, some surveyors make mistakes, and upon moving into the property, clients notice things that their surveyor should certainly have picked up on. This can mean that purchasers have not only paid over the odds for the property but also have to spend significant sums putting right the problems that the surveyor didn’t notice.  These financial losses would certainly give purchasers the right to pursue a claim against their surveyor.

Professional negligence claims against surveyors

Here are some examples of negligence by surveyors that have resulted in financial loss to the client:

  • The failure to adequately inspect the property
  • The failure to observe visible defects
  • Providing a defective or erroneous report to the client
  • Not making sufficient enquiries
  • Missing dry rot, woodworm or cracking
  • Failure to warn clients of issues that may require investigation

Of course, this is not an exhaustive list, and there are many other ways that a surveyor could be deemed negligent. If you think your surveyor fits the bill, and you can prove that you lost out financially as a result, we could help you bring a claim against the surveyor in question.

The consequences of surveyor negligence

The most common consequence of a surveyor’s negligence is a financial loss to the client. For example, a surveyor may have failed to advise the client that their property was made of a material that prevented the client obtaining a mortgage . Over-valuations mean that clients take on larger loans that they don’t need. In other instances, the surveyor has negligently undervalued a property as part of a divorce settlement, leaving one party significantly out of pocket.

But of course, these are just the financial repercussions of negligence. If a surveyor fails to spot a structural issue or a defect within a property, there could also be significant health and safety consequences that could leave someone seriously injured or the property inhabitable.

Making a claim against your surveyor

At Your Legal Friend, we have the skills and experience to help you pursue a successful professional negligence claim. So that we can represent you effectively, we’ll need to know the following things:

  • Who was your surveyor or valuer?
  • What was the professional instructed to do?
  • Who do you believe the professional was negligent?
  • What is the value of the loss you’ve incurred as a result?

We’ll also need access to your initial survey report, as well as any other documents that may relate to your agreement with the surveyor or valuer.

Once you’ve supplied us with these details, we can start investigating the case and advising you on your next steps. Most surveyors have professional indemnity insurance which will ensure you recover the full amount from them when you win your case.

In certain cases, we might discover that the surveyor’s actions, while careless, don’t amount to negligence. In this circumstance, we can help with making a claim against the relevant regulatory body, who will be able to take the complaint further.

Time limitations

  • Professional negligence claims must be brought within six years of the day on which the negligent act occurred. If you haven’t brought a claim by this deadline, you will be unable to do so.
  • Sometimes, claimants aren’t actually aware of the negligence when it first occurs, and so the first rule would be unfair to these people. In this instance, the claimant would have three years from the date of discovering the negligence to bring their claim to court.

How Your Legal Friend can help

We know that the prospect of taking a surveyor to court can be daunting. But our experienced team of professional negligence solicitors has the skills and experience to ensure your surveyor is held to account.  We’ll act quickly and provide you with sympathetic, practical, jargon-free advice to help you secure the compensation you deserve.

Throughout your claim, Your Legal Friend will help you every step of the way

  • Specialist team of professional negligence solicitors
  • A wealth of knowledge and expertise
  • Advice, support and guidance throughout your claim
  • Over 30 years’ experience in personal injury compensation