Discovering that your property is blighted by unexpected problems, or that it is worth significantly less than you paid for it, can be extremely upsetting and worrying. This is particularly true where the bill for putting things right is likely to be high and where the chances of you being able to sell your property on for a profit seem low.

Knowing what to do can be difficult, but where you believe that the situation you find yourself in could have been avoided had a surveyor or valuer commissioned to inspect the property done their job properly, then it could be possible for you to recoup your losses by pursuing a claim for professional negligence.

The eligibility criteria are complex, but in general terms a claim will usually be permissible where a surveyor or valuer has produced an assessment of your property which no other reasonably competent surveyor or valuer would have produced and where this has resulted in you suffering some sort of quantifiable financial harm, whether that be through paying more for the property than it was worth or being coaxed into proceeding with a purchase which you would otherwise have abandoned.

How we can help

Our experienced team of professional negligence solicitors can help you to claim the compensation you deserve where a surveyor or valuer has let you down. They can assist in a variety of circumstances, including where negligence is alleged to have occurred because a surveyor or valuer has:

  • carried out a more basic survey than the one you commissioned, giving you a false sense of security about the condition of a property or the wisdom of
    committing to a proposed purchase;
  • provided an over-inflated property valuation, resulting in you paying significantly over the odds and with no prospect of the market catching up;
  • failed to spot a serious problem with the property which ought to have been obvious from a visual examination, such as the tell-tale signs of structural
    movement, subsidence, rising damp, dry rot, woodworm, an untreated leak or even a poorly built extension;
  • failed to spot the existence of a commonly encountered hazardous substance, such as asbestos;
  • failed to spot the existence of a commonly encountered invasive plant, such as Japanese knotweed; or
  • failed to highlight the need for further investigations or the commissioning of a more in-depth review.

We can assist whether the instructions to inspect the property came from you or your mortgage lender, whether the report commissioned was a basic condition report, a mortgage valuation, a homebuyer report on an in-depth full survey or house survey, and whether the need for professional input arose in the context of a property purchase, a remortgage or an extensive renovation project in which you needed advanced confirmation that your plans would not result in there being insufficient support for the structure of the house you were planning to overhaul.

Time limit

While our team of specialist lawyers will do all that they can to deal with your case as quickly as possible, it is important that you seek legal advice as soon as you can in order to avoid falling foul of rules which will prevent you from pursuing a surveyors negligence claim unless you start the process of seeking compensation within a set time frame.

These rules are known as the rules of limitation and broadly provide that in most cases a claim must be issued within six years of the negligent survey or valuation being carried out or within six years of the financial loss complained about being suffered, where the existence of such loss is not immediately apparent. However, there is an exception to this rule which may allow you to bring a claim beyond this period provided it is brought within three years of you becoming aware that grounds for bringing a claim were likely to exist. This though, together with the preceding rule, are subject to an absolute time limit which means that no claim can be pursued where more than 15 years have passed since the allegedly negligent survey or valuation was undertaken.

Compensation amount

Calculating compensation in a professional negligence case can be difficult, which is why expert legal advice should always be sought.

Broadly, the aim will be to put you in the position that you would have been in had the negligence not occurred or at least as close to that position as it is possible to get you. So for example, in a claim involving a negligent valuation where you have paid significantly over the odds, it is likely that your compensation will be assessed by reference to the difference between what you paid for the property and what it was worth at the time, i.e. its actual market value. Likewise, in a claim involving a negligent survey report in which the existence of Japanese knotweed was missed, it is likely that your compensation will be assessed by reference to the drop in the value of your home caused by the presence of this highly invasive plant or by reference to the cost of removal and treatment where this can be shown to be a viable and effective option.

Why come to us?

Our professional negligence lawyers understand the difficulties that can be caused when a survey or residential valuation turns out to be wrong and are here to help you secure the compensation that you need to put things right.

We have extensive experience in dealing with claims in which negligence is alleged to have occurred and an impressive track record in achieving prompt settlements on favourable terms and often without the need to take the matter to court.

In most cases we are able to act on a no win, no fee basis and even where this is not possible we can still put together a funding package for you which makes bringing a claim entirely affordable.

On top of this we work hard to ensure that the advice that we provide is clear and straightforward and that it is updated regularly as your claim progresses to ensurethat you always know where you stand.

What next?

To find out more please call us now on 0800 195 6412 to arrange a free, no obligation consultation. Alternatively, you can email us at enquiries@steplegal.co.uk or fill in the call back form on the Step Legal Solicitors website homepage, which you can access here.

We can help wherever you are based in England and Wales and particularly where you live in an area local to our offices, such as Crewe, Northwich, Nantwich, Macclesfield, Sandbach, Newcastle-under-Lyme or Stoke-on-Trent.