To prove a claim for surveyor’s professional negligence it is necessary to show that there exists a duty of care between the parties and to show that the surveyor’s behaviour has fallen below a reasonable standard, leading directly to financial loss. If you have not suffered a loss you will have no claim.
The most common court actions for surveyor’s professional negligence relates to property surveys and valuations which either fail to disclose defects that are expensive to resolve or valuations which are either too high or low.
Some of the most common examples of surveyor’s professional negligence are:
- failing to inspect the property properly
- failing to observe obvious visible defects in the property
- failing to make sufficient enquiries
- producing an inadequate or defective report
- failing to warn of items require further investigation
- failing to correctly value the property
If the surveyor has been negligent in failing to identify a defective property the courts may only award the difference in value between a property in fair condition and the defective property rather than the actual cost of rectifying the defect.
In respect of valuations the courts except that valuations are not an exact science and two surveyors may produce different valuations. The courts assess valuations on the basis of how a competent surveyor would have valued a property. As such there is some latitude when it comes to valuations.
As a general rule the courts have allowed a margin of error for valuations:
For a standard residential property as low as plus or minus 5%
For a “one-off” property, plus or minus 10%
For a property with “exceptional features”, plus or minus 15%, or, potentially, even higher in an appropriate case
If you consider that your surveyor has provided you with a survey or valuation which falls below the required standard and you have suffered loss you may be entitled to compensation.
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