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surveyor negligence frequently asked questions

Some of the most common issues people discover after they have purchased their property include:
  • Asbestos
  • Uneven flooring
  • Warped ceilings
  • Damp and rot
  • Wall tie failure
  • Subsidence
  • Presence of harmful plants such as Japanese Knotweed
Generally, a surveyor’s report will form the basis of the property transfer, as well as any legalities that may arise. Whilst surveyors are given some margin for error, because of fluctuating house prices and undetectable issues, when they fail to exercise the necessary competence, this may give rise to a negligence claim. Not only may negligent property valuations render the client at a financial loss, but a serious problem with a property may put residents in danger. An example of a surveyor being negligent in their report would be if they understate a serious issue such as rot or damp as they have incentives, such as being awarded commission on the sale of the house, to do so. If the house’s valuation falls upon the revelation of the problem, then the homeowner will be in a financially burdensome position.
It is often difficult to assess damages in cases of building surveyor negligence, due to the fluctuations in the property market meaning that naturally, house prices do alter after you have purchased them. In addition to this, it can be hard to show that a buyer would not have gone forward with the sale of a property had the issue been raised in the surveyor’s report.
To make a compensation claim for surveyor negligence, you must take legal action within 6 years from the date on which the negligence occurred, or within 3 years from the date you first become aware of the negligence. In some cases, there is a delay between when the negligence happened and when the consequences of the negligence became apparent, for example with structural damage that takes several years to show itself. In these circumstances, you would likely have 3 years from your date of knowledge to bring a claim (or when you should have known).
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