Buying a house is likely to be one of the most expensive purchases you will make in your lifetime. After traipsing round numerous houses you find the right one, it ticks all the boxes, and so you put an offer in on it, get a mortgage in principle and instruct solicitors to act for you in the purchase.
Different types of house survey:
Now if you are buying the property with the aid of a mortgage, your mortgagor will instruct a surveyor to conduct a valuation report on the property (mortgage survey). A valuation report merely states whether the surveyor believes that the property is worth what you are buying it for. Now, if you are anything like me you may want to instruct a surveyor to look round the property and report on whether there are any defects in the property, i.e. damp or subsidence and whether there are likely to be any ongoing maintenance costs. This is a Home Buyer Report. Above this you can obtain a building survey which also includes an in-depth analysis of the condition of the property. This is normally recommended for older properties or properties to which you are planning on doing a lot of work.
So you obtain a house survey, it comes back clean, but hang on, you find a problem shortly after moving in. One of our property partners Jeffrey Myers recently spoke on BBC Radio Leeds about a situation a client of his had many years ago where she had a survey in which it categorically stated that there was no cellar, to find out shortly after moving in that in fact there was a cellar which was flooded with 4-5 feet of water. What can you do if you find a similar problem after instructing a surveyor to survey your property?
You might be thinking that you have just wasted your money in instructing the surveyor in the first place, but if that surveyor is deemed to be negligent when compared to the standard of a reasonably competent surveyor, you may have a claim against the surveyor for professional negligence. Professional surveyors are obliged to have professional indemnity insurance to cover them against any professional claims and therefore if you are successful in your claim then you are entitled to claim for professional negligence compensation for the loss you have suffered which can include any costs to rectify the issue(s).
BBC Leeds property expert’s legal hour podcast: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02z6rzl#play