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Professional negligence claim against a surveyor

Professional negligence occurs when a professional, such as a surveyor, does not perform their responsibilities to the required and reasonably expected standard which consequently results in you suffering a loss.

  • Did your surveyor fail to take into account changing market conditions when valuing your property?
  • Did your surveyor fail to note apparent defects in the property?
  • Was your property over-valued?
  • Did the valuation fail to take into account factors that would be noticed by a competent professional?
  • Were the planning procedures not followed?

If an answer to any of the above is “yes”, you might wish to consider speaking to one of our solicitors about a potential professional negligence claim.

If you have suffered a loss as a result of the negligence of your surveyor then contact us today. Our lawyers can advise you on whether you have a claim and we will help you to recover any losses you may have incurred.

How to establish surveyor negligence

A professional negligence claim can be pursued as a contractual claim, a tortious claim, or a statutory claim.

Most commonly a professional negligence claim arises as a result of a professional’s breach of contractual duties and/or tortious duties. We will discuss these two duties further below.

Contractual duties:

In order to be successful in proving a surveyor has breached their contractual duties to you, you would need to be able to show that you had entered into a contractual arrangement with that surveyor and that they have breached the terms of the contract.

Tortious duties:

Regardless of whether the surveyor has contractual duties to you, they may well have also had tortious duties. By that we mean that the surveyor may have had a duty of care to you and may have breached that duty.

To succeed in an action for negligence against a surveyor, you need to establish that:

  • The surveyor owed a duty to you (contractual and/or tortious).
  • The surveyor breached the duty owed to you.
  • The surveyor’s breach of duty caused you to suffer loss.

What are the time limits for surveyor negligence claims?

Typically, you can bring a negligence claim against a surveyor within:

  • six years from the time of breach of the contract
  • six years from the time you suffer damage as a result of the surveyor’s negligence

In tortious claims, it is also possible to pursue a claim within three years from your date of knowledge, i.e. the date when you started to suspect that the surveyor might have done something wrong.

There are some exceptions to the general rule.

What is an example of a surveyor negligence claim?

The case of Large v Hart and another [2021] EWCA Civ 24 is a clear example of when a surveyor was found to be negligent.

This Court of Appeal case involved Mr and Mrs Hart, who bought a property worth approx. £1.2 million having received a RICS report from a surveyor, Mr Large. Within his report, Mr Hart gave the property “a generally clean bill of health”.

The property was rebuilt between 2009-2011. Prior to the purchase of the property by the Harts, some concerns were raised in relation to the general quality of rebuilding works.

The Harts’ and Mr Large discussed the possibility of obtaining a Professional Consultancy Certificate (“PCC”) but Mr Large did not include a recommendation within his report to obtain a PCC, nor did he formally advise the Harts to do so.

It later transpired that the rebuilding works were performed so badly that the only solution was for the property to be demolished and reconstructed. Had the Harts’ obtained a PCC the cost of the demolition and reconstruction would likely have been covered by the PCC policy.

He advised in his correspondence to Mr and Mrs Hart that the PCC should have been sought.

Mr Large was found negligent in failing to recommend in his Report that a PCC should be sought and was found to be liable for Mr & Mrs Harts’ losses.

If you have suffered a loss as a result of the negligence of your surveyor then contact us today. Our lawyers can advise you on whether you have a claim and we will help you to recover any losses you may have incurred.

Key contact

Richard is a Partner and an elected partner on the firm’s board of management.  He is also Group Head of the ever expanding dispute resolution team at Hugh James. He conducts major commercial disputes frequently with an international flavour including commercial claims, mining disputes, shareholder and partnership disputes, professional negligence claims, contentious IT disputes, injunctive relief and insolvency.

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