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Illegal or just unethical?

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4 years before the property was repossessed it was valued at 580k by an RICS Surveyor and the price was in line with properties in the local area. During that 4 year period the property remained the same and was not altered and did not suffer structurally etc and in the local area for the same type of home increased in value by approx 24%.

 

After the repossession 2 RICS Surveyors were separately instructed by the mortgage company to value the property. They came with very different figures from each other and the original survey 4 years prior at £510k and £450k. But these figures were again altered (I had no idea this had taken place until the SAR request) The mortgage company’s agent had contacted one of the Surveyors via email with the following conversation

 

Subject – Urgent Valuers comments required

Good Morning …………

Further to your recent valuation carried out on the above property. Our Corporate Client has asked us to write to you for your comments.

The results of the survey show an 11.7% differential between the two recommended asking prices, a 13.3% differential between the two market value figures and a 19.4% differential between the PMV’S As you can appreciate , this is quite a difference. Our Client requires there to be no more than 10% differential between these figures. I would be grateful if you could contact (the other surveyor’s name and company was then given) and come to some sort of compromise – The number is ……….. Please reply to us by email – should you require further info or assistance please contact me –

 

Later that day the surveyors sent back emails with revised figures

 

Subject Re- Urgent Valuers Comments required

Hello – Just spoken to ……….

Revised figures mine are listed first

Asking £485,000

MV £475,000

PMV £455,000

 

Asking: - £450,000

MV: - £440,000

PMV: - £420,000

 

Regards

 

There was a discrepancy in the measurements taken in each survey – one measured the gross external floor area of main building 160 Sq .M and the other at 151 Sq .M

 

 

Is this normal for Mortgage companies to ask surveyors to alter their figures this way and is it legal/ethical/fair practise etc?

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The spread on property valuations is a joke imo, I come from a financial background where valuations are to the pence. Estate agents on the other hand just use the last pproperty sold on the same street and try and add min of 20%, or they look at land registry and add on 20% or whatever they feel they can get away with.

 

I personally feel that the industry is a joke and needs more serious regulation.

 

Is it ethical or fair? Well that is a subjective question but personally I feel it is neither.

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Well I think that that is a pretty shocking request that they have made and also pretty shocking that the two surveyors – apparently independent of the client and also independent of each other should have a dialogue and then adjust their figures to suit their clients request.

 

I can't tell you whether it is normal for this sort of thing to happen but I certainly believe that it is improper and also that it was unethical for the surveyors to cooperate.

 

Well done on finding out. What was the eventual sale price of the property?

 

I think that I would start off by finding out to which professional associations the surveyors belong and then I would make a casual discreet enquiry from the Association as to whether this kind of behaviour is acceptable. You might find some information on their website is to codes of conduct et cetera.

 

I wonder whether these surveyors have your name on their files. If they do, then they would be required to provide you with the disclosure if you submitted an SAR to each of them. Of course, they may not know you as the owner – but you never know, they might do.

 

Eventually, I think that I would be making a complaint to the ombudsman and also to the surveyors professional Association. Ultimately, you may think about bringing a legal action under MCOBS by which the mortgage company is obliged to treat you fairly. The only problem here is that I expect that you would be suing for a sum well in excess of the small claims limit and that would put you at risk of costs if you lost.


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The spread on property valuations is a joke imo, I come from a financial background where valuations are to the pence. Estate agents on the other hand just use the last pproperty sold on the same street and try and add min of 20%, or they look at land registry and add on 20% or whatever they feel they can get away with.

 

I personally feel that the industry is a joke and needs more serious regulation.

 

Is it ethical or fair? Well that is a subjective question but personally I feel it is neither.

 

Unethical behaviour would be from RICS surveyors and mortgage company employee.

 

Suggest you see what information you can get from RICS and in regard to mortgage company, have a look at Council for mortgage lender handbook rules.


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Then if they deliberately undervalued your house to screw you, that opens the debate about hardcore business or fraud.

To be clear, if they repossess and you have £50k equity with a £200k mortgage, they won't care to get £250k from the house.

As long as they get their £200k they'll be ok.

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I asked a contact of mine who is very knowledgeable about these kind of things to pop in and have a look.

 

The comment I received gave me a new perspective.

 

Although the behaviour of the mortgage company and of the surveyors seems to be reprehensible, how might their actions have affected the final resale price? If the house then went for sale by auction, then the final bid, presumably, would have been whatever was the best obtainable on that day in a competitive market.

 

Do you have any other information to show that the collusion between the three parties has in some way skewed the final sale price?


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Id have a look on the land registry myself ..... personally and see what sales have occured on the same street over 12 months before and after auction. Id see if there is a significant difference between your property price and other similar properties?

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I know of someone who has just had their property over valued by the DWP, (despite having provided a bona fide valuation carried out by a RICS which states a negative equity). This apparently in order to deprive them of pension credit by stating that this penniless person has 'assets'... It goes on everywhere. TB

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massive overvaluation on property for council tax purposes back in the 1990's The estate agent who valued my street didnt even exist as a company!

As for the valuers/surveyors, they are on a panel and if they dont "reconsider things carefully" when asked to they dont get any more work from the lender. They get paid £100-1000 according to how much work involved for their troubles with no comeback

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