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Section 75 Claim for sub-standard building survey?


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Hi

 

Brief background. I paid just over £1k via credit card for a building survey on a house I'm in the process of buying. The survey I received contains several errors, contradictions, and omissions. I've approached the surveyor and their regulatory body with little success.

 

Would it be worth putting in a Section 75 claim, or is this something that would be rejected. If it was possible, instead of paying of the card as I usually do, should I dispute the payment first before submitting the S75 paperwork?

 

Many thanks in advance

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Hi TT and welcome to CAG

 

Can you tell us, in short bullet points, the nature of the errors, contradictions and  omissions.

 

Was this just a valuation survey needed by the lender, a full structural survey commissioned by you, or something in between.

 

Pay the credit card monthly bill as normal. Do not withhold any payment.

 

If you get no joy from complaints to the surveyor and/or regulatory body, you can lodge a s.75 claim to your card provider. They will then start the process of considering the dispute.

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To add to the above, I think you are going to find it very difficult to challenge something like survey which to a certain extent is going to be a statement of opinion.

In order to challenge it, you're going to have to get a corroborative opinion which means getting someone else to assess the property, assesses the survey report which you have received and to tell you whether or not it is flawed in the way that you think.
I don't see any other way to do it. More complicated than that – if you do find that an independent evaluation of your report confirms your view that it is of poor quality, then probably you will need to get a second view as well.
These independent assessments won't come for free and you may well find that you are having to pay the same amount again and again. Also, I can imagine that independent experts may be rather loathe to start contradicting fellow professionals.

In terms of not paying off your credit card, you are getting into a very sticky position because the credit card company will turn on you and rapidly blight your credit file and turn it into a debt collection process. This means that you will find yourself in conflict not only with the surveyor, but also with your credit card company.

If you want to do this, then you should pay off the credit card company so that there is no issue on that score and then get the necessary evidence before mounting a challenge.

If you do any other way, you're going to find yourself with an accumulating assortment of problems which you will find it very difficult to deal with

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Posted (edited)

First thing to check : was this a full survey for your benefit, or a more limited survey (that you still paid for as part of obtaining a mortgage, but was for the benefit of the mortgage company / a ‘valuation survey’).

 

If the latter, even more reason your complaint will be difficult to follow up ……

 

I’ve just noticed that Slick has already mentioned this, but it is worth asking again, on its own

Edited by BazzaS
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For a grand this will have been a full structural survey pretty much, mortgage valuation surveys are usually 250 to 300, a home buyers would be circa 500 and AFAIK the next survey would be upwards of 900.

 

IMHO you've paid for a service, if you're not happy with it then you've grounds for complaint and feasibly a refund, which survey company was this and what does their T&C's state?

Who ever heard of someone getting a job at the Jobcentre? The unemployed are sent there as penance for their sins, not to help them find work!

 

 

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Lots of good advice here, thank you.

 

The survey was a RICs 3 full building survey commissioned by me.

 

The report omitted to note and comment or several steel support bars going through three of the outside walls that formed part of the structure.

I asked that several areas with damp patches be investigated, but no mention was made in the report.

I did not receive any ‘Terms of Engagement’, although I’m not sure if that would have much impact. I only found out afterwards that I should have.

Structural areas are noted in one section of the report as of no concern, then in an another as cause of concern.

 

The above is just a handful of many such examples. However, I assumed this could be a long and costly exercise has BankFodder suggests. If it involves more expense, then I would need to walk away before a £1k loss becomes a £3k loss. Not to mention all the stress and time it would take.

 

 

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Are you still purchasing the property?

 

Who were the surveyors please?

 

Have you made them aware that you're not happy with the report/survey that's been carried out?

 

Complain about your chartered surveyor.

Who ever heard of someone getting a job at the Jobcentre? The unemployed are sent there as penance for their sins, not to help them find work!

 

 

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32 minutes ago, Bazooka Boo said:

Are you still purchasing the property?

 

Who were the surveyors please?

 

Have you made them aware that you're not happy with the report/survey that's been carried out?

 

Complain about your chartered surveyor.

 

I had hoped the survey would provide me with guidance on progressing with the purchase, instead its clouded the issue further. I will likely walk away and put the financial loss (conveyancing and survey costs) down to experience. I’d rather not say who the surveyor is at this stage, except to say it’s a local company, not a nationwide setup. I have contacted the surveyor, and their regulatory body without any success; however,  I’m still persisting through their channels.

 

To answer your earlier question regarding T&Cs. Prior to engaging the surveyor you’re supposed to receive a signed ‘Terms of Engagement’ which outlines the agreed process. However, this can be circumvented by sending a generalised unsigned 'copy and paste' document which is what I received. It 'may' not best practice (unsure), but I doubt it helps me in anyway.

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, TerryTubbie said:

 

I had hoped the survey would provide me with guidance on progressing with the purchase, instead its clouded the issue further...

 

 

Does that mean you have not yet decided whether to buy or not?

 

If the problems you see with the report have made the decision whether to buy or not to buy more difficult rather than less difficult, can't you just go back to the surveyor with a list of the issues you need to have clarified - especially those where you specifically asked for an opinion and which they have not addressed?

 

Just have a frank discussion of those areas that need clarification.  eg "One of the areas I particularly wanted you to report on, and asked you to do so,  was damp, but your report doesn't address this at all", and "Here on page nn you say XYZ is not a concern, but here on page nnn you say it is a concern.  What am I meant to make of that?".  I'd have thought that if confronted with an approach like that that they'd be so embarrassed as to fall over themselves to put it right for you.

 

We don't know what their T&Cs are and what they seek to exclude, but if you had made it clear to them what sort of things you wanted reported on then, even if their T&Cs seek to exclude those areas, they should still have told you prior to agreeing the survey  that they would not cover them - not just relied on you reading their written T&Cs.  (I mean, I may be wrong, but I don't see that you can give them specific instructions to report on something, they then accept the commission, but subsequently rely on standard T&Cs to exclude liability for not doing what was specifically requested!)

 

But if you can't sort it out face to face I'm afraid Bankfodder is right that you'll probably find it very expensive and/or difficult to get another professional to report saying their survey was negligent or inadequate or whatever.

 

(PS - I thought a full structural survey pretty much included everything and nothing was meant to go uncovered - both literally and metaphorically?  I wouldn't expect to have to give any particular instructions and I'd expect everything to be reported on by default - with a full explanation of anything that was not reported on and why.)

Edited by Manxman in exile
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21 hours ago, Manxman in exile said:

can't you just go back to the surveyor with a list of the issues you need to have clarified - 

 

(PS - I thought a full structural survey pretty much included everything and nothing was meant to go uncovered - both literally and metaphorically?  

 

I have no confidence left in the surveyor or his abilities.

 

Surveys are not what they once were.

 

Walking away £1k down is better than months of stress followed by losing another £1k on top. Cutting my losses and walking away is wise advice that I am going to accept and get on with my life. In this case it has paid for me to ask :)

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