Cowboy Surveyors - also posted on Legal(15 Posts)
We had a full building survey done on the house we now own before we bought it. It's a 4 bed 100 yr old Victorian house so we thought we'd spend the money on the real deal. It cost about £800. The surveyor's were on the banks list of recomendations and are members of RICS. The house was completely empty when the survey was done (as it had just been done up by developers) so they could see everything easily.
The survey was duly done and came back saying there was a tiny amount of work to be done to the front of the house but otherwise it was perfect. Plasterwork - perfect, flooring - perfect, everything - perfect. We were thrilled and didn't negotiate further on the price. Moved in a couple of months later and slowly but surely realised the survey hadn't mentioned lots of stuff - huge cracks in lots of the walls; really shoddy plasterwork all over the place(some of which has deteriorated since); a wall taken out which wasn't mentioned in the survey so we don't know if it was done properly; a window left open behind the build in kitchen cabinets - easy access for rodents but serves no purpose as it is behind the built ins so you can't even see it from inside; unsealed pipes leading from the plumbing outside; evidence of a fire in the loft which wasn't commented on, brickwork missing in the cellar etc etc etc. It all sounds fairly minor but the fact that none of it was mentioned makes us concerned as to what else they've missed. (Also, time we should have been spending making the place look nice since we moved in has been spent trying to fix up all these shoddy jobs which weren't remarked upon )
We complained to the head of the surveyor firm and he came out and had a look around. He agreed the survey wasn't up to scratch, said the surveyor in question no longer worked for them and that they'd had other problems with his work. In the end they offered to refund us the money we spent on the survey and do a new report for free. This sounds ok, my concern is whether they would then be off the hook in terms of compensation if something major came to light in the future, because they had refunded the initial cost? Also, of course, we have no guarantee that they'll do a proper job this time round, as it is hardly in their interest to show up something major that one of their employees missed a year ago. (of course I am also peed off as had we known all these problems we could have negotiated the purchase price down, but that's water under the bridge now).
If anyone has made it this far - thank you. Any advice welcome.
BTW I have been in touch with RICS for advice but they (helpfully - NOT) won't comment.
Do I need to cough up and go get legal advice on this or does nayone in MNworld know the score?
thanks Pamina - will check that out
gosh - yours was pricey. I hope it was a lot more comprehensive than ours...
My friend had a big rpoblem with dry and wet rot which the surveyeor had missed when she bought her house. Managed to sue and get thousands that went towards corrective work. Not sur eof the details though of how she managed it but do know she had a solicitor acting for her.
Doesn't sound right to me. I thought surveyors had PI insurance to cover this kind of thing and also as Pamina said, that the survey should come with some kind of guarantee. Definitely wouldn't accept the companies offer of redoing the survey. Dh trained as a chartered surveyor and is still a member although no longer works as one - and never did residential anyway but I will ask him. Might be tomorrow as he will have a late flight tonight. Can't believe the RICS were not helpful either!
Janeybops - would defo have a solicitor involved if there were anything major we wanted to have sorted out at this stage.
I suppose my question (which was a bit lost in the mire of my long post) was whether we would be exonerating them from any further liability by accepting the offer of the cost back. Whatever about getting them to do another survey. Indeed if they did give the money backwe'd probably just spend it on getting a survey done by another company anyway, to put our minds at rest.
AnnH - would really appreciate it if you could ask your DH for his opinion. Cheers.
Irishbird - posts crossed.
Sound advice - as I said in my last post we'd prob spend the money on an impartial survey anyway.
So you think saying in writing that our acceptance of their offer is without prejudice should suffice? That sounds fairly reasonable to me. And if they feel otherwise it would be up to them to make it clear at that stage.
Irishbird - you sound very sensible (luckily for me)
thank you for your advice
p.s. are you actually Irish? I'm from Cork
Aha, DH is from Belfast. We're in London now.
Nice to "meet" you
MP, just wanted to say dh's flight was delayed by at least an hour and earliest he will be home is 11, probably later so won't be able to get a sensible answer out of him until tomorrow.
no worries AnnH
look forward to hearing his thoughts
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