Surveyors are legally required to carry out their duties in a way that meets the standard of a ‘reasonably competent surveyor’ – that is, someone who has the professional qualifications of a surveyor, acting with a reasonable degree of care and skill.
If your surveyor’s conduct has fallen below this standard, they will have breached their duty of care towards you. But to have grounds for a professional negligence claim against the surveyor, you must show that:
- you suffered a loss; and
- this loss was caused by the surveyor’s breach of duty
For example, if your surveyor rushes through a Homebuyer’s Report and carelessly overlooks a significant issue, this could easily cause financial loss. You might end up paying more for the house than it’s worth, or you might have to pay to repair the defect – something which the sellers would have done (or which would have been accounted for in the purchase price) had it been reported by the surveyor.
Surveyors instructed by a mortgage lender
You don’t necessarily have to have instructed the surveyor yourself to have a claim against them. Even if a surveyor is carrying out a valuation of the property on the instructions of your mortgage lender, the surveyor will still owe you a duty of care when performing the valuation. This is because any mistakes or carelessness on their part have the potential to affect you and cause you losses.
In reality, this is rare however. Buyers will usually instruct their own surveyor to assess the property before a purchase.