Bad house survey. Now what?

Wonder if anyone here has been in a similar position…

We bought our house a couple of years ago and at that time had a survey done, as you do. While there were a few bits and pieces on there (the house is about 125 years old), we could accept them and fix them as we went along.

However, we’ve recently saved for a new kitchen which will involve some building work and one of the builders had noticed some quite alarming problems that were not on the original survey. We’ve had these backed up with a second independent survey which has confirmed everything he said.

My question is, where do I stand with the original surveyor? How do I start the process of claiming against them?

This is our first house and the first time we’ve ever had to deal with these sorts of things so any advice would be really appreciated.

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Hmmm I’m not sure about this one. We’ve just had a house survey done and paid extra for a more comprehensive one too and throughout the report it is repeated that their findings are only based on what is visible to them.

E.G. There was some concrete rot in one of the small extensions (utility room). He couldn’t comment on if other areas were effected by this because he would have to rip up flooring.

Similar to your situation… While everything seemed to be fine to both you and the surveyor it would have been impossible for him to know about any underlying issues unless he ripped out your kitchen, as you’ve now done. Back at the time of the survey nobody would have consented to doing this.

The length of time that has lapsed may also be an argument for the surveyor too. He could state that you’ve not maintained the property correctly or something else has caused this in the 2 years since he looked at it.

Just my thoughts but fingers crossed you’re covered in some way :crossed_fingers: Do let me know how you get on because I’m about to purchase a property too so it will be good to know for the future :slight_smile:

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It’s a really difficult situation as I think the surveyor, Colleys, which was owned by Lloyd’s banking has shut down.

We haven’t yet had the kitchen ripped out, we haven’t actually got that far as we’ve put all things on hold due to what the builder found while he was quoting us. All the damage he found (signs of subsidence, bulging walls, doorways without proper support etc) are all things that he spotted just by looking and again, have been confirmed by the second surveyor just visually. None of these things are remotely mentioned in the original survey we had done.

Of course, I’ll keep you updated on my progress!

Why are these things never easy?

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Oh no, if they’ve shut down that just adds further complications, but I would expect home surveyors to be backed by some association that you can likely claim through :man_shrugging:

The whole house buying, solicitors, surveys, flood reports and all that stuff is a nightmare. I can’t wait for all mine to be finished.

It is indeed. Hopefully all yours goes through nice and smoothly though. It’s headache inducing but worth it in the end to have your own place :+1::grin:

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There are different types of surveys ranging from a cursory, mortgage valuation “survey” - i.e. is the value of the house in line with what we as a building society / mortgage provider are willing to lend on it after your deposit is taken off the value, through to a full structural survey, which as the name implies is a full survey of the condition of the house - obviously at differing costs to the reports given - which did you go for, cheap and cheerful, minimum required by the lender , or full bells and whistles, lets have a look at what this building is like structurally ?

I think we went for a home buyer survey, although I’m sure on the survey it says level 3, whatever that means. It definitely wasn’t the cheapest of the cheap. I’ll double check once I’m back in the UK though :+1:

" A Building Survey (formerly known as a ’ full structural survey’) is an RICS ‘Survey Level Three’ service. A Building Survey report is based on a detailed , visual inspection of the building, its services and grounds and is more detailed than an RICS ‘Survey Level Two’ report."

It would seem that you could have had a full structural survey ? , if the surveyor didn’t pick up any subsidence it either has only recently happened, or they missed it - don’t know without any further info , however if they missed it they were presumably RICS ( Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors ) members which should have included professional indemnity insurance during the period of the survey ??? which is perhaps an avenue to pursue in a claim on the original survey.

If they didn’t miss it - because it wasn’t there when you purchased - you could potentially claim on your house insurance for the subsidence which has perhaps recently happened because you have this professional RICS structural survey prior to buying and insuring your house that doesn’t bring up this problem.

Bulging walls could also be attributable to the new or existing subsidence, again either professional indemnity insurance from RICS registered surveyor or buildings insurance ( required for a mortgage ? ) could rectify this, in the case of the latter with an excess paid by yourself (£1000 ? )

Doorways without “proper” support - do you mean timber lintels ?? which were common in earlier buildings or no support at all ?

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Was the original surveyor RICS registered?

Thank you for your thorough reply :blush: I will double check the level of survey when I get home, just to make sure. At least it seems there are at least two potential ways of getting these things sorted.

The external doorways are supported only by the door frames themselves and looking at it, after being shown, you can see that the wall above has dropped slightly :scream:

@technicolor The surveyor was RICS registered, yes :blush:

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All the problems are solvable Andy taken one step at a time, good luck :slight_smile:

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So sorry to hear that Andy! sounds difficult! RICS should have a complaints process and a system in place for dispute resolution. Best of luck :slightly_smiling_face:

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Have a look at https://reddit.com/r/ukpersonalfinance and https://www.reddit.com/r/legaladviceuk, some smart cookies there who might have insight.

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Thanks for all the support and advice folks. Easy to get overwhelmed by these things but as @iansilversides says, they’re all solvable.

@technicolor Thank you! I’ll have a dig through their site but I’m hoping I can file a complaint with Halifax/Lloyd’s as they owned the surveyor prior to shutting them down.

@caspararemi Thanks, I’ll have a look through :+1: Reddit is always a good source of info. Don’t know why I hadn’t thought of it :grin:

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Do let us know how you get on!

Regrettably no immediate solution, but great support nonetheless. :+1:

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