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Liabilities of a property surveyor

Liabilities of a property surveyorUnder S13 of the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982, a surveyor is duty bound to ensure that the survey is carried out with reasonable care and skill, failing which he is liable for compensation. Thus, when a client incurs loss due to a negligent survey, he can always claim compensation from the surveyor. But the deficiency claimed by the buyer should not be one that comes under an exemption clause formed as part of terms of work of the surveyor.

Unless the area of the complaint lies within the scope of work that the surveyor was instructed to do, he cannot be held liable. Thus, it is very important that the client give detailed instructions on the things required to be done to the surveyor.

A buyer who relies on the valuation report of the lender cannot claim compensation for loss, as there is no contractual relationship between the buyer and the surveyor; he was commissioned only by the lender and not the buyer. And even in instances where such a claim can be made, its success is largely dependent on an exclusion clause contained in the valuation.

When a lender instructs the valuer to undertake a valuation of a modest house and informs him that the buyer would rely on the valuation and shall not undertake any other survey, the valuer is obligated to exercise reasonable care and skill when carrying out the valuation. This was a judgment made by the House of Lords in Smith vs. Eric S Bush.

Photo courtesy: roarofthefour

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