Property Negligence Claims
The number of property negligence claims against professionals that are an integral part of the process when buying or selling a property are on the increase. This is almost certainly to do with the fact that people are more aware of their rights than they were previously, they are reliant on such professional expertise in complex areas and their losses could be substantial if that professional advice turns out to be wrong.
The fact that a professional may owe various duties to the claimant should be very clear because there should be a written agreement in place but this is not always the case. Such agreement is not always essential in order to bring a claim where that advice is inaccurate. A client is entitled to rely on advice given whereby the professional is presenting themselves as having a particular expertise.
Conveyancing is a specialised area of law and yet clients are citing examples of property lawyers who failed to carry out basic local searches or check the existence of specific covenants or easements relating to the property. Such errors can have a significant a effect on the whole transaction, usually involving hundreds of thousands of pounds and can devalue the re-sale value of the property. It could also create an obligation on the new owner that they neither wanted, or expected, and in extreme cases places them in a position where they have no alternative but to sell their dream home.
The involvement of an Architect in a new build or re-design of an existing property is crucial and an allegation of negligence can be as a result of a number of factors. The design of the property or extension might be so poor that it would never have been given planning permission or because the materials recommended were inappropriate. in extreme cases architects’ negligence can pose a serious risk to safety if the building had been constructed in an unsafe way. They are also often instructed to act as Project Managers, to oversee the construction and control costs but acted so poorly that the client incurred unnecessary and significant additional costs.
Clients instruct the professional services of a surveyor with a view to getting some reassurance that property they seek to purchase has no hidden problems that might otherwise prevent them from proceeding. Despite the fact that there are different types of survey available on a property the client is entitled to expect a standard of professional care from a surveyor. Any competent surveyor would be expected to notice extensive damp and rot in those areas of the property covered by even the most basic survey. When these problems are missed the consequences for the purchaser is that the property could be worth considerably less than they paid for it whilst also having the significant additional expense of putting the defects right.
What is the Harris Fowler approach?
At Harris Fowler we make a very careful assessment of the legal issues involved to establish what the allegations are against the professional, what advice was given, in what form, why that advice might have been wrong and what losses were suffered by the client as a result.
The basic aim of pursuing a property negligence claim is to put our client into the position they would likely to have been in had the professional not breached the duty owed to that client.
How we can help?
If you or a family member have received advice from a professional person or company that you consider to be incorrect, or you are not sure about your particular set of circumstances, and would like advice on a possible property negligence claim please pick up the phone and call our FREEPHONE number (0800) 213214 or call the firm direct on 01823 251515.