Complain about a surveyor

Last updated: March 2024 | 3 min read

Unhappy with your surveyor's service? This guide complements the complain about a solicitor topic, providing insights into handling professional disputes. Delve into related subjects like deeds of trusts and whether you require a solicitor for remortgaging. Learn how to effectively communicate your concerns and explore your options for resolution. This article is your first step towards navigating the complexities of property assessments, empowering you with knowledge and confidence.

Is my dissatisfaction with a surveyor valid for a complaint?

Identifying professional negligence in survey reports

When you receive a survey report, it's your right to expect a high standard of service. Professional negligence occurs if a chartered surveyor misses or incorrectly assesses critical defects in your property.

This oversight might lead to unexpected repair costs or affect the property's value. If your report overlooks significant issues or contains inaccuracies, this may constitute grounds for a complaint. Remember, a surveyor's failure to detect faults like structural weaknesses or dampness can result in financial loss for you.

Evaluating surveyor's adherence to required standards

Surveyors are bound by strict rules and ethical standards. When reviewing your surveyor's conduct, compare their service against the standards set by professional bodies like the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

Check if they followed the proper procedure. Did they provide a thorough and detailed survey? Were they transparent and communicative?

If the service fell short of these standards, your dissatisfaction may warrant a formal complaint. Such discrepancies can include a lack of detail in the survey report or failing to report on key aspects of the property.

Initial steps: Addressing the issue with the surveyor or surveyor firm

How to approach your surveyor with concerns

When you encounter problems with a surveyor's work, your first step should be direct communication. Contact the surveyor or their firm to express your concerns. Provide a clear, factual account of your issues.

Mention specific areas where their service did not meet expectations. Avoid confrontational language; aim for a constructive dialogue. Remember, a calm, reasoned approach is more likely to yield positive results.

What to expect from a surveyor's internal complaints handling procedure

Surveyor firms typically have a formal complaints handling procedure. Upon raising your concerns, expect the firm to outline this process. This procedure usually involves a review of your complaint by a designated manager.

Be prepared to supply any relevant documents or evidence to support your claim. The firm should acknowledge your complaint promptly and give you a timeline for their response.

Role of a designated complaints manager in surveyor firms

In most surveyor firms, a designated complaints manager oversees complaints. This individual is responsible for impartially assessing your concerns. They will examine the details of your case, liaising with relevant parties within the firm.

Their goal is to resolve issues fairly, keeping in mind the standards set by regulatory bodies like RICS. Expect communication from them regarding progress and any decisions made.

Utilizing the RICS complaints process

Contacting RICS: What you need to know

As a property owner dissatisfied with a surveyor's service, you can contact RICS directly. RICS regulation ensures that all RICS members and member firms adhere to high professional standards.

When you contact RICS, provide detailed information about your complaint, including any prior communication with the surveyor. RICS will require the complaint to have been first addressed with the surveyor or the surveyor firm, aiming for a resolution within eight weeks.

Navigating the RICS dispute resolution service

RICS offers a dispute resolution option, the RICS Dispute Resolution Service (DRS). This service is designed for more complex cases. RICS DRS arbitrators, who are experts in property disputes, provide legally binding solutions.

Unlike contacting RICS for general complaints, using the DRS may involve costs. The arbitrative services are designed for situations where internal resolution has failed, and you seek a definitive, expert judgement.

Exploring alternative dispute resolution options

Engaging with independent arbitration process

Independent arbitration is a viable dispute resolution option when RICS processes don't apply or are exhausted. Arbitration involves an impartial third party, often a legal expert or an experienced professional in the property industry.

This process is less formal than court proceedings but still results in a legally binding decision. Arbitration can be quicker and less costly than court litigation, making it a preferred option for many.

Understanding the benefits of alternative dispute resolution

Alternative dispute resolution, including mediation and arbitration, offers several benefits. It's generally faster and less expensive than court litigation. These methods are confidential, allowing for more flexible and creative solutions tailored to the specific dispute.

They also tend to be less adversarial, preserving professional relationships. When traditional complaint procedures don't lead to satisfactory results, these alternative methods can be effective in resolving disputes about faulty or negligent work.

Seeking assistance from the property redress scheme

When and how to contact the property redress scheme

For customers feeling let down by a surveyor's service, contacting the property redress scheme offers a structured approach to resolving complaints. If efforts to resolve the issue with the surveyor or their firm fail, the property redress scheme steps in as the next point of call.

It's essential to gather all relevant documentation and evidence of correspondence with the surveyor before reaching out. The scheme requires a clear outline of the complaint, supporting documents, and any previous attempts at resolution. Check the surveyor's membership details to confirm which of the two redress schemes they belong to – this information is often available on the surveyor's website or through direct enquiry.

What to expect from the ombudsman scheme

Engaging with an ombudsman scheme marks a significant step in complaint resolution. This independent body reviews complaints impartially, focusing on fairness and legal compliance. Upon submitting a complaint, customers can expect an initial assessment, where the ombudsman determines the complaint's validity based on the provided evidence.

If accepted, an investigation stage follows, during which the ombudsman liaises with both parties to understand the issue thoroughly. The outcome can range from an apology and explanation to compensation for losses arising from poor service. It's important for customers to stay informed throughout the process and provide any additional information requested by the ombudsman.

Legal avenues: Taking legal action against a surveyor

Assessing the need for legal aid in cases of professional negligence

Deciding to take legal action against a surveyor is a considerable step, typically pursued when other avenues fail. This process begins with assessing the validity of the claim and the potential for compensation costs. Legal action should be considered if there's clear evidence of professional negligence leading to financial loss or significant distress.

Consulting with a legal professional experienced in property law offers insight into the likelihood of success. They can advise on whether the case qualifies financially and practically for litigation. It's essential for customers to understand that litigation brought against a surveyor can lead to expensive and extended legal battles.

Navigating the legal process for compensation claims

Embarking on legal action requires a clear understanding of the process and potential outcomes. The initial step involves formally notifying the surveyor or their member firm of the intent to pursue legal action. This notice should include details of the complaint, the losses incurred, and the compensation sought. Once legal proceedings commence, both parties enter a higher adjudication process, overseen by the courts.

This phase involves detailed examination of evidence, witness statements, and expert testimonies. The court's decision can lead to an order for the surveyor to pay compensation or dismiss the claim. Throughout this process, staying informed and guided by legal advice is critical for customers seeking redress for their grievances.

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