You may be wondering what you can do if you ever have a complaint against a surveyor you hired. In this article, we will explore the options, so that you are aware of it should the need arise.
Do you have a complaint against your surveyor?
There can be several reasons why you might have a complaint against your surveyor. You might have felt that they were rude, non-professional, failing to follow the proper procedure which led to a delay which could have been easily avoided or failed to inform you of important matters which put you at risk.
Mostly, people have a complaint against their surveyor when the surveyor had failed to provide information relating to important structural or other issues in the property, which led to them to suffer a financial loss.
Where to go if you have a complaint against your surveyor?
You should firstly follow the internal complaints procedure of the surveyor firm you hired. All surveyor firms which are members of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyor (RICS) usually have their own complaint processing procedure for customer with grievances.
The internal complaint procedure can usually be found on the surveyor firm's website. If the surveyor firm does not have a website, you should approach them directly. You should ensure to retain a copy of the letter or email you send to the surveyor firm regarding your complaint. You should also note down the name of the employee, which addressed your concerns. It is essential to have this evidence if you need to pursue a claim.
You should expect it to take up to eight weeks for the surveyor firm to respond to your complaint.
Should your complaint remain unresolved even after complaining to the surveyor firm, there are several steps you can take.
Contact Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyor
RICS is the regulatory body of all chartered surveyors, which are its members. It has the power to take disciplinary action against the surveyor in the shape of fines, suspensions and revoking their membership.
However, you should be aware that only a handful of complaints advance to the investigation stage out of thousands of complaints RICS receives each year. Further, RICS cannot legally enforce its members to pay compensation to the complainant. Conversely, you can choose to do arbitration through RICS.
Arbitration through RICS
If the surveyor firm has not resolved your complaint, you can choose to have the matter arbitrated through RICS. RICS Dispute Resolution Service (DRS) is a service offer by RICS to resolve disputes quickly and cost-effectively. Further, the decision of the RICS DRS arbitrator will be legally binding on the member surveyor firm. You may get an order for compensation costs without going into appeal.
You can also take your case to a Property Ombudsman if your complaint has remained unresolved despite the surveyor firm's internal complaint process.
There are two redress schemes which you can opt for: The Property Ombudsman (TPOs) and The Property Redress Scheme. Both of these schemes are free and independent. The Ombudsman can order the surveyor to pay for cost arising from negligent work.
What can you do if your surveyor is not a member of RICS?
If your surveyor is not a member of RICS, you can complain to the surveyor firm directly. Alternatively, you can take the matter to arbitration. However, the surveyor will first have to agree to arbitration. You may take your case to property ombudsman depending on whether they are a member of one.
You should also note that some surveyor is a member of the Residential Property Surveyors Association instead of RICS. In such a case, you will first complain to the surveyor firm directly. If your complaint remains unresolved, you can seek higher adjudication from RICS or a property ombudsman.
Taking legal action against your surveyor should be the last resort for you. Not only in this process time consuming, but it can also prove quite costly. You will have 6 years to take legal action against your surveyor (3 years from the point when the surveyor's negligence was first discovered). Further, you will have to hire a solicitor to assist you with the pre-action procedure which has to be followed, and if you do not do it, you may have to pay for damages.
There is no specific time limit in which you can expect the matter to be finally resolved. It can take months or even years for the matter to be resolved. Even then, the court's decision may be subject to an appeal or review, which will cause further delay in resolving the matter.