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  • FIRST POST
    • Apollo
    • By Apollo 3rd Oct 16, 11:07 PM
    • 5Posts
    • 1Thanks
    Apollo
    Complaint about buyer's survey
    • #1
    • 3rd Oct 16, 11:07 PM
    Complaint about buyer's survey 3rd Oct 16 at 11:07 PM
    I'm in the process of selling my house on which I have accepted a full asking price offer. The buyer has had a RICS Homebuyer survey done and, as a result of this has asked to re-negotiate the price.

    I purchased the house last year as a renovation project, so it has since had a complete overhaul including a chemical DPC injection, complete re-plaster, complete new electrical and gas installations including central heating system, new kitchen and bathroom, etc, etc, etc... All installations are compliant with applicable regs, undertaken by registered trades, tested and certified and naturally, they are all in good working order.

    However, the survey report, a copy of which has been sent by our buyer highlights a number of "condition rating 3" issues in relation to the above areas and in its summary section it states the following:

    • Walls - Damp
    • Internal Walls - Damp
    • Floors - Defective
    • Electricity - Defective
    • Gas - Defective
    • Heating - Defective
    • Hot Water - Defective
    • Drainage - Defects

    Naturally this has scared off our buyer and we have lost a sale yet all of the above claims are without any foundation. I appreciate that I am not the surveyor's client, but does anyone know if I have any means of making a formal complaint about this work of complete fiction? It cannot be right that a surveyor, particularly one that is RICS registered, can produce such a report with such far reaching implications and get away with it??
Page 1
    • Mr.Generous
    • By Mr.Generous 3rd Oct 16, 11:17 PM
    • 862 Posts
    • 993 Thanks
    Mr.Generous
    • #2
    • 3rd Oct 16, 11:17 PM
    • #2
    • 3rd Oct 16, 11:17 PM
    They cant just say defective, must be some explanations. Get your own gas safety and electrical safety for about £170 for both, put right any odds and ends you agree with and get it sold.
    Damp I know is a tricky issue, if they injected and re-plastered did they use the right plaster? Gypsum plaster will draw moisture. Did they offer a guarantee? If so take some damp readings, just done one ourselves and 2 months on damp readings are 0.25% or less. What did survey say yours were?
    • tacpot12
    • By tacpot12 4th Oct 16, 6:03 AM
    • 363 Posts
    • 289 Thanks
    tacpot12
    • #3
    • 4th Oct 16, 6:03 AM
    • #3
    • 4th Oct 16, 6:03 AM
    There are no means of making a complaint that will be responded to. As you are not the client, you can complain informally to the firm but they don't have to respond. Do you have a full copy of the report?

    I wouldn't check anything at this stage. You purchaser has gone. I would focus on finding the next one and hope that this survey is fraudulent. When your next buyer say that you would like to see their report but don't mention why. If the two are at odds, then you have some evidence. If the two match, it's more likely you do have some problems to sort out.
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 4th Oct 16, 8:11 AM
    • 20,783 Posts
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    Davesnave
    • #4
    • 4th Oct 16, 8:11 AM
    • #4
    • 4th Oct 16, 8:11 AM

    However, the survey report, a copy of which has been sent by our buyer highlights a number of "condition rating 3" issues in relation to the above areas and in its summary section it states the following:

    • Walls - Damp
    • Internal Walls - Damp
    • Floors - Defective
    • Electricity - Defective
    • Gas - Defective
    • Heating - Defective
    • Hot Water - Defective
    • Drainage - Defects
    Originally posted by Apollo
    I assume you are paraphrasing. Homebuyers reports do not usually commit themselves on matters concerning electricity and gas.etc. The way it's presented here, it sounds like a fake.

    Without seeing the exact words of the report it's hard to know what to say, but if I was sure of the house, in your position I'd do nothing at present.
    Last edited by Davesnave; 04-10-2016 at 9:01 AM. Reason: Clarified one sentence
    'Only the mediocre are always at their best.' Jean Giraudoux
    • Kynthia
    • By Kynthia 4th Oct 16, 8:32 AM
    • 4,695 Posts
    • 6,712 Thanks
    Kynthia
    • #5
    • 4th Oct 16, 8:32 AM
    • #5
    • 4th Oct 16, 8:32 AM
    I'd guess that the last 5 of those 8 were the surveyor saying they aren't qualified to check these and the buyer should get the appropriate expert in. If you want you could do this yourself and pass copies of the reports to future buyers but it's not something tge seller has to do.
    Don't listen to me, I'm no expert!
    • Apollo
    • By Apollo 4th Oct 16, 8:48 AM
    • 5 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Apollo
    • #6
    • 4th Oct 16, 8:48 AM
    • #6
    • 4th Oct 16, 8:48 AM
    Thanks for the replies so far folks. Picking up on the responses:

    The survey was undertaken by a RICS member working for a national estate agent so I have no reason to believe it to be fake. I have checked the surveyor's registration number on the RICS website and all seems in order. The only thing I noticed is that he's recorded as a "valuation surveyor" rather than a "building surveyor" - don't know if this has any relevance.

    The bullet point list that I posted is pretty much verbatim. It's taken from section J of a standard RICS report under the heading Risks to the Property and is a summary. There is lots more narrative on each of these points within the main body of the report. Notwithstanding this, a list containing lots of "Defectives" will alarm even the most experienced house buyer, let alone a first time buyer.

    The gas and electrical installations are 100% ok... they are new, fully tested and certificated. Within the body of the report, the surveyor has actually said "Our visual inspection revealed no significant defects or deficiencies". The surveyor seems to be covering his back by suggesting they be tested. I suspect he would say the same for any property, even a new build. My issue is that these have been recorded "Condition 3 - Red". I have no idea therefore why he has summarised them at the end of the report as having defects. Grossly misleading in my opinion.

    The Chemical DPC and subsequent replastering was undertaken by a Sovereign approved contractor, using all the appropriate products and is covered by a 30 year insurance backed warranty. Now my knowledge of DPC matters is not strong, but I have read documents which suggest that the use of electronic moisture meters on walls which have DPC treatment is inappropriate as the products used when replastering contain conductive salts and will give a false result. If this is true, then I would expect any professional surveyor to know this.

    Re the drains, the surveyor admits that he was unable to view or test the drains but has made the comment that "in view of the age of the property, it is probable that the drainage system will have some defects" - pure supposition and without any foundation! Again a "Condition 3 - Red" on the report, and summarised as definitely having defects at the end of the report.

    Kynthia... I think you're exactly right, but the surveyor should just say this and not mark them as "defective".

    Anyway, I've written a detailed and robust report to counter these allegations and presented it to the buyer in the hope it will provide some balance. Having some 2,000+ photos covering every stage of the renovation has its benefits!!

    My remaining concern is how a chartered surveyor can be allowed to get away with making such outrageous claims about services which, by his own admission, he hasn't been able to test and for this to have such a major effect on the sale of a property.
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 4th Oct 16, 8:58 AM
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    Davesnave
    • #7
    • 4th Oct 16, 8:58 AM
    • #7
    • 4th Oct 16, 8:58 AM
    My remaining concern is how a chartered surveyor can be allowed to get away with making such outrageous claims about services which, by his own admission, he hasn't been able to test and for this to have such a major effect on the sale of a property.
    Originally posted by Apollo
    In the same way as a solicitor can present evidence of a defamatory nature regarding a client's adversary, without checking any facts regarding the same.

    Their job is to present the case of their client, not check the veracity of his/her statements.
    Last edited by Davesnave; 04-10-2016 at 11:11 AM. Reason: clarifying
    'Only the mediocre are always at their best.' Jean Giraudoux
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 4th Oct 16, 9:10 AM
    • 3,840 Posts
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    davidmcn
    • #8
    • 4th Oct 16, 9:10 AM
    • #8
    • 4th Oct 16, 9:10 AM
    The gas and electrical installations are 100% ok... they are new, fully tested and certificated. Within the body of the report, the surveyor has actually said "Our visual inspection revealed no significant defects or deficiencies". The surveyor seems to be covering his back by suggesting they be tested. I suspect he would say the same for any property, even a new build. My issue is that these have been recorded "Condition 3 - Red". I have no idea therefore why he has summarised them at the end of the report as having defects.
    Originally posted by Apollo
    Because that's a perfectly normal approach for surveys - the surveyor makes comments based on a superficial (and non-specialist) inspection, and recommends that their client presumes them to be defective until they have checked for appropriate certification (and/or had a specialist in to test the services). You have recent certificates, so you show them to the buyer. Buyer is happy. I don't see any grounds for a complaint, as that's what every other surveyor would do.

    So either your buyer doesn't understand the process, or they do and are looking for excuses to chip away at the price (or maybe the surveyor's valuation, if lower than your preferred price, is more realistic irrespective of any "defects"?).
    Last edited by davidmcn; 04-10-2016 at 9:21 AM.
    • Kynthia
    • By Kynthia 4th Oct 16, 9:52 AM
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    • 6,712 Thanks
    Kynthia
    • #9
    • 4th Oct 16, 9:52 AM
    • #9
    • 4th Oct 16, 9:52 AM
    It's standard procedure for surveyors to mark as red/catagory 3/require further action anything they aren't able to inspect or aren't qualified to. If this scares people off without any further discussion or investigation then they are very inexperienced and jumpy. Any other surveyor will do the same.

    Just pass on any relevant info regarding these issues. Give them copies of the gas and electric installations and a copy of the dpc warranty. Tell them you've had no drainage problems but they are welcome to have some take a look.
    Don't listen to me, I'm no expert!
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 4th Oct 16, 11:16 AM
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    Davesnave
    So it's simply the usual Category 3 catch-all then:

    Condition Rating 3 – defects that are serious and/or need to be repaired, replaced or investigated urgently.

    It's not a categorical statement that something is defective, but I agree, it could be read that way.

    The problem is that matters like checking the services should be done urgently, before exchange, so Category 2 isn't the right place.

    Maybe RICS could produce a better form with a section: 'Matters that should be investigated by a specialist,' instead of lumping everything under 'defects that...'
    'Only the mediocre are always at their best.' Jean Giraudoux
    • Guest101
    • By Guest101 4th Oct 16, 11:38 AM
    • 11,958 Posts
    • 11,408 Thanks
    Guest101
    I'm in the process of selling my house on which I have accepted a full asking price offer. The buyer has had a RICS Homebuyer survey done and, as a result of this has asked to re-negotiate the price.

    I purchased the house last year as a renovation project, so it has since had a complete overhaul including a chemical DPC injection, complete re-plaster, complete new electrical and gas installations including central heating system, new kitchen and bathroom, etc, etc, etc... All installations are compliant with applicable regs, undertaken by registered trades, tested and certified and naturally, they are all in good working order.

    However, the survey report, a copy of which has been sent by our buyer highlights a number of "condition rating 3" issues in relation to the above areas and in its summary section it states the following:

    • Walls - Damp
    • Internal Walls - Damp
    • Floors - Defective
    • Electricity - Defective
    • Gas - Defective
    • Heating - Defective
    • Hot Water - Defective
    • Drainage - Defects

    Naturally this has scared off our buyer and we have lost a sale yet all of the above claims are without any foundation. I appreciate that I am not the surveyor's client, but does anyone know if I have any means of making a formal complaint about this work of complete fiction? It cannot be right that a surveyor, particularly one that is RICS registered, can produce such a report with such far reaching implications and get away with it??
    Originally posted by Apollo


    You have no recourse at all.


    Also even if you did, you have suffered no loss.
    • G_M
    • By G_M 4th Oct 16, 12:21 PM
    • 37,020 Posts
    • 40,944 Thanks
    G_M
    I sympathise completely. However as others have said, this is how surveys are all written.

    I strongly believe they are (all) misleading and, as has we regularly see on this forum, cause FTBs to panic uneccessarily due to the misunderstanding caused by the wording.

    Condition Rating 3 – defects that are serious and/or need to be repaired, replaced or investigated urgently.

    FTB see 'condition 3 - defects' and understandably think there is a (serious) problem, when in fact it is simply a poorly worded way of saying "I'm not qualified to judge the electrics (etc) so you should get someone else"

    But it is the system that is wrong, not this surveyor.
    • phoebe1989seb
    • By phoebe1989seb 4th Oct 16, 4:29 PM
    • 2,919 Posts
    • 6,077 Thanks
    phoebe1989seb
    I sympathise completely. However as others have said, this is how surveys are all written.

    I strongly believe they are (all) misleading and, as has we regularly see on this forum, cause FTBs to panic uneccessarily due to the misunderstanding caused by the wording.

    Condition Rating 3 – defects that are serious and/or need to be repaired, replaced or investigated urgently.

    FTB see 'condition 3 - defects' and understandably think there is a (serious) problem, when in fact it is simply a poorly worded way of saying "I'm not qualified to judge the electrics (etc) so you should get someone else"

    But it is the system that is wrong, not this surveyor.
    Originally posted by G_M
    If I were a first time buyer - as opposed to someone who hasn't had a survey of any kind carried out on their last three (very ancient ) house purchases - I would be scared off by the use of the term "urgently" in this context as it does imply some underlying serious issues. I feel for you, OP and think an overhaul of the house buying system in England and Wales is long overdue
    Paid off mortgage early - mortgage-free since age 40 (2007)

    Over £40,000 mis-sold PPI reclaimed
    • Smodlet
    • By Smodlet 15th Oct 16, 10:31 AM
    • 1,777 Posts
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    Smodlet
    Hi. So-called "damp" meters actually measure conductivity. Water, as we know, is a great conductor of electricity so, apply a damp meter to a piece of copper and the reading would be damp to the point of soggy. The meter can't tell the difference between one conductive material and another. The surveyor, in true backside-covering spirit, assumes any conductivity must be caused by damp, when there may be another explanation.

    The other issues have all been addressed but to sum up: Can't see it/can't be bothered to lift drain cover/ain't qualified = 3

    The gas/electricity/heating you have certificates for. Most of the rest you have evidence for. You could get a drain survey done, if you wanted more evidence but that is usually the buyer's headache. HTH.
    What is this life, if, sweet wordsmith, we have no time to take the pith?

    Every stew starts with the first onion.

    I took it upon myself to investigate a trifle; it had custard, jelly, soggy sponge things...
    • peter we
    • By peter we 15th Oct 16, 8:33 PM
    • 73 Posts
    • 57 Thanks
    peter we
    Its a valuations survey, maybe the buyer ought to have got more appropriate report. There are five levels.
    http://www.rics.org/uk/knowledge/home-survey-suite/rics-home-surveys/
    • slowpoke rodriguez
    • By slowpoke rodriguez 15th Oct 16, 9:03 PM
    • 270 Posts
    • 219 Thanks
    slowpoke rodriguez
    Thanks for the replies so far folks. Picking up on the responses:



    The bullet point list that I posted is pretty much verbatim. It's taken from section J of a standard RICS report under the heading Risks to the Property and is a summary. There is lots more narrative on each of these points within the main body of the report.
    .
    Originally posted by Apollo
    Not exactly verbatim then...
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