Adjoining neighbor survey fees

bobbyobhi
bobbyobhi Posts: 1 Newbie
edited 14 December 2018 at 6:06PM in Is this quote fair?
PARTY WALL ACT AWARD FEES FROM ADJOINING NEIGHBORS SURVEYOR
Today I final got a party wall act award - took a whole month as neighbors surveyor went back and forth with queries. Today he's billed me for 9.75 hours at £125! I have sent him an email requesting a breakdown of these 9.75 hours especially as my surveyor drew up the award.

What rights do I have:
1. Do I have to pay this?
2. What would happen if this didn't get paid.
3. Think it's silly I have to pay a neighbours fees just because he didn't want to share a surveyor!!

Feel like I'm having the !!!! taken out of me constantly just as a single mum who doesn't know any better.

Any advise would be gratefully received.

Note I called my surveyor who advised I should just pay it.
2. Rang a RIC recommended surveyor who told me it should have been half that amount.

Comments

  • Doozergirl
    Doozergirl Posts: 33,802 Forumite
    Name Dropper Photogenic First Anniversary First Post
    You don't get a choice in their bill, they're not your surveyor. Some will be more expensive than others - I've definitely seen higher!
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
  • teneighty
    teneighty Posts: 1,347 Forumite
    9.75 hours at £125/hour is the top end for an adjoining owners surveyor but we do not know the details of the project or how complex the award was. As you say there was a lot of back and fourth with queries so either this explains the high cost or he was just padding out the job to bump up his fee.

    If your surveyor has recommended paying it then you probably should. The only way to contest it is to go to the third surveyor, but surprise surprise, they will charge you a fee as well so probably best to just cut your losses.
  • zaqxsw
    zaqxsw Posts: 31 Forumite
    I hate to say it but party wall fees are generally very high. I work in London and hourly rates range from £125 to £300. If the award was for a loft or extension then the fee should be somewhere from £700 to £1,500 + VAT.

    Fees vary hugely and many party wall surveyors are simply greedy. I am a party wall surveyor myself so I should know.

    Fees are one of the most controversial aspects of party wall surveying. Most fees are in my opinion simply too high. Furthermore, the idea that you have to pay for your neighbour's surveyor is simply taken for granted - but like you, I challenge that and you will soon see why.

    I have had to go to the third surveyor 6 or 7 times to challenge excessive fees. Luckily I have won every single time, but there is always a loser. For example, if you won the referral, you would probably achieve a reduction in the fee of a couple of hundred pounds. Your neighbour, as the losing party, could end up paying about £1,000. If you lose, you would also have to pay £1,000.

    The situation is very unfair as there is little incentive for surveyors to charge fairly. The Act is policed by party wall surveyors who have a self-serving interest in maintaining high fees.

    I am on a mission, working form within the industry to try to change things but it is draining, and there does not seem to be enough support from within the party wall community to really deliver a better level of service at a more reasonable price.

    Your surveyor is right to steer you away from further adjudication. I would have advised you to settle too (on the basis that the award was for an extension of some sort). However, if you had wanted me to, I would have gone to the third surveyor, not on the basis that the fee is too high, but on the basis that you do not have to pay it at all.

    To directly answer your three questions:

    1. Do I have to pay this?

    Yes. The alternative is a referral to the third surveyor / litigation. Theoretically you do not have to pay it, but realistically, you do. There is a case that I will go into that I would have used had I been your surveyor with a view to submitting a successful argument to the third surveyor.

    2. What would happen if this didn't get paid.

    The other surveyor would probably initiate court proceedings / debt recovery.

    3. Think it's silly I have to pay a neighbours fees just because he didn't want to share a surveyor!!

    You are right, and this is a very, very interesting point. This is how you could potentially win. You see, there was a case ( Amir-Siddique v Kowaliw & Anor: 18 May 2018) and the neighbour appointed their own surveyor. The building owner surveyor asked the neighbour whether they could proceed by way of 'agreed surveyor' but the neighbour refused and did not give a reason.

    So, we are left with a situation where a neighbour has simply doubled costs for literally no reason.

    The judge held that:

    “The Respondents felt entitled to insist on the “two-surveyor route” but not, in my judgement, on the basis that the Appellant had to pay all the additional costs.”

    So the idea of you simply having to pay the other surveyor's fees is slowly being challenged and as you can see, it has actually gone to Court and a Judge has found in favour of someone in a similar position to you (though your circumstances may have some differences that alter your chances of success).

    This case is probably too little too late for you as most of the party wall community has either dismissed it or are simply unaware of it. Attitudes are still rather backwards but really want to change this somehow. Any ideas for a plan of action would be appreciated!
  • mug2007
    mug2007 Posts: 126 Forumite
    First Post Name Dropper First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Great post zaqxsw.  Wish I had seen this before I had embarked on the party wall process. I too would like to see change as I don't want anyone else to be ripped off like I was.



  • zaqxsw said:
    I hate to say it but party wall fees are generally very high. I work in London and hourly rates range from £125 to £300. If the award was for a loft or extension then the fee should be somewhere from £700 to £1,500 + VAT.

    Fees vary hugely and many party wall surveyors are simply greedy. I am a party wall surveyor myself so I should know.

    Fees are one of the most controversial aspects of party wall surveying. Most fees are in my opinion simply too high. Furthermore, the idea that you have to pay for your neighbour's surveyor is simply taken for granted - but like you, I challenge that and you will soon see why.

    I have had to go to the third surveyor 6 or 7 times to challenge excessive fees. Luckily I have won every single time, but there is always a loser. For example, if you won the referral, you would probably achieve a reduction in the fee of a couple of hundred pounds. Your neighbour, as the losing party, could end up paying about £1,000. If you lose, you would also have to pay £1,000.

    The situation is very unfair as there is little incentive for surveyors to charge fairly. The Act is policed by party wall surveyors who have a self-serving interest in maintaining high fees.

    I am on a mission, working form within the industry to try to change things but it is draining, and there does not seem to be enough support from within the party wall community to really deliver a better level of service at a more reasonable price.

    Your surveyor is right to steer you away from further adjudication. I would have advised you to settle too (on the basis that the award was for an extension of some sort). However, if you had wanted me to, I would have gone to the third surveyor, not on the basis that the fee is too high, but on the basis that you do not have to pay it at all.

    To directly answer your three questions:

    1. Do I have to pay this?

    Yes. The alternative is a referral to the third surveyor / litigation. Theoretically you do not have to pay it, but realistically, you do. There is a case that I will go into that I would have used had I been your surveyor with a view to submitting a successful argument to the third surveyor.

    2. What would happen if this didn't get paid.

    The other surveyor would probably initiate court proceedings / debt recovery.

    3. Think it's silly I have to pay a neighbours fees just because he didn't want to share a surveyor!!

    You are right, and this is a very, very interesting point. This is how you could potentially win. You see, there was a case ( Amir-Siddique v Kowaliw & Anor: 18 May 2018) and the neighbour appointed their own surveyor. The building owner surveyor asked the neighbour whether they could proceed by way of 'agreed surveyor' but the neighbour refused and did not give a reason.

    So, we are left with a situation where a neighbour has simply doubled costs for literally no reason.

    The judge held that:

    “The Respondents felt entitled to insist on the “two-surveyor route” but not, in my judgement, on the basis that the Appellant had to pay all the additional costs.”

    So the idea of you simply having to pay the other surveyor's fees is slowly being challenged and as you can see, it has actually gone to Court and a Judge has found in favour of someone in a similar position to you (though your circumstances may have some differences that alter your chances of success).

    This case is probably too little too late for you as most of the party wall community has either dismissed it or are simply unaware of it. Attitudes are still rather backwards but really want to change this somehow. Any ideas for a plan of action would be appreciated!

    great post and refreshing to see clarity and honesty . You shouldn't be charged for your neighbour more than you pay for your own if they choose to go elsewhere unless there was a reason for it . I work along side roofers and they priced one roof at 6k on a semi but the neighbour approached and got a quote . My roofer said he would do both at the same time for 10k . scaffold access and time spent on 2 ect . 1st neighbour saving a grand was good for him too, . 2nd neighbour just wanted to pay 4k and expected the 1st to pay the 6k . ??? eventually paid the half but w t f 
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