Making a Negligence Claim Against a Valuer
Have you had a house valued only to find out later that the price paid was too much?
Was the valuation carried out negligently?
Can you sue the Valuer?
As with any claim for professional negligence, you need to establish three things:
- Were you owed a duty of care owed by the Valuer?
- Has the Valuer breached that duty?
- Has the breach caused a financial loss?
DUTY OF CARE
When you are making a negligence claim against a valuer, there needs to be a legal relationship between you and the Valuer. This will normally be straightforward where you instructed the Valuer yourself, but complexities do arise where you have relied on someone else’s valuation or your mortgage company instruct him. If it’s the latter, it’s important to consider if you bought the property to live in or whether it was a commercial transaction. It’s also necessary to consider whether the Valuer has imposed any exclusion clause limiting his liability?
BREACH OF DUTY
Once you have established that a duty of care was owed, you then need to show that the Valuer failed to act with reasonable care – this is the “negligent” bit. Firstly, we have to look at the scope of the retainer. Was he undertaking a basic valuation or was he carrying out a full survey with a view to valuing the property? Should he have been on the lookout for defects? Were the defects hidden? Would another Valuer with similar qualifications and experience have taken a different view?
The final consideration when making a negligence claim against a Valuer is what financial loss has been caused. Valuing property is more of an art than a science. Valuers talk about valuing “within the bracket”. Generally, that bracket is plus or minus 10% of the accepted value of the property. So if the property is valued at £100,000 but the negligent Valuer says it is worth less than £90,000 or more than £110,000, he will fall outside the margin of error and probably be considered negligent. Even so, the 10% margin of error is not absolute and depending on the facts of the case can be reduced to 5% or, if the property is especially unique, 15%.
TAKING SPECIALIST LEGAL ADVICE
These are just some of the questions that need to be considered before making a negligence claim against a Valuer. Anyone contemplating bringing a Valuer negligence claim should seek specialist legal advice direct from a solicitor who is experienced in this area of law.
HOW WE CAN HELP YOU
We operate a legal helpline which you can call on 0808 139 1595 for a FREE case assessment.
Alternatively you can email details of your valuer's negligence claim to us at [email protected]