Making a Valuer Negligence Claim.

In assessing whether a valuation has been negligent we consider whether the valuer has exercised the standard of care and skill possessed by a competent valuer. It is important to consider the terms of the retainer. The valuer's duties are likely to be limited. You cannot expect a valuer to undertake a structural survey, or even a house buyer's report. When you ask a valuer to value your house, the valuer's duty is limited to looking for obvious defects “with a practised eye” that are likely to materially affect the property's value. The valuer, unless instructed otherwise, is only expected to advise upon the price of the property. A valuer is not, for example, expected to advise you on the resale value of the property.

The law recognises that house valuation and commercial property valuation is not an exact science. Accordingly, valuers often talk about valuing “within the bracket”. This refers to the fact that valuers can work within a permissible margin of error. A valuer will only be held to be negligent if his property valuation falls outside the bracket of what can be expected from a reasonably competent valuer.

The extent of this margin of error has varied from case to case. The permissible margin is generally accepted to be plus or minus 10% of the accepted value of the property. So, if a valuer values a house at £100,000 and a valuers negligence claim is brought because the actual value was £95,000 then the negligence claim is likely to fail because the error in the valuation is less than 10% of the accepted value. The valuation is within the permissible margin of error, or within the valuation bracket. However, if the valuation was £115,000 then it is likely that there would be a valuers negligence claim as the error would fall outside the permissible range.

The 10% margin of error is not absolute and there have been cases where the bracket has been widened to 15%, making it even more difficult to establish valuation negligence.

And even if you can show that the valuation falls outside the permissible range, the valuer's negligence will not be proved if the valuer can show that he nevertheless exercised an appropriate level of care and skill.

This short summary of valuation negligence and valuers negligence highlights how difficult this area of law can be. Anyone contemplating a valuer negligence claim should seek specialist advice direct from a solicitor who is experienced in the field.

We operate a free negligent valuation helpline which you are welcome to call on 0808 139 1595.

Alternatively you can email us details of your valuers negligence claim at lee.dawkins@sleeblackwell.co.uk