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Ask James Mather Your Own Question
James Mather
James Mather,
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 22629
Experience:  Senior Partner at Berkson Wallace
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Bought a bungalow in 2006 that had a nicely done loft conversion,

Customer Question

Bought a bungalow in 2006 that had a nicely done loft conversion, but hadn't had building regs.The vendor employed a chartered surveyor to check the conversion ,and his summary was 'all work carried out to a satisfactory standard, utilising satisfactory materials for the design, and is a safe and sound build'.The vendor also had a idemnity ins cert. issued for the conversion.
Our surveyor did a basic survey, and declared the loft o.k.
On the strength of these reports, especially the former, we bought the house for cash £165,000.
We have recently put the same house on the market, and had a keen buyer after a week.She put an offer in and sent a surveyor round for a house buyers survey as normal. A few days later, we had a phone call saying she was 'pulling out' as the surveyor told her in wasn't up to building regs, as there wasn't enough of an air gap around the roof space to the inner ceiling, and that the roof would have to come off, costing £20,000 or more!
So we have lost the sale on something he had surveyed originally, and was told it was fine.

The only thing we have now discovered, it was the same surveyor both times ! so we trusted him the first time, as you do, now he has 'condemned it' If he'd have said the same to us originally, we would have thought twice.
Can anything be done abouit this situation ??
Many thanx, Bob Dufton
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  James Mather replied 5 years ago.
Do you have a specific question?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Sorry, what info do you need?

Expert:  James Mather replied 5 years ago.

So he said it was OK to you, but not OK to others?

Have you spoken to him about this?

Do you have the original report or the latest one?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

It was ok on the original report he did in 2006.


Last week he did a survey for a buyer and said it wasn't ok. I have the original report he did, but havn't got the one he did for the buyer, but we have spoken to her just this morning, and she told us again what he has put in the report, by the way, the construction is still in excellent condition.

Expert:  James Mather replied 5 years ago.
Can you get copy latest report from buyer
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I can possibly try, but sometimes people can be reluctant after the cost.!.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Hi, sorry, had no reply in the last 20 mins


Expert:  James Mather replied 5 years ago.

okay thanks.

I am afraid that this is not an instant
service so sometimes you will get a response in minutes and sometimes it will
be hours, or even overnight. We all have clients and court and other users and
travelling and weekends and evenings and misc interruptions etc.

I cant type that fast!


It would be worth, I think,
offering them part of the cost. They are not buying the house anyway. So for
them, any money they get for a copy is worth it. It may also be worth it for
you! I would consider giving them up to 50% of the cost. That might focus their

You cannot rely on the report
given to the other people because it was not prepared to you, but you can use
it in evidence.

So what would you be using it
in evidence for? It has now come to light that the report done in 2006 might
have been negligent.

Either the 2006 report is or
the current one is.

Armed with both reports. You
can then go to the surveyor and ask for his proposals to pay you compensation
either in respect of the defective report from 2006, or in respect of the lost
sale, this time.

If you cannot get the current
report then get another surveyor to provide a report and prime him with regard
to what you are looking for.

It will carry more weight if
the letter came from a solicitor.

Under the Limitation Act 1986.
You only have six years to bring a claim in negligence. But, that six years,
runs from the date of knowledge and I would argue that is now.

There is very little that I
can add until you know what the surveyor is going to say, but at least now you
have an idea of how to start and deal with this.

I am just going to throw one
thing in which is a bit left field. I have known surveyors who have been
working for estate agents find a problem with the property purely because they
were surveying for a lender and the borrower was looking at several properties
which were on sale, with the agent that the surveyor worked for, but the
property that he was surveying was with another agent. Of course, the sale fell
through and the buyer was back in the market looking at his agents properties.
I am not saying that is the case, but I simply mention it because it is my own
experience once

Can I help further?

Please bear with me today
because I will be online and off-line.

Please don't forget to positively rate my answer service (even if it was not
what you wanted to hear) and I will follow up any further points you raise for

If you don't rate it positively, then the site keep your deposit and I get 0
for my time. It is imperative that you give my answer a positive rating. It
doesn't give me "a pat on the head", "good boy" (like ebay), it is my

If in ratings you feel that you expected more or it only helped a little,
please ask me for further info before rating me negatively otherwise I don't
get paid at all for my time and answer.

The thread remains open.

Thank you.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Is it possible to get back to you tomorrrow with regards this?? just need a bit more info from the 'lost' buyer. I think she will poss let me have a copy of the loft report that he did last week.Many thanks Mr R Dufton

Expert:  James Mather replied 5 years ago.
No problem. I am on and off all day. The thread remains open for further exchanges between us