Surveyors experience buy-to-let backlash

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Claims against surveyors, alleging they have overvalued houses and flats, have risen by 20 per cent in the Sheffield region, according to a local professional negligence specialist.

Daniel Brumpton, from the commercial litigation team at Irwin Mitchell’s Sheffield office, says the largest proportion of cases comes from buy-to-let investors and shows no sign of declining, despite a recent court case which went in favour of surveyors.

“The increase in buy-to-let property investment ahead of the credit crunch has been well-documented,” said Mr Brumpton.

“Many of these landlords have since struggled to find tenants due to an over supply in some cities, and this in turn has forced many to sell in order to avoid defaulting on their mortgage.

“Landlords rely on surveyors to provide an accurate valuation of the property as well as the likely rental income that will be achieved. It appears, however, that an increasing number are alleging significant discrepancies between the true market value and the figures provided in surveyor reports.”

A recent Court of Appeal decision supported a surveyor valuation advice to a buy-to-let investor. The judge argued the surveyor did not have a duty of care as it would be reasonable, due to the size and sophistication of the investor, to expect the buyer to pay for their own report.