A number of surveyors are failing to spot problems when undertaking house surveys, leaving consumers with repair bills of thousands of pounds.
The findings from research compiled by the Consumers’ Association (CA) found unidentified defects were the most frequent cause of complaint, with factors such as damp, rot and subsidence going unnoticed.
Out of 80 formal complaints, 90% said a surveyor failed to notice a fault, with roof problems being most often overlooked.
Many participants were unsure of what would be included in the survey, with 70% believing that the surveyor would inspect parts of the property that are difficult to access. According to the CA this is not the case.
Ray Barrowdale, spokesperson at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), said: ‘We are taking the criticism on board and admit we do not always tell the consumer the differences between surveys and what to expect.
‘However, we have produced a leaflet which explains this for consumers. It is available through our members and we will be approaching mortgage lenders to offer the leaflet.’
Reports written by surveyors have raised several questions, primarily regarding clarity, with 36% of people saying the reports were written in a vague way and were difficult to interpret.
Barrowdale said this was another area RICS intended to tackle by encouraging its members to write more clearly.
The trade association also plans to review its complaints procedures.
‘We are also looking to change the way we assess and take complaints from people. We want to make the appeals process clearer, but this will take time,’ added Barrowdale.