Court case brings to light the importance of Sales Protocol Toolkit

A recent case where a surveyor failed to identify serious remedial issues has highlighted the importance of using Propertymark’s Sales Protocol Toolkit to help minimise potential misconduct when selling a property.

The dispute came from a RICS homebuyer inspection and report, which was undertaken in November 2011 by an experienced surveyor. The property had been newly reconstructed, and the surveyor recommended the claimants should prepare a Homebuyer Report – which was agreed upon. The surveyor reported drainage problems and concerns with the pipes/gutters, and after receiving the report, the claimants purchased the house at a value of £1.2m.

Following the purchase of the property, it became evident that there were serious issues with water ingress and damp, that ultimately required extensive remedial works. There was no reference made to these issues in the report.

How to minimise complaints

Renovation work and any building issues could have been highlighted in Propertymark’s Property Information Questionnaire (PIQ) as part of the Sales Protocol Toolkit by the owner of the property. The questionnaire asks for information including any alterations and changes to the property. With this information provided, it would have better informed the conveyancer and potential home buyer to make educated decisions around the purchase of the property.

The decision

The surveyor was found to be negligent for failing to identify and report the damp/water ingress in the property. The Judge noted that 'given the difficulties which were faced in reporting upon a newly redeveloped house, some of the signs of sloppy workmanship were there to be seen and should have been drawn to the attention of the claimant or given greater emphasis'.

Propertymark’s Sales Protocol Toolkit

The Toolkit can be used by all agents and includes a Property Information Questionnaire (PIQ) which is required to be completed by the owner of the property. This form ensures that the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 are complied with during the marketing of the property and must be completed as accurately as possible. Under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 the owner must disclose anything that would materially affect the transactional decision of the average consumer.

The Sales Protocol Toolkit offers huge potential to speed up transactions, but it is essential that estate agents go a step further to get the most out of it.