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How to complain about your Chartered Surveyor

Here's what you can do if you are unhappy with your surveyor.

How to complain about your Chartered Surveyor

Reallymoving.com works with a huge number of RICS regulated firms of surveyors. We ask all of our users to provide feedback on the firm they used so that our customers can have an idea of the service they should receive.  

We find our Chartered Surveyors receive excellent feedback.

How to complain

However, if you are unhappy with your surveyor, feel free to let us know, but also here are some other steps you may wish to consider.

The RICS – Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors – expect their regulated surveyors to follow strict Rules of Conduct.  These rules of conduct insist that RICS members have a Complaints Handling Procedure (known as a CHP) to deal with grievances against their firm.

Ideally, when you initially employed your surveyor, reference to their CHP should have been evident in the Terms and Conditions they sent you.  If this was not sent with their T&C, and you are not happy with the service that your RICS Surveyor has provided, you should ask to see details of their Complaints Handling Procedure in writing. 

If you have asked for a copy of their CHP, keep a copy of your request, whether it was by letter (send by recorded delivery), email (get a delivery receipt) or make a note of the date that you called the company and who you spoke to.

RICS require that your complaint is handled by a designator complaints manager or by a senior member of the firm. These individuals should try to resolve your complaint. 

If your grievance cannot be resolved internally, the surveyor should refer it to an independent redress scheme, ideally run by an ombudsman. There is an ombudsman appointed specifically to the field of property transactions, to which most surveying complaints are sent, and he can be contacted here: http://www.ombudsman-services.org/property.html

The Chartered Surveyor firm should let you know which ombudsman scheme they have forwarded your complaint to so that you can stay informed of its progress.



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Go direct to RICS

An alternative method of complaining about your surveyor is to go direct to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. 

RICS Regulation is the regulatory arm of RICS and is accountable for ensuring its members observe the rules and regulations to which they have signed up. If RICS considers the member firm has fallen short of anticipated standards, the RICS will take suitable steps to stop the risk of additional misdemeanours. 

Here is a list of the areas in which RICS will investigate:

  • Failure to utilise a complaints handling procedure
     
  • Failure to disclose a conflict of interest
     
  • Misuse of clients’ money
     
  • Failure to answer correspondence
     
  • Working with a conviction of a criminal office.

RICS cannot: 

  • Deal with non-RICS members
     
  • Pay compensation on behalf of a member, or instruct a member to pay compensation

  • Determine whether a firm has acted negligently – this is a case for the law courts

  • Become involved in any court action against a Member Firm.

Further information can be found at the RICS website

Comments (6)

  • Geraldine Hagan

    posted on 20 Jul 2013

    I have a friend in Swansea, who employed a Chartered Surveyor and he left her in the lurch, asked her for money which she gave, and did not finish the job. He now refuses to take her telephone calls. Where does she stand? He claims to be a member of RICS.

    Derek hill

    posted on 28 Jan 2015

    Brought property last February after paying for survey. One week after moving into property damp was found along one wall affecting two bedrooms. The survey had no damp meter readings, bearing in mind the property was empty and the surveyor had easy access to all walls. If meter readings were in the report and picked up as high as they obviously were we would not have proceeded with purchase. We have complained and have had to drop our county court case due to the costs. But totally fed up with the arrogance of the surveyor. I will never have a survey done again, it has cost us thousands to fix the problem , a survey really isn't worth the paper it is written on!

    Alister Gillanders

    posted on 26 Jun 2015

    The house construction is wrongly described in the home report this could have an impact on the value of the house and people obtaining a mortgage.

    Andy Whitehouse

    posted on 6 Nov 2015

    Moved into our property in July and within weeks of moving in noticed damp patches rising from a basement bedroom. Paid extra for homebuyers report to cover this and no readings of damp were evident. Spoke to XXXXXXX and was amazed by the arrogance of the visiting surveyor, who dismissed all issues. Complained officially to XXXXXs who investigated and put cause down to condensation. Advised to place no furniture against walls to ensure circulation of air….. Obtained a second opinion that totally disagrees with diagnosis and confirms water ingress. CCTV survey confirmed crack drainpipe as cause. Fed back information to XXXXXXX who have written to say we can refer to The Surveyors Ombudsman where they will defend their position. Presume that this will be a closed shop and a waste of time. Survey not worth the paper it was written on. Feel duped and let down.

    Reallymoving response

    Hi Andy
    Thanks for your comments and sorry to hear the survey didn't pick up the damp from the drainpipe.  However, The Surveyor Ombudsman is an excellent service, run via the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and will, we are sure, provide you win an impartial report that will make recommendations on the next way forward. We strongly support going to the Ombudsman.  Incidentally, the company name has been removed so the investigation is not jeopardised.
     

    Gill Chescoe

    posted on 24 Jan 2017

    I would like to ask where I stand with regards a Chartered Surveyors who was taken on to work jointly with both the owner who is carrying out major works on his house and myself to issue a Party Wall Agreement? I was under the impression that should any damage occur a fair and reasonable compensation claim would be drawn up. This is clearly not the case. He took some photos which are so blurred it is difficult to ascertain where abouts in my house the photos were taken and how bad the cracks are that have appeared. He keeps changing the goal posts so I don't know where I stand. He told me the owner was very foolish to start work prior to the Party Wall Agreement being in place as no claim could be proven otherwise. He told me he would come in December and take some further photos to prove damage has occurred and would be back again in January to take some further photos. I wasn't aware he took any photos on his last visit in December and if he did I have not had the privy to see them. I suggested I walk round with him to show him the new cracks that had appeared but he said he would walk around first and then we would both go round together. The next thing I knew he "shouted up the stairs he was off now"I gave him the list of new cracks that I had documented. I asked him what happens if more damage occurs after the Party Wall Agreement award and he said it doesn't expire. I asked him to come back at the begining of January to see the significant damage caused by next doors works and he said he wouldn't be coming back but to send in the photos. This was duly done but then noticed how appalling his photos actually are in comparison to mine and I am a novice! He is obviously working in conjunction with the builder/owner so he only has to pay out a small amount in compensation if any. I am assuming he was given a small fee for the work done and not considering my rights as the person on the receiving end who needs to be paid for the considerable damage caused to my property. He said he has been paid £1,000 for the Party Wall Agreement but judging from these photos this is hard to believe. He has since refused to acknowledge any of my emails or telephone calls. When I told I was seeking legal advice this still hasn't spurned him into action. It says at the bottom of the Award he belongs to RICS so I am hoping you can advise me of how I proceed to take this further. Surely there must be a Code of Practice and standards that he is obliged to stick to? I have witheld his name but will readily give it to you plus proof of exactly he has done to date and all emails sent and received.

    Reallymoving response

    The RICS expect their regulated surveyors to follow strict Rules of Conduct, which insist that members of the RICS have a Complaints Handling Procedure in place. 

    You can go directly to the RICS to make a complaint and speak to professionals who can advise on your issue further. Take a look at the RICS website for more information.

    Angela Campbell-Stephen

    posted on 7 Mar 2017

    Employed the services of a surveyor to carry out a full structural building survey on a bungalow I was purchasing. After I moved in I noticed plaster was coming off the walls when stripping wall paper and the whole of an internal wall was moving (which has subsequently had to be rebuilt). The survey did not mention the moving wall and only stated in the report that there were some patches of hollow plaster which he stated "could be made good on redecoration". In fact not only did I have to have the internal wall rebuilt, I have had to take every wall back to brickwork, re plaster board and re plaster. I would not deem this as redecoration this is total refurbishment. When I complained to the surveyor he just sighted the fact I had signed his t&c's and he is not admitting any negligence whatsoever. The irony is the surveyor wouldn't carry out the survey or produce the report without his t&c's being signed so they have you over a barrel from the outset and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. Surveys are not worth the paper they are written on or the money you pay for them. Definitely wouldn't have a survey again complete waste of time and money. The complaints process is utterly useless, if you want to get any money back you have to take them to court which means more expense and money you probably don't have as you have had to find additional funds to put right defects that you didn't know existed because your surveyor didn't pick up on them and gave you the confidence to buy a complete dump of a property. In my opinion complete shame of a profession and a disgrace!

    Reallymoving response

    If you are unhappy with the service provided by your Chartered Surveyor, follow the complaints procedure on the RICS website, a professional body responsible for ensuring that professionals and firms meet the requirements of their Rules of Conduct.

    As a Chartered Surveyor, one of the requirements of RICS membership is that a member must maintain a policy of Professional Indemnity Insurance from an RICS approved insurer as PII protects members of the public engaging a Chartered Surveyor's services from professional negligence.

    For further advice, read more information about what protection you have if something is missed in a survey.

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