previous house owners conveyancing dispute

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    I think you may be up against the law of limitation here.

    As to any action against the previous owner, the time limit is six years, so any claim against them is ruled out.

    As to the surveyor, the time limit is a bit more complicated. The time limit for professional non-medical negligence is (a) six years or (b) three years from the date you have sufficient knowledge that you have a right to sue if the period expires later than six years, though no claim can be made after fifteen years.

    Before considering if you are out of time, there is obviously the question of whether you have the basis of a claim. I was never a litigator, but the following points occur to me. First, the survey mentions possible rising damp. That may be enough for the surveyor to defeat the claim. Secondly, after the lapse of time and without the assistance of the previous owner, it is going to be difficult to show what the position was when the surveyor inspected which leaves the argument that the situation has since got worse.

    As to the time limit, the six year period has expired. That means that you need to prove that you only became aware of the problem within the last three years.(or to be precise not more than three years before you issue proceedings). From what you say that does not seem to be the case.It is going to be difficult to persuade a court otherwise because of the nature of the problem.

    Given the above, I think that the suggestion that you should forget legal action and concentrate on sorting out the problem has to be a wise one. Bear in mind that the surveyor does not need technical advice and that his legal costs will be covered by his professional insurance. You can by all means get advice from a solicitor specialising in professional negligence, but these days solicitors seem to want 400 pounds just to open the door. I think any sound advice is going to be that the chance of success is somewhat less than 50%. Apart from that, any legal action is, apart from being prohibitively expensive if you lose, going to be drawn out and stressful and best avoided with your medical condition.

    I think that what you should do is get the problem sorted out with a full report from the builder. You can then write to the surveyor with the report asking for the cost of repair to be refunded. If you are lucky you may get a contribution if you persist. You should at the very least insist on a refund of the survey fee.


      thank you so very much Lawcruncher for your advice. you really are so kind to take the time going in to so much detail
      and also thank you everyone else. what a wonderful site. really makes me feel so much better.
      l have to mention also, makes me laugh out loud every time l read,...... " you are waffling again Ronald"


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