Paul Walton on Professional Negligence and the Property Market

Professional Negligence has become a buzz sector over recent times as we become more aware of the need for better advice from those we trust. I’ve seen a real upturn in certain kinds of claims that can often be determined by economic and social trends. We all know that the North West property market has had a torrid few years and here are a few of my thoughts on what’s been happening and the most common issues investors and private clients face.

In a rising property market, and with a buoyant economy, errors are frequently buried by inflated values of properties.    In the current recession, with prices remaining static or falling, claims against the experts have become much more common.

Cases against valuers can relate to mis-description of properties or errors in valuation, providing that it can be established that the client relied on these valuations.  The Court normally allows a margin for error of some 10-12.5%, depending on the circumstances.

Whilst for Architects, errors in design can sometimes be overlooked if the property value has risen significantly but in a depressed commercial market those errors can have a significant impact.

As regard to property transactions, again errors by solicitors can be buried if there has been a significant increase in prices. What cannot be buried is a failure by a solicitor to register an Option to Purchase nor a failure to include a Rent Review provision in a lease.   These are just two of many examples where a failure by a solicitor can result in loss to the client.

All of these scenarios are happening everyday and can currently be pursued via a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) which is more commonly known as ‘no win no fee basis’. However, as a result of the recent Jackson Report recommendations have been made to the Government which could see the scrapping of this option so the message for clients is this; if you think you have a professional negligence claim in today’s tough property market then seek legal advice this year whilst CFAs are still available.

For further information or a free consultation as to whether you have a claim contact email Paul or contact him on 0161 832 3304.

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