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What To Do When Your Survey Reveals Problems | Adverse Surveys

Adverse survey Conveyancing

Adverse Surveys

If your survey reveals property defects it is not for your Conveyancer to comment.   A survey relates to the condition of the property which is outside of your Conveyancer's expertise. Your Conveyancer deals with legal issues and title defects only.

The condition of the property is something you, and your surveyor, or any experts you wish to instruct, should discuss. You will need to take a view on any issues revealed.

The only advice your Conveyancer can give is to suggest that you reveal the survey results to the Estate Agents and use this to re-negotiate the price. This is only applicable where the issues are significant and works are required.

NB: Any price change agreed MUST be reported to your mortgage lender and a new mortgage offer issued. This will mean a delay while waiting for the new mortgage offer.


The only part of the survey relevant to your Conveyancer is headed “Issues for legal advisor”.  

It may contain statements like the below, which are extracted from a survey...

A) Building Regulations

You should ask your Conveyancer to check whether Local Authority notifications, approvals and completion certificates have been obtained for structural alterations. They should also confirm that all statutory inspections have been made and appropriate completion certificates issued. If regulations have been breached or work carried out without the necessary approvals and certificates, then extensive and costly alteration works may be needed to ensure compliance.

B) Guarantees

You should ask your Conveyancer to check for the existence, validity and transferability of guarantees/warranties and certificates for any items detailed within this survey. Any such guarantees/warranties should be transferable to you as the new owner. The extent of any work should also be confirmed.

C) Other matters

Your Conveyancer should confirm:

Freehold or Leasehold - that the property is freehold (or leasehold) and free of any encumbrances.

Boundaries - the ownership, extent, and precise location of the property's boundaries should be confirmed and any liability for maintenance explained.

Electricity - that a circuit test is available from an NICEIC or equivalent registered electrician.

Gas - If a valid safety test is available from a Gas Safe registered engineer.

Heating/Water Heating - If a valid safety test is available from a Gas Safe registered engineer.

[Your survey may state that your Conveyancer should ensure that the gas & electrics are checked but in reality the seller is not legally obliged to do this and if you want them checked you must arrange and pay]


Your Conveyancer will be looking for title issues or things which affect lender security. Such as missing planning permissions, building regulations consents, missing rights of way or breaches of covenants (conditions) in the deeds.

Conveyancers do NOT check gas or electrics or physical condition.

You must let your Conveyancer know about any alterations or extensions as they will NOT attend at the property. They will be unaware of any alterations unless you tell them.

The Seller’s Property Information Form (SPIF) may reveal things like a boiler installed or electrical rewiring. Both require Building Regulations Consent when installed.

Your Conveyancer can raise enquiries of the seller’s Conveyancer if they suspect there are any alterations (or installations) without Planning Permission or Building Regulations Consent.

Your Conveyancer will report to you on the legal title and the searches. It is up to you to review the same and speak to your Conveyancer about any discrepancies or concerns.

The seller is NOT required to have the property condition checked for you.  As a result, your Conveyancer will always advise you to obtain your own survey and tests.


Buyer Beware applies and means the property is sold “as is” or subject to all defects.  It is vital that you carry out searches, inspections, and survey. This will ensure that you are aware of any defects.  From completion you will take the property subject to the same.

Your Conveyancer can offer no guarantee regarding the physical condition of the property.

It is advisable that you carry out a final inspection before exchange and completion.

Your Conveyancer is unable to confirm that the responses given by the seller, or their Conveyancer, are correct.  They can only report to you what has been stated in the seller's replies to enquiries.

See also my articles on:

• Searches & Survey

• Buyer Beware

• Alrerations | Common Projects


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