GENERAL CONDITIONS OF ENGAGEMENT

If you have commissioned a Building Survey, clauses 1 to 12 apply.

If you have commissioned a Homebuyers or Condition Report, clauses 1 to 9 and 13 to 21 apply.

If you have commissioned a Valuation, clauses 1 to 9 and 22 to 25 apply.

1. General

1.1 These terms and conditions apply to the services to be provided by White Horse Surveyors Limited in accordance with the instructions received from the Client, as named in the attached letter of engagement. Both the attached letter and these terms and conditions form the basis of the contract between White Horse Surveyors Ltd and the Client.

1.2 Subject to express agreement to the contrary and any agreed amendments/additions, the terms on which the Surveyor will undertake the Survey are set out below.

1.3 None of the Company’s employees, directors or consultants individually has a contract with the Client or owes the Client a duty of care or personal responsibility. The Client agrees that they will not bring any claim against any such individuals personally in connection with the valuation or report.

1.4 Should the Client suffer loss as a result of any breach of contract or negligence on the part of the Company, our liability shall be limited to a just and equitable proportion of that loss having regard to the extent of responsibility of any other party. Our liability shall not increase by reason of a shortfall in recovery from any other party, whether that shortfall arises from an agreement between the Client and them, the Client’s difficulty in enforcement of any other cause.

1.5 White Horse Surveyors Ltd will, unless otherwise expressly agreed, rely upon information provided by the Client, the Client’s legal or other professional advisers of the vendor/lessor (where appropriate) relating to tenure, tenancies and other relevant matters.

1.6 We will process your personal data in accordance with the law for the purpose of providing the these and future services to you.  The nature of the data we process is your; name, address, telephone number, email address and house information.  We may at times disclose your personal data to Genle Ltd t/a GOTO Group to contact you about the provision of relevant services.  These services may include, but are not limited to Auctions, Conveyancing, Surveys, Mortgages, EPC’s, Floorplans and Removals services.  We will only transfer personal data where there is adequate protection and is restricted to the relevant purpose.  If you would like to opt out of these communications from White Horse Surveyors Ltd or Genle Ltd, you may do so by sending an email to sales@whitehorsesurveyors.co.uk.

1.7 It will not be possible for applicants that are not the vendors to accompany the Surveyor on an inspection.

1.8 Should the Surveyor be unable to access any part of the property due to circumstances outside of their control a £100 re-inspection fee will apply should you wish those parts of the property to be included in the Report.

2. Fees and Expenses

2.1 The Client will pay White Horse Surveyors the agreed fee, as per our covering letter, for the Report and any expressly agreed disbursements in addition. VAT will be payable in addition.  By paying the fee you agree to these terms and conditions.

2.2 The report will not be issued until the fee has been paid in full.

2.3 If the instruction has come from a Lender or Panel this clause 2 does not apply unless you have received a quote directly from White Horse Surveyors.

2.4 Bank details for White Horse Surveyors are as follows:

Natwest Bank – Hornchurch

Account Name – White Horse Surveyors Ltd

Sort Code – 60 24 77

Account No – 18289908

2.5 When paying by bank transfer please include under the reference the postcode and first line of address of the property being surveyed.

3. The Materials, Construction, Services, Fixtures and Fittings, and so on (Clauses 3.1 to 3.5 do not apply where you have purchased a Remote Valuation).

3.1 Unless otherwise expressly stated in the Report, the Surveyor will assume that no deleterious or hazardous materials or techniques have been used in the construction of the property. However, the Surveyor will advise in the report if, in his view, there is a likelihood that high alumina cement (HAC) concrete has been used in the construction and that, in such cases, specific enquiries should be made or tests carried out by a specialist.

3.2 Where visible, lead water supply pipes and asbestos will be noted, and advice given.

3.3 The Surveyor will advise if there are transformer stations or overhead power lines which might give rise to an electro-magnetic field, either over the subject property or visible immediately adjacent to the property, but the Surveyor cannot assess any possible effect on health.  The Surveyor cannot report on any underground cables.

3.4 The Surveyor will not carry out an asbestos inspection, and will not act as an asbestos inspector when inspecting properties that may fall within the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006.  With flats, the Surveyor will assume that there is a duty holder (as defined in the regulations), and that an asbestos register and an effective management plan is in place which does not need any immediate payment or present a significant risk to health.  The Surveyor will not consult the duty holder.

3.5 The Surveyor will assume that an inspection of those parts which have not yet been inspected would not reveal significant defects or cause the surveyor to alter their valuation;

3.6 The valuation does not take account of any furnishings, removable fittings and sales incentives of any description.

3.7 The surveyor will assume that;

  1. Mains services and the roads giving access to the property have been adopted;
  2. That in the case of a new property for which the construction has not been completed, the construction will be satisfactorily completed; and
  3. That in the case of a newly constructed property, the builder is a registered member of the NHBC or equivalent and has registered the subject property in accordance with the scheme concerned; and
  4. That where the property is part of a building comprising flats or maisonettes, unless instructed or otherwise aware to the contrary, the cost of repairs and maintenance to the building and grounds are shared proportionately between all the flats and maisonettes forming part of the block, and that there are no onerous liabilities outstanding.

4. Contamination

4.1 The Surveyor will not comment upon the existence of contamination as this can only be established by appropriate specialists. Where, from their local knowledge or the inspection, they consider that contamination might be a problem they will advise as to the importance of obtaining a report from an appropriate specialist.

5. Consents, Approvals and Searches

5.1  The Surveyor will assume that:

  1. the property is not subject to any unusual or onerous restrictions or covenants which apply to the structure or affect the reasonable enjoyment of the property.
  2. all bye-laws, Building Regulations and other consents required have been obtained. In the cases of new buildings, and alterations and extensions which require statutory consents or approvals, the Surveyor will not verify whether such consents have been obtained. Any enquiries should be made by the Client or their legal advisers. Drawings and specifications will not be inspected by the Surveyor.
  3. the property is unaffected by any matters which would be revealed by a Local Search (or their equivalent in Scotland and Northern Ireland) and replies to the usual enquiries, or by a Statutory Notice, and that neither the property, nor its condition, its use, or its intended use, is or will be unlawful.
  4. the property is sold with ‘vacant possession’ (your legal adviser can give you more information on this term);
  5. the condition of the property, or the purpose that the property is, or will be, used for does not break any laws;
  6. for leasehold properties, there is a fixed ground rent and service charge which does not exceed £250 and £1,000 respectively. If the property is inside London, the Surveyor will assume there is a fixed ground rent of £1,000 and service charge of £5,000.

5.2 The Surveyor will report any more assumptions they have made or found not to apply.  If the property is leasehold, the report will explain what other assumptions the surveyor has made.

6. Complaints Procedure

6.1 White Horse Surveyors has a formal complaints procedure in the unlikely event of dissatisfaction. A copy of this Procedure will be provided on request.

7. Cancellation Policy

7.1 If you have specifically ordered a survey to be provided or the Inspection you have booked takes place during the 14-day cooling off period you will not be entitled to a refund for service already provided to you or an Inspection which has taken place before the date of cancellation, even if the 14-day period has not expired.

7.2 Our cancellation policy is relevant within as well as outside the 14-day cooling off period and is:

a) If you cancel within 5 working days prior to the appointment date, there will be a administration fee off £99.

b) If you cancel on the day, full charges will apply.

c) All cancellation must be notified in writing at least 5 working days prior to the appointment otherwise charges in 7.2 (b) apply.

7.3 If you have purchased the cancellation policy with your survey, 7.2 a, is not applicable and you will only be charged the £19, however 7.2 b, is applicable and all cancellations must be in writing by 5.00pm the working day prior to the appointment, otherwise the full fee applies.

8. Restriction on Disclosure

8.1 The report to be provided shall be confidential to the Client for the specific purpose to which it refers.  It may be disclosed to the Client’s professional advisers, but it shall not be disclosed to any other person, nor reproduced in whole or in part without the prior written consent from the applicant, to specify who they would like it disclosed to.

8.2 The Surveyor will accept responsibility to the Client alone that the report will be prepared with skill and care reasonable to be expected of a competent Valuer but accepts no responsibility whatsoever to any other person other than the Client.

9. Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999

9.1 Our liability in respect of this report is limited to you as our Customer.  There is no intention to confer any third party right as described in the Contracts (Right of Third Parties) Act 1999.

ADDITIONAL CONDITIONS OF ENGAGEMENT IF YOU HAVE ENGAGED WHITE HORSE SURVEYORS TO UNDERTAKE A BUILDING SURVEY

The Service

10. The Surveyor

10.1 Based on an inspection as defined below, the Surveyor, who will be appropriately qualified will advise the Client by means of a written Report as to his opinion of the visible condition and state of repair of the property where visible.

11. The Inspection

11.1 Accessibility and Voids

The Surveyor will inspect as much of the surface area of the structure as is practicable but will not inspect those areas which are covered, unexposed or not reasonably accessible.

11.2 Floors

The Surveyor will lift accessible sample loose floorboards and trap doors, if there are any, which are not covered by heavy furniture, ply or hardboard, fitted carpets or other fixed floor coverings.

11.3 Roofs

The Surveyor will inspect the roof spaces if there are available hatches.  Please note that hatches over stairs will not be considered accessible.  The Surveyor will have a ladder of sufficient height to gain access to a roof hatch or to a single storey roof, not more than 3.0 m (10’0”) above the floor or adjacent ground. It might therefore not be possible to inspect roofs above this level; in such cases, pitched roofs will be inspected by binoculars. The Surveyor will follow the guidance given in Surveying Safely issued by the RICS in April 1991, which incorporates the guidance given in Guidance Note INDG405 on the safe use of ladders and step ladders issued by the Health and Safety Executive.

11.4 Boundaries, Grounds and Outbuildings

Buildings with swimming pools and sports facilities are also treated as permanent outbuildings, but the Surveyor will not report on the leisure facilities, such as the pool itself and its equipment, landscaping and other facilities (for example, tennis courts and temporary outbuildings).

11.5 Services

The Surveyor will only carry out a visual inspection where accessible and practicable of the service installations. Please note it may not be possible to lift some Inspection Chamber covers. No tests will be applied. The Surveyor will report if, as a result of their inspection, they consider that tests are advisable and, if considered necessary, an inspection and report by a specialist should be obtained.

11.6 Areas not inspected

The Surveyor will note in their report if they were not able to check any parts of the property that the inspection would normally cover. If the Surveyor is concerned about these parts, the report tells you about any further investigations that are needed.  The Surveyor will not report on the cost of any work to put right defects or make recommendations on how these repairs should be carried out. However, there is general advice in the ‘What to do now’ section at the end of the report.

11.7 Flats

11.7.1 Unless otherwise agreed, the Surveyor will inspect only the subject flat and garage (if any), the related internal and external common parts and the structure of the building in which the subject flat is situated. Other flats or properties will not be inspected.

11.7.2 The surveyor will not enter on to any Private land that is not in control of the vendor.

11.7.3 The Surveyor will state in his Report any restrictions on accessibility to the common parts or visibility of the structure. The Surveyor will state whether he has seen a copy of the lease and, if not, the assumptions as to repairing obligations on which he is working.

11.7.4 The Client is reminded that, particularly on the case of large blocks, the object of the inspection is to give guidance on the general standard of construction and maintenance, pointing out those items which will require attention within, say, the next decade and not to list those minor points which would normally be taken care of in the course of routine maintenance.

11.7.5 Many flats form part of large developments consisting of several blocks. In such cases the Surveyor will be inspecting only the one block in which the flat is situated.

12. Market Value and Cost of Repairs

12.1 The Report will not include a market value of the property unless specifically agreed between the Surveyor and client at extra cost.

12.2 Where the Surveyor has agreed to express their opinion on the market value of the freehold/leasehold interest in the property, the Surveyor will meet the relevant requirements of the RICS Appraisal and Valuation Manual.

12.3 The figure will represent the market value which is defined as the best price at which the sale of an interest in the property might reasonably be expected to have been completed unconditionally for cash consideration at the date of the valuation assuming:

  1. a willing seller;
  2. that, prior to the date of valuation, there had been a reasonable period (having regard to the nature of the property and the state of the market) for the proper marketing of the interest, for the agreement of price and terms for the completion of the sale;
  3. that the state of the market, level of values and other circumstances were, on any earlier assumed date of exchange of contracts, the same as on the date of valuation;
  4. that no account is taken of any additional bid by a purchaser with a special interest; and
  5. that both parties to the transaction had acted knowledgeably, prudently and without compulsion.

12.4 The report will not include a cost of repairs unless specifically agreed between the surveyor and client at extra cost.  If contracted for, this covers any repairs the surveyor identifies that would need to be addressed together with an approximate cost to rectify the faults. This is calculated using RICS guidelines in conjunction with the surveyor’s knowledge and experience.

ADDITIONAL CONDITIONS OF ENGAGEMENT IF YOU HAVE ENGAGED WHITE HORSE SURVEYORS TO UNDERTAKE A HOMBUYERS OR CONDITION REPORT

The Service

13. The Surveyor

13.1 Based on an inspection as defined below, the Surveyor, who will be appropriately qualified will advise the Client by means of a written Report as to his opinion of the visible condition and state of repair of the property.

14. The Inspection

14.1 The Surveyor inspects the inside and outside of the main building and all permanent outbuildings, but does not force or open up the fabric.  This means that they do not take up carpets, floor coverings or floorboards, move furniture, remove the contents of cupboards, remove secured panels or undo electrical fittings.  If necessary, the Surveyor will carry out parts of the inspection when standing at ground level from public property next door.

14.2 The Surveyor may use equipment such as a damp-meter, binoculars and torch, and may use a ladder for flat roofs and for hatches no more than three metres above level ground (outside) or floor surfaces (inside) if it is safe to do so.

15. Services to the Property

15.1 Services are often hidden within the construction of the property and, as a result, only the visible parts of the available services can be inspected.  The Surveyor will not carry out specialist tests or test or assess the efficiency of electrical, gas, plumbing, heating or drainage installations (or whether they meet current regulations) or the inside condition of any chimney, boiler or flue.

16. Outside the Property

16.1 The Surveyor inspects the condition of boundary walls, fences, permanent outbuildings and areas in common (shared) use where feasible.  To inspect these areas, the Surveyor walks around the grounds of the subject property.

17. Flats

17.1 When inspecting flats, the Surveyor will assess the general condition of outside surfaces of the building, as well as its access areas (shared hallways, staircases and so on).  The Surveyor will inspect roof spaces only if they can gain access to them from within the subject property.  The Surveyor will not inspect drains, lifts, fire alarms and security systems.

17.2 The Surveyor will state in his Report any restrictions on accessibility to the common parts or visibility of the structure. The Surveyor will state whether he has seen a copy of the lease and, if not, the assumptions as to repairing obligations on which he is working.

17.3 The Client is reminded that, particularly on the case of large blocks, the object of the inspection is to give guidance on the general standard of construction and maintenance, pointing out those items which will require attention within, say, the next decade and not to list those minor points which would normally be taken care of in the course of routine maintenance.

17.4 Many flats form part of large developments consisting of several blocks. In such cases the Surveyor will be inspecting only the one block in which the flat is situated.

18. The Report

18.1 The report focuses on matters that, in the Surveyor’s opinion, may affect the value of the property if they are not dealt with.  The report will be produced in a format that complies with the RICS approved format and use the same condition ratings.

18.2 If, during the inspection, the Surveyor identifies issues that your legal advisers may need to investigate further, the Surveyor will refer to these in the report and will give you general advice and details of questions you should ask your legal advisers.

18.3 The Surveyor reports on property-related risks or hazards that will include defects that need repairing or replacing, as well as issues that cannot be reasonably changed but may present a health and safety risk or hazard.

19. Market Value

19.1 Where you have purchased the option for a valuation and the Surveyor has agreed to express his opinion on the market value of the freehold/leasehold interest in the property, the Surveyor will meet the relevant requirements of the RICS Appraisal and Valuation Manual.

19.2 The figure will represent the market value which is defined as the best price at which the sale of an interest in the property might reasonably be expected to have been completed unconditionally for cash consideration at the date of the valuation assuming:

a) a willing seller;

b) that, prior to the date of valuation, there had been a reasonable period (having regard to the nature of the property and the state of the market) for the proper marketing of the interest, for the agreement of price and terms for the completion of the sale;

c) that the state of the market, level of values and other circumstances were, on any earlier assumed date of exchange of contracts, the same as on the date of valuation;

d) that no account is taken of any additional bid by a purchaser with a special interest; and

e) that both parties to the transaction had acted knowledgeably, prudently and without compulsion.

20. Reinstatement cost

20.1 If you have opted and paid for a market valuation the report will include a reinstatement cost unless one can only be provided by a specialist (for example, some listed properties and/or those of unusual construction).

21. RICS Homebuyer/Condition Service

21.1 The Surveyor will provide either the standard RICS Homebuyer Service or Condition Report (‘the service’) described in the ‘Description of the RICS Homebuyer Service/Condition Report’, unless you and the Surveyor agree in writing before the inspection that the Surveyor will give you additional advice.

21.2 You will tell the Surveyor if there is already an agreed, or proposed, price for the property, and if you have any concerns (such as plans for extension) about the property.

ADDITIONAL CONDITIONS OF ENGAGEMENT IF YOU HAVE ENGAGED WHITE HORSE SURVEYORS TO UNDERTAKE A VALUATION

22. The Report

22.1 The report to be provided in accordance with the Client’s instructions is a valuation and not a Building Survey or Homebuyers Report.

22.2 The report will be valid for 3 months from the date on the report.  The Valuation can be renewed by way of a Desktop Valuation (at a fee of £150 or half the original fee whichever is higher including VAT) provided we are notified of this within 10 working days of the expiry date.  It should be appreciated that, due to changes in the property market, this value may differ from that which is provided within the original report.  We are only able to provide 1 desktop valuation report before a whole new valuation is required.  A Remote Valuation cannot be extended.

22.3 The Surveyor will express their opinion of the value/rental value of the freehold/leasehold interest in the property as specified by the Client, as at the date of the report.  Where a Remote Valuation has been purchased, the price will be based on a property in average condition.

22.4 In making the report, the Surveyor will meet the relevant requirements of the RICS Valuation Global Standards 2017 (UK Edition).

22.5  The valuation may be investigated by the RICS for the purposes of administering the Institution’s conduct and disciplinary regulations.

23. Purpose

23.1 The purpose for which the valuation is required has been agreed between the Client and the Surveyor.

24. Market Value

24.1 Where White Horse Surveyors has agreed to express their opinion on the market value of the freehold/leasehold interest in the property, the Surveyor will meet the relevant requirements of the RICS Appraisal and Valuation Manual.

24.2 The figure will represent the market value which is defined as the best price at which the sale of an interest in the property might reasonably be expected to have been completed unconditionally for cash consideration at the date of the valuation assuming:

a) a willing seller;

b) that, prior to the date of valuation, there had been a reasonable period (having regard to the nature of the property and the state of the market) for the proper marketing of the interest, for the agreement of price and terms for the completion of the sale;

c) that the state of the market, level of values and other circumstances were, on any earlier assumed date of exchange of contracts, the same as on the date of valuation;

d) that no account is taken of any additional bid by a purchaser with a special interest; and

e) that both parties to the transaction had acted knowledgeably, prudently and without compulsion.

24.3 Where a Remote Valuation has been purchased, the price will be based on a property in average condition.

25. Inspections

25.1 The Surveyor shall carry out such inspections and investigations as are, in the Surveyors professional judgement, appropriate and possible in the particular circumstances.

25.2 Whilst the Surveyor shall have regard to the apparent state of repair and condition of the property, the Surveyor will not carry out a survey of the structure, nor will the Surveyor inspect woodwork of any other parts of the structure which are covered, unexposed or inaccessible.  The Surveyor will not arrange for the testing of electrical, heating or other services and the drains will not be exposed.  Thus, the Surveyor will be unable to report that any such parts of the structure or service installations are free from defects which may materially affect the value.  No warranty as to the general condition or stability of the property can be given or implied because of these factors.

26. Remote Valuation Only

26.1 Where a Remote Valuation has been the purchased, Clause 26 also applies.  For avoidance of doubt, if there is a contradiction between Clause 26 and Clauses 22 to 25, this Clause 26 applies.

26.2 A Remote Valuation will not involve an inspection of the property and therefore cannot be relied upon for any other than information purposes.  Should you wish to commission a full inspection and valuation we reserve the right to amend our opinions of value based upon our findings on site.

26.3 The Surveyor will assume that the property is in a reasonable state of repair consistent with its age and type of construction.

26.4 As there is no inspection the report will not include any commentary on the general state of repair or condition of the property.

For a downloadable PDF of these terms, click here.