Q We’ve recently had an offer accepted on a property. The survey report we had done includes a long list of problems that we weren’t expecting including structural problems with the bay window and spray insulation in the loft. We’ve shared the risks section of the report with the seller and need to book further assessments with a structural engineer and roofer before the surveyor can provide a valuation. The seller wants to see a full copy of the report. Should we share it? We spent a large sum of money on a reputable surveyor who has advised they are being cheeky demanding a copy but in the interest of opening renegotiations on the price (pending the results of further investigations, of course) we are not sure if we should share it or not. Your advice would be appreciated.
A Your surveyor is right. The seller is being cheeky in demanding a copy of the full report. In the words of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics): “A seller doesn’t have any right to see a copy of the report unless the buyer chooses to disclose them. The surveyor must not discuss the report’s actual or likely contents with the seller without the buyer’s knowledge and consent.”
That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t share – as you have done – specific parts of the survey with the seller as it shows that you have a valid reason to renegotiate the price of a property. It would have been in the seller’s interests for them to have commissioned their own survey – such as a Rics condition report – before putting their property on the market. This would have given them the chance to deal with any structural problems or to put a more realistic price on the property to reduce the risk of further negotiations on the price.
As it is, if the seller is not happy with what you are asking – although I don’t think it’s that taxing to have a couple of visits from a structural engineer and roofer – they can simply pull out of the sale. But in some ways that would be cutting off their nose to spite their face, so maybe you should ask them either to reduce the price or to get any remedial work done themselves.
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