Property Law Q & A July 2011

Mohammed Nazir, head of Wosskow Brown's property and immigration departments writes regularly in the publication ILM, which is popular in the Asian community.  His articles are published in English and in Urdu.  Here is Mohammed's article that was published in July 2011.

 Q.           Please advise me on the difference between a lenders survey and a home buyers  survey.

A.           If you are borrowing money from the bank or building society by way of a mortgage then your bank or building society instruct their surveyors to survey the property and determine the valuation. However, this survey is not for you to rely on for your purchase purposes as the bank’s surveyor does not owe any duty of care to you (you cannot hold him liable for negligence)

The home buyer’s survey is a special survey for the home buyers and the surveyor conducts a detailed report about the valuation and any possible faults or defects in the property. If in future there is any fault which should be covered in that report and it was not picked up by the surveyor, then he could be liable for negligence and you can claim damages by way of compensation from him.


Q.           Why does the solicitor conduct the searches for the purchase of a property?


A.           The solicitor has to conduct the searches to determine various items, namely rods, maintenance, planning applications, building regulations etc. The mining and water and drainage search contain information about drains, water supply and past mining in the local area. The solicitor should also conduct a chancel and environmental search to determine chancel liability and any possible contaminated land issues. 


Q.           I am buying a property and my solicitor is asking for proof of deposit and my identification documents. Why is this?


A.           Under money laundering rules, solicitors are duty bound to request proof of identification documents from clients as they have to keep these records on file.


Q.           I am buying a property and I want a quick completion. How can this be achieved?


A.           You should apply for the mortgage in advance so one you have found a property then the bank can request a valuation survey. If your bank or building society (mortgage lender) accepts the ‘no search indemnity’, then you can ask your solicitor to put in place this indemnity instead of conduction searches. This should be at the lender whether they accept this sort of indemnity insurance. Most lenders have their guidance for solicitors in the CML Handbook.


 Mohammed can be contacted on 0114 256 4796 or by email at

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.