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What if things go wrong

From the moment you first decide to move, the cost clock starts ticking. The whole process can be daunting - where exactly do you start?

That's why we've put together this three-part guide to make life a little easier for you.

When things go wrong

Your Rights When Things Go Wrong

Moving house is always a stressful time, even when things go smoothly. Here are a few tips for what to do if a problem does arise.

The survey

  • If you find a serious fault which was not known at the time of purchase, you first need to check the scope of the survey you commissioned.
  • A lender's survey simply verifies the loan for the lender - you cannot rely on it to find serious structural problems. This is why many purchasers, particularly of older properties, prefer to pay for a more expensive independent survey.
  • If you think your surveyor should have found the fault, then raise the matter with the surveyor's firm concerned. They will have an internal complaints procedure.
  • Your surveyor will be a member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, so you can also involve their arbitration scheme.
  • If the worse happens and structural faults arise after you have bought your home - consult the Citizens Advice Bureau or a lawyer and sue.

The Solicitor or Conveyancer

  • You may have a complaint over service, charges or financial loss.
  • Consult the complaints procedure provided by the Supervision of Solicitors, the Law Society itself or the Council for Licensed Conveyancers.

The Removal Firm

  • Make sure you use one registered with the British Association of Removers.
  • Ensure you are fully insured - either through their insurance or your own

The Estate Agent

  • Before commissioning one, check they are in the voluntary Ombudsmen of Estate Agents scheme. Not everyone is but it helps.
  • As a seller, remember to ask family and friends about their experience of local agents - do this before you sign any contract.
  • Read any contract thoroughly before signing.
  • The 1991 Property Misdescriptions Act is designed to stop incorrect or misleading descriptions.

New Build

  • New homes are guaranteed for 10 years under schemes run by the National Building Council or Zurich assurance (01252 522000).
  • They also offer an arbitration service to stop disputes escalating.


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