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Hot Topic Highlight – Impact of Hart v Large

Updated: Oct 29, 2023

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What is today's blog about?

In this week’s blog, we look at the impact of the Hart v Large case on residential surveyors. You can read more about the case itself in this blog.

This is essential reading for all RICS APC and AssocRICS candidates on the Residential or Valuation pathways, or any candidates with Valuation as a technical competency.

What is our view on the impact of the case?

Jen Lemen BSc (Hons) FRICS was recently interviewed by the Estates Gazette to discuss the impact of the Hart v Large case.

She commented that:

‘The Hart v Large case set an important precedent for residential surveyors.

The initial reaction was perhaps one of anxiety, but it has promoted plenty of positive change since.

Surveyors are focussing on risk management, through initially advising on the correct survey level and limitations, writing additional reporting clauses relating to PCCs and ensuring that clients are advised clearly.

The emphasis is on ensuring clients and their legal advisors can take the right steps to

make an informed property purchase, particularly where a property has been extended or altered, or, certain features, such as a DPC, are not visible on inspection’.

This summary was informed by the very helpful input of residential surveyors from the Surveyor Hub community on Facebook. Thank you to them for their input!

What is the industry’s view of the case?

Below is some of specific feedback from experienced residential surveyors who have had to deal with the impact of the case on their professional work.

‘Other than recommending the client's legal advisor asks for a PCC if one is available for any alterations/extensions and the client having to accept the risk of unforeseen defects existing if there isn't one, it hasn't affected my practice at all’.

‘Other than having added a couple of lines of standard text about PCCs it has not affected me at all’.

‘We have added a standard line about PCCs and more detail in the new ‘documents we suggest…’ and Section H’.

‘An increased use of the word 'must' rather than 'recommend' or 'should’.

‘I tell my client they must not proceed with the purchase unless there is a valid PCC in the few cases where I feel it is relevant. But I also refer to H v L to explain the reason why I 'must' tell them they 'must' obtain one, i.e., to protect them and to protect me’.

‘I’ve been adding more info on PCCs on major works/extensions’.

‘Advising limitations in greater detail, advising the correct survey initially and placing greater clauses regarding the scope of inspection to our ToE. We have also created clauses regarding PCCs’.

‘ISVA level 2 template comprehensively revised in the light of the judgement. Our level 3 template ditto. Clients do not have to follow the advice and are perfectly entitled to proceed against the advice if they wish’.

‘We've focussed much more on risks in general, but with a particular focus on properties that have been altered. We have much increased the level of information we set out for the legal advisers’.

Many surveyors also reported increased Professional Indemnity Insurance renewal premiums. This is due to a range of factors, but will potentially reflect in part the risk created by the Hart v Large case.

How can we help?

Stay tuned for our next blog post to help build a better you.

N.b. Nothing in this article constitutes legal, professional or financial advice.


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