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Squirrell v Bradleys Surveyors Ltd [2011] All ER (D) 188 (Nov)

December 21, 2011

Squirrell v Bradleys Surveyors Ltd [2011] All ER (D) 188 (Nov)

Squirrell had exchanged contracts on a number of properties, but had not arranged for finances for the purchases. Squirrell obtained an offer of finance subject to a valuation. Bradleys, the surveyors, competed that valuation and provided it to the lender.

Bradleys discovered that the valuation of the properties had been inflated and withdrew its valuation to the lender. As a consequence the finance collapsed and the purchases could not proceed. Squirrell claimed damages for breach of contract and/or negligence resulting from the withdrawal of the valuation.

The Queen’s Bench Division held that no duty of care existed between Bradleys and Squirrell. He also held that it would not be fair and reasonable for Bradleys to be liable to Squirrell for losses from his failure to secure funds for his purchases.

The judge also made comments which followed the decision of the case in Scullion v Royal Bank of Scotland Plc. He said that if Squirrell had been allowed to rely on the valuation to purchase the property he still would not have held that a duty of care existed between Bradleys and Squirrell.

There is a distinction between a commercial purchaser, who is seeking to buy a property for investment purposes and a normal residential purchaser.

A commercial purchaser is more astute and is expected to obtain his or her own valuation and survey as opposed to private purchasers who are seeking to buy a property for a residence and may be able to rely on the valuation.

Click here to read our page on Surveyors Negligence.