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Frequently Asked Questions

For further help and advice on general property and surveying topics, along with the services we offer our clients.

About Kempton Carr Croft

  • What are your opening hours

    Our head office in Maidenhead is open from 9:00 – 5.30 Monday to Friday. We will post details of our Christmas shut down period in December each year.

    You can get in touch with us outside of office hours by sending us an email to enquiries@kemptoncarr.co.uk and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

  • What services do you offer?

    As one of the largest independent firms of surveyors in the Thames Valley region, we have a multi-disciplined team that can offer a vast range of property advice and services to suit the needs of developers, investors and occupiers across London and the Thames Valley.

    In broad terms we cover the following services but this is not an exhaustive list. Our advice to you is that if you have any query or requirement relating to commercial or residential property and land either now or in the future, please get in touch with our surveyors in the first instance and they will be able to advise you further on the best course of action to take.

    Building surveying

     

    Commercial leases

    • Schedules of dilapidations
    • Rent reviews
    • Lease renewals
    • Lease advisory
    • Business rate appeals
    • Dispute resolution

     

    Residential leaseholds

     

    Property Management

    • Commercial estates
    • Residential estates
    • Investment portfolios
    • Facilities management
    • Service charges & rent collection
    • Rent reviews & lease renewals
    • Disposals and lettings

     

    Commercial agency

    • Disposals
    • Acquisitions
    • Land Sales

     

    Development

    • Viability studies
    • Site inspections
    • Planning and specifications
    • Project management
    • Market appraisals
    • Sales and marketing of completed schemes

     

    Legal support services

    Expert witness and alternate dispute resolution, litigation & arbitration for:

    • Matrimonial valuations, boundary & party wall disputes, dilapidations, valuations, insurance claims, building contracts, landlord & tenant, professional negligence, restrictive covenants

     

    LPA receivership

    • Receivers for commercial and residential property

     

    Valuations

    Commercial and residential property and land for:

     

    Public sector consultancy

    All of our services can be deployed to public sectors and we have extensive experience in managing large contracts for these types of client.

  • I would like to visit your office

    Due to the nature of our work, our team are often on site at various locations across London and the ThamesVallry region. To ensure the right professional is available to assist you when you visit please call or email in advance to arrange an appointment at one of our offices. We look forward to meeting you and providing solutions to your property requirements.

  • I am looking for a job in the property sector - do you have any vacancies?

    Vacancies we’re currently recruiting for can be found on our job opportunities page however, as a growing firm, we’re always on the lookout for exceptional new talent to join our professional team. If you are a surveyor, valuer or graduate looking to further your career please email your CV and covering letter to Malcolm Kempton.

  • Hiring the right surveyor for your needs

    A good firm of surveyors will be able to ensure a professional resource is available to advise or provide surveying services for a wide variety of requirements.

    To make sure that you hire the best surveyor for your needs, here are our top five considerations:

    1. Relevant experience
    2. Qualifications & regulation
    3. Insurance
    4. References
    5. Attitude

    Read our article on five things to consider when hiring a surveyor where we have expanded on the points above.

  • What does RICS regulated mean?

    The firm is a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the UK’s leading professional body for the property industry.

    The RICS regulates the profession, is responsible for setting professional standards, protects clients and consumers, and provides continuous training requirements required to deliver the highest standards of quality and service.

    Read more about RICs regulation and the peace of mind it provides for our clients.

Commercial agency department

  • Can I view a commercial property at the weekend?

    Our office in Maidenhead is open from 9:00 – 5.30 Monday to Friday. We can occasionally accommodate viewings earlier or later than our opening hours by mutual consent but unfortunatly we’re unable to provide weekend viewings.

  • What is an EPC and how long will it be valid?

    An EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) measures the energy efficiency of a property using a scale of A-G and is valid for 10 years. It is a legal requirement for landlords to have a valid EPC before their property is let. If you don’t have a valid EPC, we will arrange one for you as part of our marketing activity.

  • You are letting/selling my commercial property - do I need to be present for viewings?

    All viewings are conducted by our commercial agency surveyors who will be well placed to advise on the property specifics and any specific questions from the applicants relating to planning, business rates, repairs or renovation that they may have. You can be present if you want to be but most of our clients prefer to let us take care of viewing on their behalf. We can securely hold keys for your property at our offices or arrange collection from you or a specified other before each viewing if preferred.

  • Who will conduct viewings at my property and when will they occur?

    All viewings are conducted by our commercial agency surveyors who will be well placed to advise on the property specifics and any specific questions from the applicants relating to planning, business rates, repairs or renovation that they may have.

    Viewings will be arranged at times that are mutually agreeable to both you as the disposing owner/landlord and the potential incoming tenant or purchaser. You can provide your preferred viewing times at the beginning of the instruction or on an ad-hock basis throughout the marketing period when we notify you of viewing requests.

    If you, or tenants are in occupation at the property we will always provide notice of intended viewings and be as discreet as possible when conducting the viewings so not to cause disruption to any working activity taking place.

    We can securely hold keys for your property at our offices or arrange collection from you or a specified other before each viewing if preferred.

Property management

  • What is a service charge and how is it managed?

    Service charges are collected from occupiers of shared buildings or communal areas within them and made payable to the property owners or the management company acting on their behalf.

    The Service Charge payable for a given year is based on an estimate of costs, so property owners will pay an estimated Service Charge on-account. Once the actual costs incurred during the Service Charge accounting year have been calculated, they are set against the estimated costs to establish whether there was a surplus or deficit of funds.

    The difference between the actual and estimated costs represents the Service Charge adjustment. This is then added to each property owner’s Service Charge account in the form of a credit, where there is a surplus of funds for the year, or a debit if there is a deficit of funds. It is a covenant within each Lease and Transfer that the Service Charge adjustment is paid on demand.

  • What is the difference between freehold and leasehold?

    If you purchase a freehold property, you will own the home and the land it is built on. There may however be a freehold company who owns the estate areas, such as communal car parking or garden areas. If you buy a leasehold property you are actually buying the rights to live in a property for a set period of time. You won’t actually own the structure, or the grounds it is situated on. Most flats are leasehold but provisions exist that allow leaseholders to extend, purchase or collectively purchase the freehold of the building.

Party Walls - The Party Wall Act

  • What is a Party Wall?

    A ‘Party Wall’ stands astride the boundary of land belonging to two (or more) different owners. It could be a wall that is part of one building, separates two (or more buildings) or consists of a ‘party fence wall’.

    A  ‘Party Fence Wall’ is not part of the building but stands astride the boundary line between different owners and is used to separate those lands – for example, a garden fence.

    A ‘Party Wall’ can stand wholly on one owners land but be used by two (or more) owners to separate their buildings. An example of this would be when one owner has built the wall in the first place and another has built their building up against it without constructing their own wall.

    ‘Party structures’ is a wider term that covers walls, floors or other partitions separating buildings or parts of building approached by separate staircases or entrances – flats for example.

    Source: communities and local government the party wall etc. act 1996 explanatory booklet.

  • What is the Party Wall Act?

    The party wall etc. Act 1996 provides a framework for preventing and resolving disputes in relation to Party Walls, Boundary Walls and excavations near neighbouring buildings.

    Anyone intending to carry out work (anywhere in England and Wales) of the kinds described in the act must give adjoining owners notice of their intentions, even if the proposed work does not extend beyond the centre line of the party wall.

    The notice of works enables all parties to agree to the proposals or agree changes to the proposals to the way the work will be carried out.

    Source: communities and local government the party wall etc. act 1996 explanatory booklet.

  • What work is covered by the Party Wall etc. Act 1996?

    • Works that will be carried our directly to an existing party wall
    • New buildings at or astride the boundary line between properties
    • Excavation within 3 or 6 metres of neighbouring buildings or structures.

    Examples of work include

    • building a new wall
    • cutting into a party wall
    • making a party wall taller, shorter or deeper
    • removing chimneys from a party wall
    • knocking down and rebuilding a party wall

    You don’t need to tell your neighbour about minor changes, eg plastering, adding or replacing electrical wiring or sockets, or drilling to put up shelves or cabinets. Source https://www.gov.uk/party-walls-building-works/work-tell-your-neighbour-about

    The key point to consider is whether the proposed works might have consequences for the structural strength and support functions of the party wall as a whole or cause damage to structures on the the adjoining owner’s side of the wall.

    If you are in any doubt if your planned work required notice, you should seek professional advice from a building surveyor.

  • Can the Party Wall Act be used to resolve boundary disputes?

    No. There are no provisions in the act that can be used to resolve boundary disputes. These disputes must be resolved through the courts or by mutual agreement of involved parties through alternative dispute resolution procedures such as mediation or decision by an independent property expert in arbitration. View our dispute resolution page for more information on these services

    For further advice contact enquiries@kemptoncarr.co.uk

  • What is a Building Owner? - Party Wall Act

    In relation to the Party Wall Act, a Building Owner is the party / parties who own the property where works are due to be carried out.

  • What is an Adjoining Owner? - Party Wall Act

    In relation to to the Party Wall Act, an ‘Adjoning Owner’ is the person/people affected by the works due to be carried out by the Building Owner.

    The Adjoining Owner not only refers to the freeholder but also covers the leaseholder and anyone else in occupation.

    Contact enquiries@kemptoncarr.co.uk

  • I am planning building works at my property - Do I need to consider the Party Wall Act or notify my neighbours?

    If any of  the following apply to the proposed building works then the Party Wall Act is likely to be triggered and you will be required to go through statutory proceedure.

    This means you should appoint a Party Wall Surveyor and send them any plans or notices you have.

    • If you are doing work to an existing party wall or shared structure which can include your own chimney.
    • Intending to build on or close to the boundary line
    • If excavating within 3 metres of a building or structure (You should obtain specialist advice as requirements depend on the depth of the foundations)
    • If building further away but still excavating consult the party wall booklet. (if your question still hasn’t been answered, please contact us at enquiries@kemptoncarr.co.uk )

    Contact enquiries@kemptoncarr.co.uk

  • Can I serve notice of works myself?

    In our experience 9/10 self-filed notices are incorrect in someway. With this in mind, we would not recommend trying to serve notice yourself.

    If you do, then later need to instruct a Surveyor, they will have to re-issue the notice if it is incorrect in anyway to ensure the frame work of the Party Wall Act is correctly adhered to.

    It will save you time and money to instruct a Surveyor as soon as you know you intend to conduct building works that are likely to trigger the Party Wall Act so correct procedures can be followed from the start.

    Contact enquiries@kemptoncarr.co.uk

  • Issuing notice - What will a Party Wall Surveyor do?

    If instructed as a Party Wall Surveyor we will:

    • Advise you on the process that needs to be followed
    • Conduct any site visits required
    • Prepare the correct Party Wall Notices
    • Serve the correct Party Wall Notices
    • Act if there is a dispute of any kind
    • Meet with neighbours surveyor if required
    • Prepare Schedule of Condition on neighbours property prior to works commencing
    • Prepare the Party Wall Award
  • Instructing a Party Wall Surveyor - How much will it cost?

    Costs will vary depending on each property in question and vary depending on the complexity of the proposed works and any forseen issues in completing them.

    If you are the Building Owner our costs will include the Appointment of your surveyor and if your neighbours appoint a surveyor you will also be required to pay for them too.

    You should also be aware that if any damage occurs to your neighbours property as a result of the works carried out, you will be required to pay for its repair along with the use of any structures you intend to build up to.

    Appointing a qualified Chartered Building Surveyor experienced in Party Wall Matters will allow you to follow the correct proceedure and minimse the chance of any remedial works cost being required.

    Contact enquiries@kemptoncarr.co.uk

  • When do I need to appoint a Party Wall Surveyor?

    At least 3 months before the proposed building work start date.

    It will likely take less time than this to prepare the required notices but this is ensures plenty of time so you can be confident all the Party Wall procedures are completed and signed off well before work begins.

    The worst case scenario is that you start work before the correct notices have been issued and your neighbours object to this and take you to court to get an injunction to stop building. This can be a very expensive and time consuming proceedure to resolve, especially if you’ve already contracted a builder.

    Contact enquiries@kemptoncarr.co.uk

  • How do I find out who my neighbours are?

    Not everybody knows who they are living next to.

    If this is the case and you don’t feel comfortable asking your neighbours directly then you can visit HM Land Registry  to find out who owns the property or land next door.

    For further help and advice on this contact enquiries@kemptoncarr.co.uk

  • How do I serve notice on my neighbours?

    You don’t.

    You need to contact a specialist – Party Wall Surveyor who can review and ensure the correct notices are generated to cover all the details they need to.

    If you fail to provide correct notice by doing it yourself you may end up not being covered for the type of work you are intending to carry out which can cause problems and expense further down the line.

    For example, notices are required and correct proceedure needs to be followed for gaining access to a neighbours land – if building on or near the boundary line for example.)

    There is a procedure to gain the right to access the land in this instance, if you don’t follow it then you have no right to go on your neighbours land and are trespassing without the statutory permission having been granted.

    The act gives you powers or rights that you wouldn’t normally have e.g. the right to access or ‘trespass’ on their neighbours land so it is of benefit to the building owner (not just a cost) as it allows them to do things they otherwise wouldn’t be able to and save them money in the long term.

    Contact enquiries@kemptoncarr.co.uk

  • Should I / Do I need to consult my solicitor?

    No. All the procedures relating to the Party Wall Act are dealt with by a trained party wall surveyor.

    The act is designed to prevent neighbours having disputes and going to court and is fully actionable by Surveyors.

    It is important to get advice right at the start though so the procedures of the Act are dealt with and enforced correctly from the offset.

    Contact enquiries@kemptoncarr.co.uk

  • What information is required to serve notice?

    • Your name and address
    • Your neighbours name and address (bare in mind there could be more than one neighbour effected)
    • Details of proposed works
    • Site visit by a surveyor – as not all required considerations can be discovered from a map or google earth.

Residential leases

  • How long should my lease be?

    Flats are typically sold on a 99- or 125-year lease, although leaseholds can be as long as 500 or 999 years, especially for ex-council properties.

    As the time remaining on your lease ticks down, it can create challenges when trying to sell your flat as banks and building societies may be unwilling to lend to your buyers. The tipping point is around 80 years as banks like to know that there is at least 50 years left on a leasehold after a mortgage (typically 25 to 30 years) has been paid off.

    If you have a leasehold property and are approaching 80 years left on your lease, you should instruct a surveyor directly or via your solicitor about arranging a lease extension. If you are considering selling your property, we would advise you to get the lease extended at this point in order to get the best price for your sale. You can extend the lease at any point before or after this, as long as you have owned the property for a minimum of two years.

    View our article on this topic for more information.

Surveying

  • I am buying a flat, do I need a building survey?

    Yes. All property should have a full building survey prior to purchase to ensure you make an informed decision on whether or not you should proceed with the sale. Read our article on building surveys for flats to see a case study of how they can save you time and money in the long run.

    As most flats are sold on a leasehold basis, you should find a surveyor with particular expertise in residential leasehold matters as this is a complex area that requires specialist skills and knowledge. We have three surveyors specialising in residential leasehold matters and have a membership with the association of leasehold enfranchisement practitioners.

    As with houses, we would recommend a building survey on all flats to provide a detailed and comprehensive report that can be tailored to suit your requirements.

    To compile a survey on a flat we carry out a full inspection of the subject flat itself, inspect as much of the communal areas as possible and inspect the exterior of the building from ground level, unless access is available elsewhere.

    The eventual report details the condition and construction of the property, highlights faults, advises on repairs needed and we can answer any specific questions you may have on intentions to alter, renovate or extend (if appropriate).

    We endeavour to access as much of the communal areas of possible and comment on their condition and any potential charges you may be faced with via the service charge. We test for dampness to walls and timbers (where accessible), identify damage to timbers including woodworm and rot, comment on damp proofing, and provide technical information of the construction.

    We carry out visual inspections of services, so we are able to comment on the condition and potential upgrading of the electrical installation, we fire up the central heating system and we give a visual inspection of the drainage by lifting man hole covers.

    Ultimately, our building surveys for flats give our clients an informed view of the property and provides additional advice on repairs and solutions.

    We normally aim to turn our reports around within 5 working days however we can always provide you with a verbal report after the survey if needed.

    Do you know how many years are unexpired on the lease? We can offer lease extension advice too. Read our posts on leases and the optimum time for extension for more information.

  • How quickly can you complete a building survey?

    Subject to access, we can turn around a building survey within five working days and are happy to provide a full verbal report following the inspection should this be required before the final written report is completed.

  • Does my mortgage lender's valuation report count as a survey?

    The mortgage lenders valuation report is not a building survey. It is a valuation conducted on the mortgage lenders behalf to determine if the property you want to buy is worth the amount you have agreed to pay for it.

    This way the lender knows the loan will be covered if the property has to be repossessed and sold should you run into difficulties in repaying your mortgage.

    Although the valuation will show up any serious issues likely to affect the property value, it won’t give an indication of its structural condition, so you should always instruct an independent surveyor to carry out a building survey.

    A surveyor acts on your behalf and therefore provides impartial advice on the property that allows you to make an informed decision regarding the condition of the property before deciding wether to proceed with the transaction.

    Note that when buying a new home, a valuation is likely to be sufficient as the property should be covered by the NHBC certificate or build mark. This is essentially a 10 year warranty on the property, but always check this first.

  • What type of survey should I get? Condition, homebuyers or building survey?

    This will depend on a number of factors including the type of property, its age and its location. We’ve outlined options below for your information but if you are in any doubt over the type of survey you need for the property in question please don’t hesitate to call us on 01628 771221 to discuss your options.

    Please note, that as a firm we do not offer homebuyers reports as we don’t feel they provide enough detailed information to allow purchases to make an informed purchasing decision.

    Condition report

    Provides an objective overview of the condition of the property and highlights area of major concern but doesn’t go into detail. This type of survey would be suitable for those buying a modern house in good overall condition. It would also be suitable for sellers or owners wanting to check the condition of the property before putting it on the market so they are aware of any issues they may face regarding their asking price. You will not get a valuation with this type of report.

     

    Homebuyers report

    A homebuyers report is more detailed than a condition survey but by no means a comprehensive report, and is not suitable for properties in need of renovation or major alteration.

    The report is a standardised report that takes the form of a ‘tick box’ exercise which is why they are often the cheaper alternative to a building survey. The price reflects that less time is taken to complete it and the low level of detail or advice that is included.

    Although the report will identify if certain building issues are present it won’t go into detail on the specific defects, how to remedy them or potential costs to cover the repairs needed. Meaning you end up with a report that lists potential problems, if evident, but no solutions.

    The cheaper pricing of a home buyers report is often attractive to financially stretched buyers but in our opinion, the peace of mind that a full building survey offers, far out ways a saving of £200-£300 when considering the enormity of the wider building purchase cost.

    Unfortunatly homebuyers reports can end up being false economy, particularly if there are underlying structural issues at the property that the homebuyers report won’t report on, but could costs thousands to remedy when eventually discovered post purchase.

    As a firm of experienced surveyors, we no longer offer Homebuyer reports as we do not feel that they provide our clients with enough detailed information on the condition of property and lack any great detail. We do however conduct building surveys, and surveys are suitable for every type of property.

    Building surveys

    Sometimes referred to a full survey or a structural survey, a building survey is the most detailed and comprehensive survey available and is compiled following a thorough inspection of all accessible parts of the property.

    A building survey is suitable for every kind of property and particularly recommended for older, larger or non-traditional properties, those that have been extensively altered and those with major conversion or renovation work planned.

    A building survey is fully bespoke report that comments on:

    – The full breakdown of the condition and fabric of the property
    – Diagnosis of defects
    – Repairs and maintenance advice

    As well as highlighting construction details, structural issues, damp and timber defects, life expectancy of material and more, surveys are bespoke reports that can be tailored to your specific needs.

    For example your surveyor can expand on particular areas relating to the suitability for extension should that be a pressing consideration you have, advise on any alterations you may want to make to the property as well as discussing any specific problems or questions you may be worried about.

    Should remedial works be required, we can include estimates and manage the delivery of work and building contracts via our project management services should you want to take up this service.

    A building survey will enable you to make an informed decision on whether to continue with the purchase or not based on the condition of the property, and can be combined with a valuation.

    Costs will vary depending on the size of the property and we aim to turn our reports around within 5 working days.

    We are always able to provide you with a verbal report after the survey if needed. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch to discuss your requirements.

  • What should I tell my surveyor when requesting a building survey?

    When requesting a survey, in order to ensure you get an accurate quotation, it would be helpful to inclcude the following information with your quotation request:

    • Full address
    • Link to the agents online brochure where possible or provide the following info:
    • Type of property (detatched, semi detatched, bungalow, flat etc.)
    • Approximate age
    • Number of bedrooms
    • Agreed sale price

    Once you have accepted you surveyors quote it would be helpful if you could advise on details of any previous planning permissions, alterations or building regulation approvals, service charge budgets or previous service charge accounts (for leasehold houses and flats) that you are aware of but don’t worry if you don’t have information on this as we can make the necessary checks.

     

  • What should I look out for when viewing a property?

    When viewing a property, particularly on a second viewing before making an offer, it makes sense to cast a critical eye over the internal and external structure.

    You should always instruct a quualified surveyor to complete a full building survey on your behalf but knowing what to look for in the early stages can help you spot potential problem areas that may otherwise go unnoticed and prevent unnecessary costs further down the line.

    • Large cracks in the walls or ceilings
    • Signs of damp including mould, peeling wallpaper and damp to touch walls.
    • Condensation issues
    • Crumbling internal woodwork
    • Poor water pressure could be a potential issue
    • Springy floorboards
    • Loft/attic – cracks of daylight and adequate insulation – usually a minimum of 200 mm.
    • Brickwork and pointing quality
    • Check roof for missing titles or sagging
    • Is the guttering in place?
    • Is the chimney in good condition
    • Cracks in eternal walls could mean subsidence
    • Blocked or damaged drains
    • Check for cover up works such as paint or render
    • Large trees with interering roots
    • Doors, windows and frames for signs of rot

Property disputes and their resolution

  • What should I do when a dispute regarding property arises

    In an ideal world property and boundary disputes would not arise but when they do, it is important to act correctly and as early as possible to ensure the best possible outcome for all involved.

    In the first instance you should call a surveyor that is experienced in expert witness cases who will ensure you are aware of all dispute resolution options available to you and advise of potential costs of each to allow you to decide on the best course of action for you.

    Following an initial conversation, should you decided to progress a dispute resolution case, the more information you can provide in the early stages, the best chance there is of finding the best resolution for all parties involved.

    With this in mind, you should instruct a solicitor if you have not already done so and gather all documents in your possession that are relevant to the dispute, including title deeds and plans. You should also draft a written brief that clearly outlines the chronology of relevant events and facts surrounding the concern, along with the scope of advice and resolution you are seeking. Remember to include your full contact details and advise of any urgency or deadlines relating to the dispute.

     

  • If my boundary is agreed to be in relation to a natural object e.g a tree line or hedgerow, does the boundary move as the vegetation grows?

    The short answer is no. A boundary line remains static and is determined by mutual agreement between neighbouring parties, often with the assistance of a chartered surveyor. Should the agreed boundary line require a visible marker, often vegetation such as trees or hedgerows are used. In this case, the party responsible for the marker should ensure the hedge or other natural vegetation is planted a sufficient distance away from the agreed boundary line so not to encroach upon the line as the marker grows. After growth of markers occurs, the boundary line remains as agreed but could now fall in the middle of a hedgerow or tree root if enough consideration wasn’t taken when determining original planting distances from the boundary line.

  • If a branch overhangs my property, can I remove it?

    Yes, if you are certain the offending branch is breaching a determind boundary line you can remove it but please note, in theory you should return the removed article back to the owner of the tree as it still belongs to them. We would always advise discussing your intention to remove any offending article breaching boundary lines with your neighbour before commencing any work.

  • Can the party wall act be used to resolve boundary disputes?

    No. There are no provisions in the act that can be used to resolve boundary disputes. These disputes must be resolved through the courts or by mutual agreement of involved parties through alternative dispute resolution procedures such as mediation or decision by an independent property expert in arbitration. View our dispute resolution page for more infomation on thiese services.

  • When should I consult a surveyor regarding property disputes?

    The short answer is at the earliest possible opportunity after it becomes apparent that there is a matter which is, or is likely to become a dispute. Property disputes can often be stressful for those involved, so seeking professional advice early before issues escalate is always recommended.

    Early advice can even prevent full blown disputes arising, and can certainly help protect against significant loss of time, money and emotional investment.

    The earlier disputes or potential disputes are tackled, the more options there may be to find a cost effective resolution. Getting an idea of your legal rights and position, as well as potentially unconsidered avenues of resolution will enable you to make the best decision for your case based on experienced expert advice.

  • What is the difference between medation, arbitration and litigation?

    Mediation

    In the context of dispute, mediation is a voluntary, non-binding method of dispute resolution in which a neutral party, the mediator, who specialises in dispute resolution helps opposing parties to reach a negotiated settlement of a dispute.

    Unlike court proceedings, the process is more diplomatic and will only ever resolve the dispute if both parties can agree terms that aim to find some common ground for both sides. With this in mind, there are no winners or losers in this type of alternative dispute resolution as both parties are encouraged to find common ground to leave with a settlement that they can both live with.

    Mediation facilitates negotiation and assist in resolving both parties’ differences. It is not a process that can impose a decision on either party like arbitration or litigation. The process is conducted in private and ‘without prejudice’ which means that any details of discussions cannot be used as evidence before the court except in certain circumstances.

    Mediation is flexible and informal and courts often expect litigants to have considered alternative dispute resolution such as mediation and arbitration before proceeding with court action.

     

    Arbitration

    A process for the resolution of disputes outside of the court system through an arbitral body which means the matter remains private. An arbitrator is an impartial third party professional acting as a judge to determine the outcome of the dispute based on their specific expertise. The arbitrator is appointed by the opposing parties or an appointing body such as a solicitor acting on the parties’ behalf.

    The arbitrator will hear both sides’ evidence and arguments then make a decision based on their expertise and factual evidence available which both parties will have agreed to be bound by.

    The object is to provide a fair resolution though an impartial medium, unless otherwise agreed, the decision reached through arbitration is final and binding on both parties.

     

    Litigation

    Broadly speaking litigation means taking legal action to determine or enforce a party’s rights through High Courts and County Courts to determine the outcome of disputes.

    In these situations, as surveyors we can be called to act as an expert witnesses to provide impartial evidence based on our subject area knowledge and expertise.

    We can be appointed jointly by both parties directly or through their solicitors or each party may appoint their own expert witness with the court’s permission.

    Out report and findings will be used to help the judge make the final award. Litigation is often the most expensive and lengthy route for property disputes.

  • Do I have a choice in dispute resolution methods?

    If you are the aggrieved party seeking to take action then, depending on the nature of the dispute and any prior agreement between the parties involved, you may have a choice as to which dispute resolution route to take.

    You generally cannot prevent action being taken against you by way of litigation, arbitration or adjudication.

    Our advice is to contact us as soon as you become aware that a dispute may arise and we will advise you as to which option of dispute resolution is most likely to achieve your aims and objectives based on our extensive experience of over 35 years in the handling of property dispute cases.

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