The number of legal actions against estate agents and chartered surveyors has significantly fallen as a six-year window for lenders bringing claims related to the 2008 crash draws to a close.
Research by City firm RPC reveals that claims against estate agents and surveyors fell by 65% last year – from 193 in 2013 to 67 in 2014.
RPC partner Alexandra Anderson said claimants had a six-year window in which they can launch legal proceedings against a valuer. ‘Now this period has passed, claims relating to falling house prices incurred during the recession have dropped off,’ she said.
Lenders such as Barclays, Santander and RBS accounted for 86% of all claims against property surveyors last year, according to the research.
Anderson said: ‘Lenders with high exposure to sub-prime mortgage lending or high-yield commercial property were heavily impacted during the financial crisis so it is not surprising to see that they were the most aggressive litigators. When house prices go into free fall as they did in 2008, surveyors who have valued collateral for the loan are often vulnerable to professional negligence claims.’
The firm said lenders were now less motivated to pursue claims as ‘broad base’ recovery in the UK property market in recent years had helped to reduce losses incurred on repossessed properties.
Anderson said: ‘Some insurers who withdrew their cover from the property market or greatly reduced their book during the credit crunch, are now considering re-entering the market following the fall in claims against property agents.’