The respondent valuers reported to a building society that a property would be a sufficient security. The purchaser relied on that report to purchase the property, ignoring the advice in the lender’s form to obtain a full survey. The property was found to have suffered severe cracking.
Held: The valuers had a duty of care to the purchasers. They knew that the report would be passed to them, and that they could be expected to rely upon it. There was sufficient proximity to create a duty of care. Since the plaintiffs’ failure to have an independent survey, or to take other steps to discover the true condition of the house, was due to their reliance on the defendants’ valuation, the defendant’s allegation of contributory negligence failed.
Park J said: ‘The defendants’ representative who surveyed and valued 1, Seymour Road noted the type of dwelling house it was; its age, its price and the locality in which it was situated. It was plainly a house at the lower end of the property market. The applicant for a loan would therefore almost certainly be a person of modest means who, for one reason or another, would not be expected to obtain an independent valuation, and who would be certain to rely, as the plaintiffs in fact did, on the defendants’ valuation as communicated to him in the building society’s offer. I am sure that the defendants knew that their valuation would be passed on to the plaintiffs and that the defendants knew that the plaintiffs would rely upon it when they decided to accept the society’s offer.
For these reasons I have come to the conclusion that the defendants owed a duty of care to the plaintiffs because, to use the words of Lord Wilberforce in Anns v. Merton Borough Council  AC 728, 751H, there was a sufficient relationship of proximity such that, in the reasonable contemplation of the defendants, carelessness on their part might be likely to cause damage to the plaintiffs.’
 QB 438,  3 WLR 843,  3 All ER 592
England and Wales
Applied – Candler v Crane Christmas and Co CA 15-Dec-1950
Though the accounts of the company in which the plaintiff had invested had been carelessly prepared and gave a wholly misleading picture of the state of the company, the plaintiff could not recover damages. A false statement, carelessly, as . .
Cited – Hedley Byrne and Co Ltd v Heller and Partners Ltd HL 28-May-1963
Banker’s Liability for Negligent Reference
The appellants were advertising agents. They were liable themselves for advertising space taken for a client, and had sought a financial reference from the defendant bankers to the client. The reference was negligent, but the bankers denied any . .
Cited – Anns and Others v Merton London Borough Council HL 12-May-1977
The plaintiff bought her apartment, but discovered later that the foundations were defective. The local authority had supervised the compliance with Building Regulations whilst it was being built, but had failed to spot the fault. The authority . .
Cited – Commissioners of Customs and Excise v Barclays Bank Plc ComC 3-Feb-2004
The claimant had obtained orders against two companies who banked with the respondent. Asset freezing orders were served on the bank, but within a short time the customer used the bank’s Faxpay national service to transfer substantial sums outside . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 09 November 2021; Ref: scu.193349