VALUATION OF PROPERTY

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This is just a stab in the dark really but could anyone please answer our query regarding the valuation of a reposessed property prior to sale.

The "Statement of account FACT(ha!ha!) sheet" supplied by DLA/A.Nat states that TWO independent valuations are carried out to determine the condition and value of the property.

We would like to know if having TWO valuations carried out was a statutory requirement at the time of our repo 93/94, it appears from our "completion statement" that we have only been charged for one.

All answers much appreciated.

Steve Pooley

p.s. We have already asked for the docs, no reply yet.

-- (stephen.pooley@ntlworld.com), December 06, 2000

Answers

As far as I am aware there is no statutory requirement for there to be two valuations on a property. But like when you claim on insurance, or buy a service (eg builder) its always best to have more than one quote. The lender may just be trying to cover themselves so that they can "prove" the market value of the property.

-- pendle (pendle@amun-ra.demon.co.uk), December 06, 2000.

The following is the relevant extract from the Council of Mortgage Lenders Statement of Practice on HANDLING OF ARREARS AND POSSESSIONS (January 1997):

"Valuation

(b) A valuation of the property is obtained from either one or two qualified surveyors and another from the appointed estate agent."

Their web site is at:

www.cml.org.uk

and the statement of practice is at:

www.cml.org.uk/faqs/stmta&p.htm

As far as I am aware all lenders that are member of the CML are required to comply with this requirement.

Regards,

-- Tony Hayter (Tony@Hayter.com), December 07, 2000.


You have added to a suspicion I have had for some time. I suspect that lenders pretty much always claim (or strongly imply) that they obtained two independent valuations when in fact they only obtained one. They claim they had two independent valuations done because it makes them look good. However, the second 'independent valuation' is often little more than a sales questionnaire filled out by the lender's agent.

But there's more.

In my opinion, it may be of interest that the independent valuer and the lender's agent have an opportunity to discuss the property, for example if they are passing on the keys to the property one to the other. In my opinion it is interesting that the valuations *and* the suggested asking prices are often exactly the same, right down the pound. In my opinion, it may be significant that all parties are well aware that the property concerned is a repossession. Could it also be significant that, as Tony Levene reported in the Guardian on August 26th, leaked memos from a lender suggest that repossessed properties have in the past been disposed of deliberately quickly by lenders? (See Guardian Jobs & Money, Aug 26 2000, pp2-3.)

Who knows?

-- Eleanor Scott (eleanor.scott@btinternet.com), December 15, 2000.


In my view Eleanor has raised a very important issue. Namely the so called "independence" of the valuations that are carried out on repossessed properties.

Let's take my case with the Halifax as an example:

I was lucky enough to be able to track the Halifax's actions from the very start of the repossession proceedings. So when I received their infamous "estimated" shortfall letter I immediately demanded copies of the valuations which they could not then refuse to supply.

One of the two "independent" valuations was in fact carried out by...... the Halifax!

The other valuation was carried out by the Estate Agents handling the sale. How independent was this one? Well, it was written on a Halifax form but I'll leave that fact to be judged by others. I am of the opinion that the fact this valuation was handwritten and also that it shows evidence of being written in a hurry may indicate something suspicious. The valuation figures are identical. Strangely enough though that's all that really is! The Halifax's valuation correctly described it as a 4 bed semi. I wonder if the Estate Agents did in fact even visit the property for they valued a 3 bed End Terraced one!!

The Estate Agents valuation having been independently examined and multiple errors found was described as "Negligent". What did the Halifax's Chief Executive Officer do when this matter was brought to his attention? He ignored it along with all the other major issues! "Arrogance and complacency have no place in the Halifax". Guess who said that in the press on the 14th October 2000? Yes, the Halifax CEO!

I know it may feel at times like you're banging your head against a brick wall when you're talking to these people Steve but believe me it's the only way with them. Let's hope the Halifax have the courage to take me to court, because I believe it will prove before the law my belief that they have been negligent and so may help others like yourself in similar situations.

Keep Fighting!

-- Tony Hayter (Tony@Hayter.com), December 15, 2000.


So everyone needs to get hold of those 'independent valuations' and separate out (a) what they've been told by the lender, and (b) what they see on paper in front of them.

Discrepancies are actually good news, in a bizarre way, because it means your lender is either trying to hide something or is being inefficient, stuff which it doesn't want airing in court.

When you look at those bits of paper, ask, are they really 'independent' and are they really 'valuations'? Are any of the parties involved affiliated to the lender? Are the two valuations suspiciously identical? Have you been shown top copies or bad photocopies? (put it this way, you can't tell if there's been tippexing or alterations done, with bad photocopies or fiche copies.) Have the valuations been signed and dated in the same handwriting as the rest of the form? Who issued the form? Is it subject to Data Protection Act provisions? Etc etc.

Don't forget, these lenders have a legal duty to obtain the best price. Skipton v Stott confirmed that in the Court of Appeal, and the whole of the lender's claim against the repossessee was disallowed.

-- Eleanor Scott (eleanor.scott@btinternet.com), December 17, 2000.



Thanks everybody for your contributions to our questions.

The response from DLA to our requests for a substantial number of documents, including a request for copies of valuation/inspection reports have AGAIN been ignored. All they say on this issue is summed up in two lines i.e. the property was valued at X and sold for X - DURRRRR!!!! as if we didn't know! We have, at least found out that there is no Money Judgement on our "debt", or so they say.

Having quoted abbey nats. new policy statement, the bit regarding their commitment to provide evidence of debts to "customers", and having also quoted DLA's last letter "we have been instructed by our client to honour this commitment", we thought that maybe this time we would get something, ah well, never mind. At least it's one more example to show the Judge of how helpful they have been.

Might quote the Civil Procedure Rules as well in the next letter, plus ask for the same plus even more specific documents - mortgage deeds, yeah!

Anyway, sod their 7 days, they can wait 'till the new yr now!

All of you , please have a worry free xmas and a better new year.

Steve Pooley

-- (stephen.pooley@ntlworld.com), December 18, 2000.


Surveyors/valuers are supposed to be a member of a professional body aren't they? The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors is one of them. If you're stuck in a rut with the lender over the valuation, then why not try saying something like,

"...if the selling price of the property represented the true value of the property, then it would appear that the surveyor/valuer valuing the property on behalf of the lender at the time of purchase was negligent. In these circumstances, please supply the name of the valuer who attended the property and where he can be contacted along with details of the professional body which s/he belongs, in order that I may make a claim against them. As <> is also affected by the negligence I trust that <> will also consider taking action against the valuer."

We know that the valuer at the time of purchase will have given an accurate valuation (we hope!). By saying that the repossessed properties were sold at the "best price", (and of course the bestest price will be the market value or more, won't it?), the lender is in effect accusing the purchase valuer of misvaluing the property in the first place.

If you attempted to make a formal complaint against the first valuer, then the lender would be dragged into it and they would be caught out fibbing and it wouldn't go down well at all. I feel that the lender would want to avoid any possible claim against the valuer, to protect themselves. This just might prompt them to supply valuations or admit that the best price wasn't obtained.

Obviously this isn't going to work for everyone, it is a long shot. But it could be another piece of ammunition against the lenders over valuation.

-- pendle (pendle@amun-ra.demon.co.uk), December 18, 2000.


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