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Home Buyers Surveys: may contain injury or death warnings… but legally home sellers remain unaware!

Joe Ellis

The home seller could sustain a serious injury even death

Legislation needs to change with regards to Home Buyers/Condition Surveys, according Joe Ellis.

Ellis, an autistic adult living with his wife in Bullockstone near Herne Bay, is deeply alarmed that surveyors while using a traffic light colour system to alert home buyers of potential dangers and risk associated with house buying, have no legal obligation to inform the home owner of any risks discovered which may cause serious health issues or potential death risk.

Ellis recently employed a surveyor to provide a home buyers/condition surveyor to a bungalow that he and his wife wanted to purchase. The surveyor is a member of the Residential Property Surveyors Association (RPSA) and provided a report following his visit that barely took an hour to undertake.

Ellis was deeply concerned that the surveyor alerted, via his written and signed report, the risk of an oil tank being installed too close to the bungalow. This formed part of a ‘Red Alert’ or Health and Safety issue which stated, “These are actual, or potential, health and safety related matters that require your immediate attention. Failure to attend to these issues could result in serious injury or death”.

Ellis says, ‘if an issue has been flagged up that can cause serious injury or death, then there is a likely chance that the potential home buyer pulls away from the sale. The surveyor and his/her client are under no legal obligation to inform the seller that they too could be subjected to injury or death, and the issue is then closed off and the seller is none the wiser. Surely this cannot be right, either legally or morally. The home seller could sustain a serious injury even death.’

Ellis is calling for changes in the law to ensure that both the buyer and seller are aware of any such issues which could cause serious harm and calls for Government to intervene.

Ellis adds, ‘everyone, young or old, selling a house could be at a serious risk and this cannot continue. When I contacted the RSPA they were a little confused about my concerns. On one of their emails the Chair quoted; “armed with one of our reports, clients often (very happily!) report that they have achieved discounts of between 5 and 10 times the cost of their report armed with the information it contained”. Clearly, people’s lives are at risk and this needs to be addressed urgently, now. Discounts should be secondary to the priority of people’s lives.’


Ellis is a full-time professional karate coach, chairs the NAKMAS National (Martial Arts) Governing Body - - and holds an 8th Dan Black Belt and is of international repute.

Joe Ellis 01227 370055
Mobile 07976 736404