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Yianni v Edwin Evans and Sons [1981] 3 All ER 593

Tort law – Negligence – Duty of care

Facts

The defendants were valuers who had prepared a report on behalf of a building society in order to understand whether a house would provide adequate value for the loan requested by the plaintiffs. The plaintiffs agreed on the mortgage with the building society which had considered the report. Sometime later, subsidence cracks were discovered within the property that they had purchased. This required one of the walls to be rebuilt and the other walls within the property to be repinned, with the work totalling two-thirds of the price of the property. The plaintiffs brought an action for the negligence of the defendant valuers.

Issue

The court was required to establish whether there a duty of care owed by the individuals undertaking the valuation to go along with the report that they were completing on behalf of the plaintiffs. If the duty of care could be established and the court believed there was a relationship of sufficient proximity, it is likely that the defendants could be held liable for the inaccurate report.

Held

The court found in favour of the plaintiffs. It was held that the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiffs and that there was a sufficient link between the parties that it could be foreseen that the carelessness of the valuation report might cause damage to the plaintiffs. This was compounded by the fact that the reliance on the report by the plaintiffs prevented them from gathering an independent survey or, to take any further steps to understand the condition of the property.


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