Nationwide launches legal action

The lender has lodged a demand for £20million from the firm for professional negligence after it failed to uncover that a commercial property in Wales, on which it was securing a £14 million loan, was worth less than £1million.

Nationwide has already secured a multi-million pound out of court settlement with the surveyor, Dunlop Haywards, over the deal, but it believed that Eversheds should have uncovered the discrepancy during the legal process.

Both Nationwide and Eversheds released brief statements. A spokesperson for Nationwide commented: “We can confirm proceedings have been issued. This is for negligence and not for fraud.”

A statement from Eversheds said: “Following this ruling, to protect its position, Nationwide has issued and served proceedings against Eversheds. We are unable to comment further.”

John Virgo, a Bristol-based barrister, believed this could be the first of many such cases, should the market slump.

“Whenever there is a fall in property values, the knee-jerk reaction from lenders is to look at the work of valuers and lawyers and see if they have been exposed. It’s not hard to find where someone has not been malicious but has forgotten something and lenders will try and hang a peg on it. In this case, it looks like the surveyor was more at fault but it is often difficult to see where the blame lies; between the surveyor and the lawyers.”

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