Kitchen leak will cost £7,500 to fix – so why didn't Connells' surveyor notice it before we moved in?

After moving into our new house we discovered that the glass roof over the kitchen/diner leaked.

The homebuyer report by Connells, for which we had paid £1,280, completely missed out this section of the roof and thus failed to draw our attention to theproblem.

When we complained, Connells sent a second surveyor and offered us £250 for remedial work. We were not satisfied, so we paid for an independent surveyor who concluded that the glass roof was incompetently made from inappropriate materials and was unlikely to comply with building regulations. He suggested a complete replacement as its condition could affect a resale. Connells has now offered us £2,500, but we have been quoted £7,500 for the works. Had we known about the roof we could probably have renegotiated the asking price of the house to absorb this cost. K C-S, London

Connells is having none of it, although the £2,500 suggests that its conscience is not entirely clear. "At the time of the survey there was no evidence of any leakage," says a spokeswoman. "The problem only occurred at a later date and during the wettest year on record." If the roof was as substandard as the independent survey suggests, it should have flagged up whether leakage damage was visible or not, although it is contestable whether you are entitled to the full cost of the remedial work, especially if the three surveyors disagree on its condition.

Your next step should be to complain to the Property Ombudsman Service: (0330 440 1634) which offers free arbitration and can award up to £25,000 in compensation if it finds in your favour.

If you need help email Anna Tims at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or write to Your Problems, The Observer, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Include an address and phone number. Unfortunately, Anna is not able to respond to letters individually.

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