A charitable trust, known as the Chartered Surveyors Voluntary Service (CSVS) is celebrating forty years of providing free property advice to the public in Yorkshire and Humber, who would not otherwise be able to afford the services of a surveyor.
Set up in 1973 - with support from RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) – the service is open to those with a low income who need assistance on surveying related matters including help with a landlord dispute or advice on home/building repairs or rent/lease disputes. Initial contact is made through your Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) who will appoint a CSVS surveyor in your area.
One of three founding members, George Wilson, FRICS says: “Most of the referrals we get for help or advice come from people who have been left with shoddy workmanship or paid a tradesman in full who hasn’t completed the works to the required standard. These cases are always difficult for anyone to have to deal with, but the CSVS exists to help people overcome these problems.”
Gerry Fitzmaurice, Estates Manager Yorkshire and the Humber at Homes and Communities Agency has been providing free surveying services through the CSVS for 25 years after originally signing up because he wanted to gain more experience of different aspects of surveying.
He says: “Helping those who cannot afford professional fee rates, but are very worthy of support is very satisfactory. Over the years, I’ve provided town and country planning advice and helped residents with all kinds of home repairs, as well as provided resolutions to service charge disputes on residential flats.”
The CSVS is a national organisation and currently has 199 active volunteers around the UK, which isn’t enough to keep-up with the increasing level of demand for free property related advice and support from residents, particularly in Yorkshire and Humber.
Mr Fitzmaurice says CSVS isn’t just for experienced chartered surveyors – and advises young newly qualified members of RICS to get involved: “The PII (Professional Indemnity Insurance) is covered by the Citizens Advice Bureau, allowing a chartered surveyor to gain experience even if they are not insured. It doesn’t hurt that you can refer to past CSVS cases you have dealt with when being interviewed for a job either.”
A celebratory drinks reception hosted by RICS President, Michael Newey, will be held at RICS’ Headquarters (Parliament Square, London) on 17 October to mark the CSVS’ 40th anniversary and recognise all those who have given their time to provide free surveying services to those in need but with lack of funds.
Founding member, George Wilson, FRICS adds: “We’re really proud of how the CSVS has grown over the years and the level of commitment and dedication that chartered surveyors across the UK continue to provide the public. We’re looking forward to expanding the service further by developing relationships with other professional bodies and advice agencies.”
You can contact the Chartered Surveyors Voluntary Service through your local Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) or for more information visit HYPERLINK “http://www.rics.org/CSVS” www.rics.org/CSVS or E: HYPERLINK “mailto:email@example.com” \o “mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org” email@example.com or T: (0)024 7686 8555.