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Property misrepresentation - Japanese knotweed claims

Japanese knotweed is an innocuous looking plant that can cause significant issues for buildings and cause devastating damage to properties. This quick-spreading and growing plant has roots that can grow down as far as 10 feet, making it a difficult plant to control. These roots can cause issues with properties because they are very invasive and can cause structural damage to your own and neighbouring buildings. It can take a number of years and can be very expensive to remove and treat. Due to these problems, having Japanese knotweed on the premises can have an impact on the property value and can mean that the mortgage lender finds the property too much of a risk to lend on.

If the seller of a property knows that there is Japanese knotweed present and does not disclose this to the buyer, it’s possible that a property misrepresentation claim can be made. Call our specialist team for more information and to find out if you can make a claim on 0161 696 6178.

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What to do if you’ve bought a house with Japanese knotweed?

If you have completed on a property purchase and then discovered that there is Japanese knotweed then it’s important to take action as quickly as possible. Finding the extent and the source of the infestation is vital so that you can not only ensure the problem is dealt with, but also discover whether you were misled during the buying process.

Can you sue a seller for not disclosing Japanese knotweed?

Whether or not you can sue a seller for not disclosing Japanese knotweed on a property that you have bought will depend on the circumstances involved.

There is a specific question on the TA6 property information form that sellers must fill in, which related to Japanese knotweed and lying on this form can mean that you are able to make a claim against them for misrepresentation. The claim could include damages for the difference that Japanese knotweed makes to the value of your new property, as well as the cost of dealing with the problem. Even if the property is sold at auction, outside of the usual conveyancing process, the seller is still legally obliged to declare that Japanese knotweed is present if it is known about. This could also include where there is evidence that the seller has previously treated Japanese knotweed on the property, up to three years prior to the sale to you, even if there is no visible plant at the time you buy, as this also needs to be declared.

In order for a claim to be successful, it will have to be proven that the seller was aware of the Japanese knotweed and knowingly didn’t disclose it when asked to on the TA6 form.

What if my surveyor didn’t spot Japanese knotweed?

The responsibilities of a surveyor will depend somewhat on the type of survey that you have instructed them with. The most basic surveys may not include areas where Japanese knotweed would generally be found, but a homebuyer’s survey would generally include a visual inspection of the exterior of the premises and any visible Japanese knotweed should be noted.

If you had a survey done on your new property and the surveyor had the appropriate access to the area where the Japanese knotweed was present at the time, but failed to spot it, they might be liable for surveyor negligence.

At certain times of the year, Japanese knotweed can be mainly dormant and is therefore more difficult to spot, but the surveyor would be expected to make a reasonable effort to see if there are signs of the plant.

If you have discovered Japanese knotweed on your property and want to find out if you can make a property misrepresentation claim, get in touch with our specialist team as soon as possible on 0161 696 6178.

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