Japanese Knotweed Ltd featured in an ITV Meridian News story last night (17th November 2015) which highlighted the problems that the invasive Japanese knotweed can cause homeowners.
The owner of a property affected by Japanese knotweed was interviewed and described how he had purchased his bungalow just six months ago. He stated that had he known that Japanese knotweed was in the garden and it had been declared (the seller should have declared this on the TA6 form) he would not have bought it. The homeowner made the decision to immediately remove the contaminated ground by deep excavation of the knotweed and instructed Japanese Knotweed Ltd, specialists in the excavation process.
Our expert on-site explained to viewers how the resilient rhizomes of the weed can find their way into underground services, drainage systems and building foundations and cause structural damage. During the excavation process, great care is taken to protect the home owner’s drive areas and the access routes by laying protective layers of polythene and boarding to minimise the chance of cross contamination. Excavation of the contaminated soil, to more than 1m deep, is achieved using machinery and by hand digging where necessary. The contaminated soil is removed by lorry and taken to a landfill site that is licensed to take contaminated waste. A special root barrier is then installed both vertically and horizontally before clean topsoil is used to fill the void. The customer’s garden is then tidied, made good and ready for them to enjoy with no restriction on its use.
The news story explained how it can be difficult to get a mortgage on a property if a surveyor finds it has Japanese knotweed. That said, if the seller was aware there was knotweed and they didn’t inform the potential buyer who then buys the property, there could be a case of misrepresentation.
What is Misprepresentation?
If a property is affected by knotweed the owner will need to declare this when selling. They could be guilty of misrepresentation if they have not correctly responded to the question in the Law Society Property Information TA6 Form (3rd edition) seller’s questionnaire regarding knotweed, and they are responsible for all damage up until the point of sale. They remain liable for this historic damage even after the sale of the property. As knotweed is a `continuing nuisance`, liability for any damage caused after the sale of the property attaches itself to the buyer.