How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask tdlawyer Your Own Question
tdlawyer
tdlawyer, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 1096
Experience:  11 years experience of general practice.
73598664
Type Your Law Question Here...
tdlawyer is online now

To Whom It May Concern, My husband and I bought our home 20

Resolved Question:

To Whom It May Concern,
My husband and I bought our home 20 months ago. The previous owners did not disclose that Japanese Knotweed was growing throughout the garden. We have received an estimate from a specialist company of £13000.00 to remove it. We had 2 surveys done on the property before purchase, one the basic survey and in addition an in-depth survey. Neither one picked up the knotweed.
The specialist has provided a report stating that he believes the previous owner knew what the knotweed was and attempted to cover the worst of it with rubble, gravel and bits of old carpet in the hopes of keeping the knotweed at bay. As much as I love my home we would have not bought the property if we had known about this problem.
Can you please advise if we have a case in which to make a claim and if so whom do we make it against-the previous owners, their property developer (they did a part exchange with the developer) or our estate agents. Also does this place us in a tenuous position with our mortgage company for not declaring the knotweed as I know some lenders would not agree to a mortgage if this plant was on their property.
Any information would be of great assistance. I look forward to hearing from you.
Yours truly,
***** ***** (Mrs)
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  tdlawyer replied 3 years ago.
tdlawyer :

Hi thanks for your question. My name is ***** ***** I can help with this.

tdlawyer :

When you purchased the property, the seller would have had to answer a question on the "Sellers Property Information Form" about whether the property suffered from Japanese Knotweed. Do you know how they answered that question?

Customer:

Hi Tony,

Customer:

We assume that they answered "No", because it was not brought to our attention on any of the surveys. However, to be absolutely certain we would have to re-check the form itself.

tdlawyer :

Hi. Okay, you do need to check this as you say, but if they said no, what you would need to show is that they are likely to have known and lied on the form.

tdlawyer :

This is the only way you're likely to have a claim against the sellers - i.e. for misrepresentation.

tdlawyer :

Another potential avenue is the claim against he surveyors, espeically the one that did the full survey.

tdlawyer :

They arguably should have identified this issue.

Customer:

Thank you Tony. I'm guessing we should have a copy of this form, so I shall see if I can dig it out now.

tdlawyer :

The amount of claim against both/either parties would be either the diminuition in the value of the property or the clean-up costs.

tdlawyer :

You should have the form, but just get a copy from your solicitors that did the conveyancing if you need to.

tdlawyer :

This type of claim is probably quite common in the grand scheme of things. There are lots of reported cases of sellers mispresenting the position to purchasers.

tdlawyer :

I can't see that you're liable to the lender in any way - you've done nothing wrong. If anything, the lender might have something to say about it to their surveyor that did the valuation and who failed to spot the issue.

tdlawyer :

Are you there still?

tdlawyer :

Is there anything more you would like to know about this?

Customer:

Hi Tony, sorry to keep you waiting. I have just been through all the paperwork and was unable to find any specific questions with regard to Japanese Knotweed, or any invasive, notifiable weed for that matter. There was a specific question with regard to environmental searches being carried out, and the reply to this was "None".

tdlawyer :

Okay, then it might be that your only action realistically is going to be against the surveyors for failing to identify the knotweed.

tdlawyer :

It might not matter in the sense that you're likely to have the same kind of claim against the surveyors with the same amount of damages against them.

tdlawyer and other Law Specialists are ready to help you