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  • FIRST POST
    • adibear
    • By adibear 17th Oct 16, 5:10 PM
    • 8Posts
    • 7Thanks
    adibear
    Japanese Knotweed and an Overgrown Garden- who's responsibility is it?
    • #1
    • 17th Oct 16, 5:10 PM
    Japanese Knotweed and an Overgrown Garden- who's responsibility is it? 17th Oct 16 at 5:10 PM
    Hi guys,

    I am currently in the middle of purchasing a property with a garden that the current owners have neglected for 10+ years. To put it lightly - it's a jungle. The vegetation is so dense you cannot even go down the steps into the garden below. I had a full building survey carried out, and even the surveyor couldn't access all of it.

    The survey came back saying "there was no evidence of japanese knotweed or invasive species, but we were unable to check fully given the density of the vegetation which did not allow for access." The estate agent tells me the vendors say the property has not been affected by JKW before.

    Still, I am concerned. There is no way of knowing if the garden is free of JKW or not without properly inspecting it. I asked the estate agent if the vendor's would be willing to clear the garden, but they have said no. I am now in a state where I cannot clear the garden myself as I do not yet own the property, but I have been unable to hire a Japanese knotweed inspector who is willing / able to survey the garden given the condition it's in. Do I have any grounds at all in asking the vendors if they'd maybe contribute to half the cost of clearing the garden? Or should I trust the survey and the vendors who state the property didn't have a history of JKW? I don't think the vendors are deliberately hiding that at all - I'm just concerned they wouldn't really know about it as the garden has been abandoned for so long. They survey showed the house and surroundings to be structurally sound.

    Thanks,

    A
Page 1
    • elsien
    • By elsien 17th Oct 16, 5:19 PM
    • 13,687 Posts
    • 33,240 Thanks
    elsien
    • #2
    • 17th Oct 16, 5:19 PM
    • #2
    • 17th Oct 16, 5:19 PM
    Is it in an area where knotweed is known to be a problem? As in, are you worried because you know it's endemic in the area, or is it more that the survey hasn't definitively ruled it out?
    If it is, can you check with the neighbours to see if any if their gardens have an issue?
    Tbh, knotweed is fairly noticeable this time of year, given the height it grows if left to its own devices. It's thinking about dying back but still going strong where I am as the weather's still warm.
    If the vendors clear the garden or pay some local garden clearance outfit to do it, it's not going to help because all they'll be doing is cutting it down and potentially spreading it further if it is there.
    Last edited by elsien; 17-10-2016 at 5:21 PM.
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
    • Mossfarr
    • By Mossfarr 17th Oct 16, 5:25 PM
    • 305 Posts
    • 375 Thanks
    Mossfarr
    • #3
    • 17th Oct 16, 5:25 PM
    • #3
    • 17th Oct 16, 5:25 PM
    If you are getting the house for really good price and your mortgage provider is happy to lend with the garden as it is then I personally would still buy it.
    It will be a lot of work but you can hire a skip and a heavy duty strimmer and strip it right back yourself.
    If Japanese Knotwood is present it would probably have been detected in the neighbouring gardens, its treatable these days anyway.
    • glasgowdan
    • By glasgowdan 17th Oct 16, 6:16 PM
    • 1,477 Posts
    • 1,571 Thanks
    glasgowdan
    • #4
    • 17th Oct 16, 6:16 PM
    • #4
    • 17th Oct 16, 6:16 PM
    You seem to think JKW is the end of the world and if it's there then there's no way you'd buy the house. This idea comes from watching too many channel 4 tv programmes. If it is present you can treat it without spending a fortune.

    More generally, clearing the garden needn't be a monstrous job either, and you needn't do it yourself. Just hire the required people/tools.

    In all, I wouldn't let any of this put me off buying a house I liked. Go for it and sort things out as you go.
    • unforeseen
    • By unforeseen 17th Oct 16, 6:29 PM
    • 828 Posts
    • 1,095 Thanks
    unforeseen
    • #5
    • 17th Oct 16, 6:29 PM
    • #5
    • 17th Oct 16, 6:29 PM
    To get the garden cleared really cheaply then just mention around the area that there could be body buried in it. The police will then clear for you for nothing.
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 17th Oct 16, 6:48 PM
    • 10,917 Posts
    • 30,687 Thanks
    moneyistooshorttomention
    • #6
    • 17th Oct 16, 6:48 PM
    • #6
    • 17th Oct 16, 6:48 PM
    Is it in an area where knotweed is known to be a problem? As in, are you worried because you know it's endemic in the area, or is it more that the survey hasn't definitively ruled it out?
    If it is, can you check with the neighbours to see if any if their gardens have an issue?
    Originally posted by elsien
    Checking with the neighbours was my first thought too. If JK is in there then there is a very good chance it would have spread to the neighbours by now - so if they start "spitting feathers" about the house owner the second you ring on their doorbells = draw your own conclusions.

    A drinking session or two down the local pub generally chatting to the locals?

    Paying a couple of calls on any local cornershop there is - preferably when there is a chatty middle-aged female assistant on duty - in order to buy one or two items (eg a local newspaper - followed by comment to assistant about how you're checking out whats what - because of wondering whether to buy a house in the area)? People like that don't miss much- I used to get half the neighbourhood gossip from mine in my last house and was remarkably well-informed about things thanks to them....
    The unexamined life is not worth living.
    • seven-day-weekend
    • By seven-day-weekend 17th Oct 16, 7:10 PM
    • 27,836 Posts
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    seven-day-weekend
    • #7
    • 17th Oct 16, 7:10 PM
    • #7
    • 17th Oct 16, 7:10 PM
    One of the gardeners on TV, can't remember which one, said there was a load of fuss about Japanese Knotweed.

    You cut it down and weedkill the roots one year. Then it comes back the following year, so you do it again.

    Rinse and repeat for about three more years.

    Then it's gone.
    To love someone is to learn the song in their heart and to sing it to them when they have forgotten it
    'I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen. Not only because I see it, but because I see everything by it': C.S. Lewis
    St. Augustine — 'In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.'
    • theoretica
    • By theoretica 17th Oct 16, 7:16 PM
    • 4,493 Posts
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    theoretica
    • #8
    • 17th Oct 16, 7:16 PM
    • #8
    • 17th Oct 16, 7:16 PM
    What about flying a drone and camera over the garden? It wouldn't show everything, but might provide some reassurance.
    But a banker, engaged at enormous expense,
    Had the whole of their cash in his care.
    Lewis Carroll
    • Boler1985
    • By Boler1985 17th Oct 16, 7:40 PM
    • 83 Posts
    • 41 Thanks
    Boler1985
    • #9
    • 17th Oct 16, 7:40 PM
    • #9
    • 17th Oct 16, 7:40 PM
    The premise of your question is totally wrong.

    JK will out-compete other plants in the immediate area (unless it is deliberately cut back) so it's not going to 'hide' in the overgrowth. The bamboo like shoots would be easy to spot at this time of year. Anyone who knows what they're looking for would be able to identify any significant growth.

    Maybe this is much harder if it has been cut back but then that's evidence in itself of concealment.

    In any case if JK was there then 'clearing' the garden down would be one of the worst things you could do and would guarantee to spread it.
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 18th Oct 16, 12:00 AM
    • 20,849 Posts
    • 83,762 Thanks
    Davesnave
    It must be a very large garden if it cannot be surveyed for JK adequately using binoculars from an upstairs window. The surveyor is just covering his/her fundament.

    As elsien said, if it's not endemic in the area, the chances of finding it will be low. They aren't increased much by the garden being neglected for a decade.
    Last edited by Davesnave; 18-10-2016 at 12:02 AM.
    'Only the mediocre are always at their best.' Jean Giraudoux
    • Brock_and_Roll
    • By Brock_and_Roll 18th Oct 16, 11:08 AM
    • 697 Posts
    • 659 Thanks
    Brock_and_Roll
    What a cop out from the surveyor - is the house in the Amazonia rainforest?


    It would only take 10 minutes and a kukri knife hack through the undergrowth to check for JK - by its very nature, its invasive so it is not going to be sheltering timidly under a neglected bush!
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