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  • FIRST POST
    • 43429525
    • By 43429525 30th Nov 17, 12:33 AM
    • 2Posts
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    43429525
    Court Action - Surveyor Japanese Knotweed
    • #1
    • 30th Nov 17, 12:33 AM
    Court Action - Surveyor Japanese Knotweed 30th Nov 17 at 12:33 AM
    I write this early morning to try and clear my head to see if it will help me sleep.

    My situation - I purchased my a house late 2016 with a homebuyers survey paid. I didn't instruct the surveyor, my mortgage provider did.

    House is detached with public foot path to the side of the house with vegetation against the wall of property. A garden to the front and to the rear garden.

    I had no idea at the time what Japanese Knotweed (JKW) was, however it was brought to my attention and a professional company confirmed this to be true and a cost of 000's to treat. JKW growing in front and rear garden aswell as to the side of house. Infestation highlighted as Cat 4 on RICS scale, the highest rating.

    Seller ticked dont know on TA16, surveyor didn't comment JKW anywhere in report.

    Ive involved a solicitor and the surveyor has completed there response and continually accept no liability sending responses that the blame lies elsewhere. They comment thay the homebuyers report wouldnt take a surveyor to an external boundary, or that they should have gone outside to examine for JKW. Dead canes existed within the vegetation to the side if the house and an opinion of the JKW expert advises its about 5 years mature. It was growing thick in front and back garden in the summer.

    Has anyone been in this situation before or know of anyone? This is looking likely towards heading for court and I just want to hear if any similar situations exist and the outcome.

    Its legal ping pong at the minute but unsure if Im actually on the winning side here.
Page 2
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 30th Nov 17, 6:32 PM
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    Davesnave
    I don't see any discussion about eradicating the JKW? Surely that is the No 1 priority?.
    Originally posted by ProDave
    There would be cause for more urgency if it was the right time to treat, but the OP will have some months to decide whether to engage a company at a high cost, or DIY.

    I'd guess their choice might be determined by the outcome of an investigation into the surveyor's liability. I agree with ten-eighty that this is best approached via the complaints procedure in the first instance.
    'A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they'll never sit in.'
    • daveyjp
    • By daveyjp 30th Nov 17, 6:32 PM
    • 7,201 Posts
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    daveyjp
    Getting rid of knotweed only costs many thousands if you go to a ‘specialist’ who survives by charging thousands to get rid of it!

    A few hundred pounds paid to a general landscaper will see off most stands in one year with check visits thereafter. Once under control the householder can treat it.

    My approach would be to make a formal complaint to the surveying company explaining why their surveyor has fallen below the standards of the RICS and the advice in the ‘Red Book’, the surveyors ‘Code of Practice’.

    Offer them a remedy of a without prejudice settlement for maybe a couple of grand to cover your costs of removal and see what they say.

    It will be cheaper than employing lawyers and as chances are their lawyers will be bigger than yours.
    • Jimmy_Neutron
    • By Jimmy_Neutron 3rd Dec 17, 10:22 AM
    • 177 Posts
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    Jimmy_Neutron
    If you are willing to post the postcode of your property "we" will be able to see the photos the estate agent took at the time the vendor listed the property on the market on Rightmove. You bought the property in November but chances are the photos where taken late summer.
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 3rd Dec 17, 10:51 AM
    • 23,717 Posts
    • 89,703 Thanks
    Davesnave
    If you are willing to post the postcode of your property "we" will be able to see the photos the estate agent took at the time the vendor listed the property on the market on Rightmove. You bought the property in November but chances are the photos where taken late summer.
    Originally posted by Jimmy_Neutron
    Why can't the OP do that?

    Much as I like voyeuristic property porn, I don't think the OP really needs to share their address on the internet for all time!

    Anyway, if the object was concealment, the JK would have been eliminated temporarily before the photography.
    'A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they'll never sit in.'
    • Jimmy_Neutron
    • By Jimmy_Neutron 3rd Dec 17, 11:08 AM
    • 177 Posts
    • 150 Thanks
    Jimmy_Neutron
    People on here ask all the time for links to properties to be able to give a more informed opinion.

    I asked if the op was "willing" to post the postcode so photos could be viewed of when the property was listed - if they don't want they don't have to no-one is demanding they do so.

    If there is no evidence of jkw from the photos as it has been removed but the other vegetation the op mentions in the first post remains I would be suspicious.

    Also jnw grows at a rapid pace so wouldn't the vendor be thinking what is this plant growing everywhere and try to find out what it is?
    • Nobbie1967
    • By Nobbie1967 3rd Dec 17, 11:14 AM
    • 683 Posts
    • 784 Thanks
    Nobbie1967
    Getting rid of knotweed only costs many thousands if you go to a ‘specialist’ who survives by charging thousands to get rid of it!

    A few hundred pounds paid to a general landscaper will see off most stands in one year with check visits thereafter. Once under control the householder can treat it.

    My approach would be to make a formal complaint to the surveying company explaining why their surveyor has fallen below the standards of the RICS and the advice in the ‘Red Book’, the surveyors ‘Code of Practice’.

    Offer them a remedy of a without prejudice settlement for maybe a couple of grand to cover your costs of removal and see what they say.

    It will be cheaper than employing lawyers and as chances are their lawyers will be bigger than yours.
    Originally posted by daveyjp
    The only problem with this is when they come to sell the property and are asked about JKW, unless it has been 'professionally' treated, it could cause an issue during the sale as no guarantees will be in place. Many years later they may be able to honestly say there is no JKW, but even a tiny bit of regrowth would have to be declared.

    Do they ask if the property has ever had it during your ownership, or only at present?
    • steampowered
    • By steampowered 3rd Dec 17, 12:00 PM
    • 1,959 Posts
    • 1,831 Thanks
    steampowered
    Several posters suggested you go through the surveyor's complaints procedure. That sounds like a waste of time to me.

    The only thing you will get through the surveyor's complaints procedure is a stonewall. The surveyor is not going to admit liability or pay compensation through a complaints procedure.

    Going to an Ombudsman is also likely to be pointless. Surveyors are regulated by RICS, which is not an Ombudsman and doesn't award compensation. You could try complaining to the Financial Ombudsman Service if you feel that your lender is somehow responsible but this is unlikely.

    The key legal question is whether the surveyor owed you a duty of care, or not. Your solicitor will have to advise you on this. You will need to check the survey paperwork to see what it says about this.

    I think it could be difficult to prove that the JKW was sufficiently obvious when the surveyor visited such that the surveyor should have noticed it. You'd probably have to have an independent expert appointed to advise the court on this.
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