Homeowner wins case against surveyor who missed Japanese Knotweed

A homeowner from London found Japanese Knotweed in his garden the year after purchasing his property and has successfully sued the Chartered Surveyor who missed it.

At the time of purchasing the property, a Level 3 RICS Building Survey was carried out, the most comprehensive survey available which should give ‘an in-depth analysis of the property’s condition’.  The survey is cited as saying; “found the property to be in excellent condition with very few defects and recommended that the sale proceed.”

Upon finding the Japanese Knotwood, Environet UK were bought in to remove it at a cost of just over £10,000.  They found the plant visible in 3 locations, and as a mature plant it would have been in leaf and flowering at the time of the original survey and therefore easily identifiable.

The homeowner took legal action against the surveyor for negligence, damages and costs to make good the garden. The Judge ruled in his favour and in awarding damages took into account the diminution of the property’s value.

Fortunately in the South West, we live in an area with low reportings of Japanese Knotweed sightings but we have dealt with cases of it before.  This and the case above shows the need for robust surveys when purchasing a property.


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