Never a normal day surveying, however, back in March 2021 it felt like a normal morning surveying a beautiful detached house. It was the first time meeting my mentee Guillaume who is a professional gardener on our step-up scheme to become a surveyor. The owner of the property left us to it and said she would be back in a few hours. She let us know that a man would come to repair her car as the gardener had scratched it. The survey went well, Guillaume learnt a lot, no major issues, job done.
Then we get an email……
‘Everything was going smoothly, until last Tuesday (May 4th). We were made aware that Japanese Knotweed had been found at the property.’
Unfortunately for the buyer their bank then had to re-value the property with this in mind, on top of it they had already exchanged on this property and the property they were selling, therefore, legally committed. This meant a potential loss in the tune of multiple 6 figures and being homeless. Understandably the buyer was hugely disappointed in Gold Crest Surveyors and myself in particular.
In a panic I called Guillaume (professional gardener) ‘Guillaume, I’m sure we didn’t see any Knotweed at the property, did we? Nooo, of course not.’ I received this email during the day, so it was on my mind all day, I couldn’t wait to get back and check my photos praying that I took pictures of this secluded area to the side of the property.
Thank the lord I did, as you can see it was nowhere to be seen. Even though at the time of the inspection we did not see the plant we still advise buyers to instruct a specialist to carry out an investigation of the site, which will allow the buyer to obtain an indemnity cover. As you can see here, in a little over a month, the plant had grown over 7ft tall during a period of cold weather.
It is likely the vendor had no idea the plant was growing, if you remember I mentioned earlier they had a gardener, who probably pulled it out as part of normal maintenance. This was a great learning experience for me and especially my mentee, to thoroughly inspect the site and always take pictures of all areas.
By Vishal Sharma – AssocRICS