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New homeowner considers legal action after uncovering seller's lies about landscaping blunder: 'I would not have purchased the property'

"I now feel as though I've purchased a property with no value."

"I now feel as though I've purchased a property with no value."

Photo Credit: iStock

A first-time homebuyer in Wales was left in a difficult position when they said the seller lied to them about the presence of an invasive species on the property.

The person detailed their experience on r/LegalAdviceUK a couple of years ago, noting a neighbor clued them in that Japanese knotweed was growing along the side of the house.

"I've checked and can see the remnants of Japenese Knotweed; it's been cut short," they wrote.
"I've checked with a local Knotweed specialist who has confirmed that it's Japanese Knotweed, and that he's seen it there for quite a number of years (he's lives locally).

"I feel that the previous owner has deceived me by concealing the Japanese Knotweed and lied on the TA6 in order to secure the sale. I would not have purchased the property if I had known about the Knotweed, and I would have commissioned a further survey had the previous owner ticked 'Not sure' on the TA6 form.

"... I now feel as though I've purchased a property with no value, which I will not be able to sell if I need to."

The buyer acknowledged in a comment they were worrying about worst-case scenarios — understandable given the biggest purchase of their life was on the table. Though the position was unenviable, it seemed cut and dried. As commenters pointed out, the buyer was likely in a winnable spot.

"My brother purchased a house a few years ago, and the same thing happened to him," someone wrote. "The vendor claimed there was no Japanese knotweed when there was. Upon discovery my brother was able to take the vendor to court and won, the vendor is still paying for regular treatment of the knotweed."

Another Redditor said they solved their knotweed problem with bimonthly treatment over two years. It didn't cost much, and it didn't consume their life.

Determination is the main ingredient in successful eradication, but there is legislation in the United Kingdom to help contain the fast-growing perennial, according to the Royal Horticultural Society. No less than three laws are on the books, including the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, which makes it illegal to "cause Japanese knotweed to grow in the wild."

Like other invasive species, it outcompetes natives for resources. The knotweed grows from rhizomes and has bamboo-like stems that exceed 2.1 meters (7 feet). 

Importantly, spring regrowth must be targeted, and the plant should be disposed of via a licensed landfill — and certainly not in common trash. Onsite jettisoning starts with allowing the knotweed to dry and then burning it.

One TikToker shared a dip recipe made with leaves of the invasive, highlighting the innovative ways people are protecting ecosystems from damaging trespassers. A similar method involves using lionfish to make handbags and other accessories.

If we all play a part in taking care of the environment with steps as small as promoting native species in place of invasive ones, we can help to ensure a more sustainable future.

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