Knotweed: Buyers getting litigious if problems aren’t revealed in TA6 form, agents warned

Knotweed specialists say increasing public awareness and financial harm of buying a home with knotweed is driving more buyers to sue.

The UK’s leading Japanese knotweed eradication specialist has warned estate agents and conveyancers that they face an increased likelihood of being involved in litigation as incidents of properties being affected by the problem increase.

Environet says the increasing cost of eradication and the affect it can have on a home’s value mean 70% of buyers say they’d now sue if knotweed is not declared either by the agent or in the TA6 conveyancing form when purchasing a property. The form was introduced by the Law Society recently to force vendors to disclose knotweed problem or face the consequences.

The Woking, Surrey-based consultancy also says public awareness of the damage that knotweed can cause is now widespread; its research shows that 80% of the 2,000 it polled saying they were aware of the problem.

A TA6 is completed as a standard part of the conveyancing process and asks a specific question about Japanese knotweed.

Under current legislation, sellers who knowingly fail to declare the plant’s presence can be sued for misrepresentation, meaning the buyer can seek compensation for reduction in the property’s value, if it can be proven that the plant was present at the time of the sale.

Also, under Consumer Protection Regulations, agents must disclose any ‘material facts’ they are aware of that could impact a sale.

If they have become aware about knotweed being present on a property and failed to mention it to the buyer, they could be sued themselves.

But if they don’t know about it they are not expected to spot it themselves – it’s up to the seller to disclose it on the TA6 form.

sealNic Seal, Founder and MD of Environet UK said: “Now more than ever it’s vital that sellers are honest and declare that there is, or could be, knotweed growing on their property.”


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