Homeowner's £50k damages after survey failed to spot Japanese knotweed

A building survey is a must when you’re buying a property. But even the most rigorous of examinations may not always provide the answers a home buyer requires.

A London homeowner is to receive £50,000 in compensation after a surveyor failed to spot that the garden of his new £1.2 million London flat had invasive Japanese knotweed.

‘Visibly present’

The knotweed had been “visibly present and growing” according to evidence presented to the Mayor and City County Court in the capital.

However, the chartered surveyor instructed by buyer Paul Ryb to inspect the ground-floor flat in the Highgate area of the city made no mention of the plant in his report. According to the Telegraph, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) survey instead said the flat was in “excellent condition both internally and externally”.

Mr Ryb is visually impaired and had commissioned the highest level of RICS survey because he himself was not able to see the property fully.

Weed growth recurring

The survey took place in October 2014, but the presence of the knotweed wasn’t noted until the following year when his gardener spotted it and told Mr Ryb.

The homeowner then spent £10,000 having the plant removed. While it has since returned, Mr Ryb is now insured against its presence.

Judge Jan Luba agreed with Mr Lyb’s claim that the surveyors were negligent in failing to spot the Japanese knotweed and awarded him £50,000 in damages.

Post Author: Frances Traynor