Furniture designer, 30, who found Japanese knotweed behind his shed when he moved into his £700k dream home successfully sues seller and leaves him facing £200,000 court bill after he denied plant was growing in garden


furniture designer who found a scary japanese highlander lurks behind garden shed after buying it dream home It has won £32,000 in damage.

Jonathan Downing, 30, bought his three-bedroom apartment. house in wealthy Prince George Avenue, Raines Park, South West London, for £700,000 from Chartered Accountant Jeremy Henderson, 41 in August 2018.

Mr Downing who training in world- famous Chippendale International School of Furniture that I planned to make my own home in Edwardian terraced property as well as building workshop in garden.

But while cleaning the garden soon after moving in he discovered canes of Japanese knotweed behind a large bush of hypericum perforatum that grew next to the shed.

The Japanese Knotweed is an invasive species notorious for for its propensity to spread and cause damage building structures, and difficulty and expenses of get rid of of It.

Mr Downing sued Mr Henderson over discovery, blaming it of misconception about whether knotweed was on property when sold.

In the ruling of the Central London District Court, Judge Jan Luba K.S. found in favor Mr Downing, ordering Mr Henderson to pay £32,000 in damages plus his opponent legal bill of up up to £95,000.

The court heard that during the sale, Mr. Henderson answered “no”. on form asking about property was struck by knotweed. He claimed that he “reasonably believed” that he was talking truth when he filled in the form.

Highlander Japanese can cause structural damage property that is expensive to correct

/ PA Archive

Mr. Henderson claimed that he could not see knotweed because of big bush that also probably stopped the growth of weeds growth before he fired up when the bush was cut back after Mr Downing’s move in.

But the judge heard evidence that knotweed had previously been treated with herbicide and may have once reached about 2 m in height.

Describing the case, Mr Downing’s lawyer Tom Carter, an expert, said the weed was likely in garden from at least 2012, three years before Mr. Henderson moved to property.

When the sale went through in 2018, Mr. Henderson “decided to state emphatically that knotweed was not on property and thus made misrepresentation,” Mr. Carter said.

Mr Downing sued for £32,000 to cover expenses of research and excavation of the plant, as well as the reduction in value of his home caused knotweed invasion.

His lawyer said no way what Mr Henderson could prove that he had a “reasonable belief” that knotweed was not present at the time he filled out in seller forms.

“The defendant cannot relieve himself of the burden on to him of indicating that he had reasonable grounds for believing that property not affected by knotweed,” he said.

In his testimony, Mr Downing told the judge that – if Mr Henderson had said “it is not known” whether property was struck by knotweed – he would have dealt with it.

But in his own testimony, Mr. Henderson said he had no reason think there might be knotweed in his garden.

“I lived there for three years and spent quite a lot of time in in the garden and did not see knotweed,” he said.

“I got a surveyor’s report when I moved in and did not find knotweed.

“Not one identified some knotweed for me, and I did not see any knotweed.

” main reason It was hidden bush and it is likely that the bush interfered with it.

Judge Luba, in his decision, said, “Mr. Henderson told me on an oath that he really thought no Japanese knotweed existed in his garden. He knew what it looked like like and he saw none in three years he was there. His mother was an avid gardener and she made don’t report to him of Japanese mountaineer.

“None of the previous owners mentioned Japanese knotweed to him, and no one of the neighbors had a Japanese knotweed in their gardens.

“If this proof stood alone, it would completely satisfy me. of his reasonable belief that he did not have Japanese knotweed property”.

But he went on to say that Mr. Henderson’s case was undermined by his admission that he “didn’t know What happened behind barn, where the mountaineer was hiding.

The judge said that he confidence in Mr Henderson story was “shocked” by the evidence given by the joint expert on knotweed, who suggested that knotweed sprouts may have reached a height of two meters in one dot and may have “loomed over a neighboring garden”.

There was also evidence that the weed has been handled with herbicide at some point in in paston said.

“Opinion of the only joint expert is that the growth of Japanese knotweed would be visible in garden,” he continued.

“I ask myself if Mr. Henderson really believed that the Japanese Highlander had no effect on property. I’m not happy that he met it’s a burden.

“Even if I wrong and he sincerely believed in the answer, he did not show me that he had reasonable grounds for doing so.

“The defendant is liable to the plaintiff for sum of damages agreed.”

Mr Henderson was ordered to pay compensation of £32,000 plus £65,000. of Mr Downing’s expenses on account within 21 days. He will also must bear their legal costs.


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