Detection dogs give Kent homebuyer the all-clear

Homebuying is all about confidence and it can be extremely unnerving when a red flag pops up during the conveyancing process which suddenly throws the entire transaction into jeopardy.

That’s what happened to our customer Michael Milner-Watt who had found his dream home, a detached Victorian villa near Ashford in Kent, and was looking forward to moving in in time for Christmas. Nothing had been mentioned about Japanese knotweed during the viewings, but the seller declared on the TA6 form, which is completed as part of the conveyancing process, that it had previously been affected by the plant.

Michael was rightly concerned. He said, “I knew about Japanese knotweed and the problems it can cause so I was naturally disappointed and concerned when I discovered the plant had been growing on the property in the past. Although I was still keen to buy the house, I needed reassurances and was prepared to walk away if I didn’t get them.” As it turned out, a previous infestation of Japanese knotweed had been treated with herbicide, which is generally considered a control method as it’s impossible to certify that the plant’s extensive underground rhizome, or root system, has been killed. Consequently, Michael still had concerns about whether the plant was indeed dead, or simply lying dormant beneath the ground.

After looking online he found out about Mick, Mack and Buddy, our team of detection dogs who are the first (and only) dogs in the UK trained to detect the unique scent of Japanese knotweed. Even if there is no above ground growth, they are still capable of detecting live rhizome beneath the ground and will indicate by freezing and staring at the spot where knotweed is located.

The detection dogs scoured the property but no trace of live Japanese knotweed was found, giving Michael the peace of mind to proceed. “I wasn’t confident enough to buy the house without knowing with a high level of certainty that the knotweed was definitely gone,” he said. “The detection dogs combed the property and found no trace, so I decided to buy it and was even able to renegotiate the price in my favour.”

Considering the impact Japanese knotweed can have on house prices and the damage it can cause if not professionally managed, it’s vital that buyers have all the facts. We’re delighted that our canine team were able to provide the reassurances Michael needed, meaning he is now happily moved into his new home.

Contact Environet today to find out more about our detection dog service.

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