how japanese knotweed affects property

How Japanese Knotweed Affects Property

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Japanese knotweed can be a real headache, especially if you’re planning to buy or sell a property where knotweed is growing. In this article, we offer a closer look at this invasive plant, explaining what it is, how to identify it, and how knotweed can affect the sale of your property.

What is Japanese knotweed?

Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica) is a non-native plant species that has become a major problem throughout the UK. Initially introduced as an ornamental plant by 19th-century German physician and botanist Philipp Franz von Siebold, knotweed has gone on to cause havoc around many parts of the UK. Due to favourable growing conditions, it thrives in areas like South Wales and the North West, and it can be found in an ever-increasing variety of locations nationwide. Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, it is an offence to plant or encourage the growth of Japanese knotweed, or to allow it to spread.

How to spot Japanese knotweed

Identifying a Japanese knotweed infestation can, at times, be quite difficult. Knotweed’s appearance differs depending on the season, and it may sometimes be mistaken for other common plants and shrubs; however, a simple Japanese knotweed survey conducted by a PCA-registered company can establish whether or not the invasive plant is present on your property.

It’s important to remember that a property may still be considered affected by Japanese knotweed even if the plant is a little way outside the property’s boundary. Therefore, if the land neighbouring your property has an infestation of knotweed, you will need to contact whoever owns the land and establish a joint plan to eradicate it.

How does Japanese knotweed affect property sales?

In recent years, there have been many news reports regarding Japanese knotweed and the disastrous impact it can have on the value of homes thanks to the structural damage that it can cause as it grows. As a result, buyers wishing to purchase a property that’s affected by knotweed have encountered issues with mortgage lenders reluctant to offer finance. To overcome this, a specialist Japanese knotweed removal programme is often required, coupled with an insurance-backed guarantee to reassure lenders that the infestation will be kept under control.

When it comes to selling a property, UK sellers must state whether or not they know of a Japanese knotweed infestation when filling out the TA6 property information form. This form provides some reassurance to buyers: if a seller claims there is no Japanese knotweed present and it’s later found to affect the property, a potential legal case for misrepresentation on sale can be pursued. New-build homes also include a homebuyer report to identify any issue that requires urgent action, including Japanese knotweed.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has developed an assessment framework that includes four key categories of the threats that Japanese knotweed poses. This framework acts as the official guidance that mortgage lenders, banks and building societies look at when accounting for Japanese knotweed on a property. If your property falls under level three or four of the framework, PCA-approved Japanese knotweed companies will be required to help remove the plant.

Tips for buying or selling a property with a knotweed infestation

  1. Establish the scale of the infestation and what actions may be required
  2. Determine who is responsible for the next steps of eradication
  3. Always be transparent about any knotweed problem with your mortgage lender
  4. Understand what is required from you at each stage of the removal process
  5. Choose a PCA-approved Japanese knotweed removal company to carry out any work that is required
  6. Act sooner rather than later to keep the problem from getting worse.

If you have a property affected by Japanese Knotweed and are struggling to sell, get in contact with Olivia Rose Estates today. You can receive a free cash offer and find out how you can sell in as little as 7 days!

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