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Is Japanese knotweed standing in the way of your dream home?

  1. 04 October 2017
  2. By Rob Houghton

The dreaded plant is invasive, quick and destructive - but there's no reason to let it stop you from buying your dream property. Our guest post from Environet can tell you why...


Awareness of Japanese knotweed has grown in recent years, but new research by removal specialist Environet UK and YouGov has revealed that most of us – 78% in fact – would walk away from our dream home if we discovered it was affected by the dreaded weed. It appears that most people aren’t aware that it can be treated and guarantees for the work secured that will satisfy most high street lenders. 

Number one of the Environment Agency’s list of the UK’s most invasive plant species, Japanese knotweed grows up to 3m in height and spreads rapidly, pushing up through asphalt, cracks in concrete and drains in its quest for light and water.

If you discover knotweed on your land and you decide to leave it, you’re not breaking the law and it’s not a notifiable weed either, so you don’t need to report it to the authorities. However, if you allow it spread onto a neighbouring property, you could face legal action under ‘Private Nuisance’ legislation and even receive an ASBO! Environet’s survey revealed that only around half (49%) of people are aware that they have a legal obligation to prevent knotweed from spreading to neighbouring properties.

The seller is obliged to answer truthfully to a direct question relating to Japanese knotweed on the TA6 Property Information form, completed as part of the conveyancing process. If the property is affected by knotweed, the buyer should insist that a treatment plan is put in place immediately and a guarantee for the work secured in order for the sale to proceed. 

There are several methods of dealing with knotweed, the least expensive being herbicide treatment over several years. Increasingly, homeowners are opting to have the knotweed physically dug out of the ground, with all viable rhizome roots sifted and removed from the infected soil within a few days, at any time of year. An insurance backed guarantee can then be secured, meaning there will be no difficulties obtaining a mortgage and the sale can go ahead.

For homebuyers who would like to cover themselves against any risk of Japanese knotweed, there is now a Japanese knotweed indemnity policy available which costs just £67 for £100,000 of cover including the cost of treatment and any diminution in the value of the property. 

Ultimately awareness of Japanese knotweed is a positive thing, as the plant can cause serious damage to buildings and negatively impact their value. But with the right treatments and guarantees in place, there’s no reason why it needs to be a deal breaker. 

To find out more about treating Japanese knotweed, please contact www.environetuk.com 

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