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Am I legally obligated to disclose Japanese Knotweed to buyers?

  1. Peter from Hampshire
  2. Surveys questions and answers

Question

I’m hoping to soon move abroad so I am in the process of selling my house and the field attached to it. In the lower field I have had some problems with Japanese Knotweed. When I find a buyer for the house and land, am I legally obligated to disclose the presence of knotweed to them as it is quite a distance from the house? Thank you.

Answer

In the past any occurrence of Japanese Knotweed on a property was down to ‘buyer beware’ meaning that you had no legal reason to declare knowledge of the plant unless the surveyor noticed the growth.

Most house sale documents now have a section detailing questions related to Japanese Knotweed so you would need to be honest when answering these questions. If the knotweed is a significant distance from the property it should not hinder the sale.

It could be worth your while employing a Japanese Knotweed contractor (use the INNSA website www.innsa.org) and getting a programme of works in place? Typically if the infestation is well away from the property a chemical treatment programme and warranty could be issued that would ensure that the sale went through unhindered. Most surveyors are now aware of the problems with Japanese Knotweed and much of the hysteria has calmed down meaning that common sense and careful management of the issues can resolve any potential for conflict.

reallymoving comment: 

The law around Japanese Knotweed changed in 2014.  The government states "You do not need to notify anyone about the invasive plants on your land. However, you should report certain non-native species on the Non-native Species Secretariat (NNSS) website. 

Mike Clough

Mike Clough

Japanese Knotweed Solutions Ltd

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Comments (1)

  • Hazel Gay

    posted on 13 Jan 2017

    I have just moved into Bungalow and found there is Japaness Knotweed at the back of the garage sell had said there was none. Can I go back to them about it and claim I am a widow and already spend a lot on the property. Thank you.

    Reallymoving response

    We have a Japanese Knotweed specialist who can advise on your query. Also, take a look at our article on Japanese Knotweed Identification for more help and information. 

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