A knotty problem for green fingered property owners
What is Japanese Knotweed?
This hazardous plant can cause great damage to your property if found in your garden or nearby.
It can grow at an exceptional speed and compromise the structure of properties.
Although looking like a harmless garden plant, this weed (also known as Fallopia Japonica) can render your property unsalable and un-mortgageable due to its aggressive nature.
What to do if I find Knotweed in my garden?
If you are concerned that this plant is in the grounds of your property, a Japanese Knotweed specialist should be contacted to have this treated and removed.
It cannot be removed in the usual way most plants can; specialist treatment has to be applied along with continued management.
Furthermore, if the Knotweed is not disposed of correctly at a landfill site or incinerated, you could face large fines and even imprisonment. It is also unlawful to allow this plant to spread into the wild.
Am I able to sell or re-mortgage my property?
It will not necessarily prevent you from selling your property but you will need to follow certain procedures to have the Japanese Knotweed removed.
It is also often requested that a warranty and insurance is obtained to cover you or a future purchaser should the plant re-appear in the future.
The treatment of a garden with Knotweed can be timely and costly so may delay a sale or prevent a mortgage being obtained until the works have been completed.
A specialist will be able to advise you what stage this is at and an estimated timeframe for the removal and treatment of the plant and surrounding area.
What if Knotweed spreads to my property from someone else’s land?
Recent case law suggests that if the plant has spread from a piece of land to yours and the landowner was aware of the existence of the plant, you are able to claim compensation.
National Rail, for example, have recently been successfully sued as they allowed this plant to spread from land owned by them onto a homeowners property.
When selling a property, it is vital to ensure that you inform and proposed purchaser should you be aware of the existence of Japanese Knotweed in your garden, or the surrounding area. This should also be indicated in the Property Information Form that your Solicitor will ask you to complete, there is a specific section relating to Japanese Knotweed.
Equally, when buying a property it would be wise to keep an eye out for this plant in the garden. If spotted, immediately raise this with your Solicitor and ensure a specialist surveyor is instructed to investigate this further.
Speak to a Property Solicitor
If you have any concerns regarding Knotweed – or any other property issue – please contact the Hart Reade Property Department and we would be happy to advise you.