16 April 2018

Japanese Knotweed – What is the problem?

 

Japanese Knotweed seems to be the pest of the horticultural world. It was first introduced to the UK in the 19th Century as an ornamental plant but little was it known that it would soon turn into one of the most invasive species of plant in Britain.

 

It is not a criminal offence to have Japanese Knotweed on your property but it is a criminal offence to plant Japanese Knotweed or otherwise cause it to spread in the wild. If a property owner fails to keep Japanese knotweed under control, they could be planted with an ASBO.

 

Japanese Knotweed is not easy to treat and the costs associated with eradication can be very expensive and time consuming.

 

The weed has been known to grow through concrete and tarmac and can even grow into your property. The plant has vigorous growth and is difficult to remove; it grows up to 7ft tall and has shovel shaped leaves. The weed dies back in the winter/autumn months and may go virtually undetected until the spring/summer.

 

If your property has Japanese Knotweed, you could face difficulties when you decide to sell it. Since 2013 any seller is required to state whether the weed is present on their property through a standard form called TA6. If you purposely neglect to answer the question on the form in the knowledge that you have Japanese Knotweed on your property, this could later result in the buyer bringing a claim against you for misrepresentation and the sale contract could be rescinded.

 

The presence of Japanese Knotweed in your garden could reduce the value of your property and make the property less attractive to potential buyers.

 

If you are a buyer and you find out that there is or has been Japanese Knotweed on the property you wish to purchase (or even if a nearby property is known to have or had Japanese Knotweed), you might find yourself in the position of having to spend some extra money to obtain appropriate surveys and if appropriate, treatment plans to eradicate the weed. In some circumstances, lenders may even withdraw a mortgage offer if the property or a property in the vicinity has the weed or has ever had the weed.

 

An indemnity insurance policy may be available against the potential risk of discovery and/or regrowth of Japanese Knotweed at a property but the cost of such a policy could vary.