Homeowners warned of ‘Japanese Knotweed’ impact

Known to have a significant effect on property prices, homeowners are being reminded of the scale of the impact that Japanese Knotweed can have.

The perennial plant is renowned for growing rapidly, at a pace of almost 10-20cm per day during the summer. Chemical removal is usually required, and it can take up to five years for the Knotweed to be totally eradicated.

It can also cause problems when trying to obtain a mortgage, as highlighted by legal executive, Kate Mercer. A member of the Residential Property team at Napthens solicitors, she warned that if Japanese Knotweed is found within seven metres of the property, lenders are unlikely to offer a loan.

She stated: “It is not illegal to have Japanese Knotweed in your garden, although it is illegal to plant it. However, sellers are under a legal duty to disclose Japanese Knotweed in the property information form which is one of the standard documents provided during a property transaction.

“The form specifically asks sellers whether the property is affected by Japanese Knotweed. If the property is affected, then the seller is asked whether there is a management plan in place.”

She went on to highlight the importance of being honest about the plant’s existence, stating:

“It is important to be upfront about the fact and to reassure a potential buyer and their mortgage lender. We advise people to seek help from professionals such as the British Association of Landscape Industries.

“Disposing of Japanese Knotweed can also be problematic as it is classed as a controlled waste under the Environmental Protection Act and people can face a substantial fine or even a prison sentence if they allow such waste to spread into the wild.”

Today's Conveyancer