Japanese Knotweed Cases On The Increase In London

The uncharacteristically warm and wet start to 2019 has enabled Japanese knotweed to thrive.

According to London Conveyancers, Quittance Legal Services, their firm has seen a rise in the number of discoveries of knotweed in the capital.

Chris Salmon, Commercial Director at Quittance Legal Services, said:

“London is at the epicentre of Japanese knotweed-related property issues in the UK, and this year’ weather conditions has created the best possible growing conditions for the plant.

“By May, one would expect only to see green shoots emerging. However, 2019 has seen reports of up to 1m of growth already. Infestations have also been reported in some parts of outer London and the South West for the first time.

“Knotweed issues have the potential to seriously delay or even kill a property sale. Sellers should make their Solicitor aware of any concerns they have as soon as possible, to give their sale the best chance of completing.”

Japanese knotweed is a headache for many people in the property business, however, the green menace hasn’t deterred home buyers. The report conducted by Quittance has shown an increase in property sales and purchase enquiries where knotweed is a known factor this year.

This doesn’t mean conveyancers and surveyors can get complacent where the knotweed is concerned, as recently a home buyer was awarded £50,000 from a surveyor who missed his infestation of the plant.

We know that invasive plant affects property prices, but very little is understood about the impact it has on the housing structure, and this is something The Science and Technology Select Committee want to address.

In January 2019, the Committee held an inquiry into the impact Japanese knotweed has on the built environment. The Committee found that “the current approach to Japanese knotweed is ‘overly cautious’ and more academic research is needed into its effects in the built environment.” It recommended that The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) commission a study of international approaches to the plant in the context of property sales to further inform discussions on the issue.

DEFRA are due to report back with their findings at the end of the year.

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