Japanese Knotweed is a fast-growing, invasive plant that is found in tens of thousands of developed sites and residential properties throughout the UK. The damage and destruction caused by this innocent looking plant costs Britain several hundred million pounds every year.
Selling a home with pervasive Japanese Knotweed is often problematic as lenders are reluctant to agree to a mortgage on affected properties, and the damage caused can dramatically reduce a house’s value. But is selling a Japanese Knotweed damaged property possible?
What Is Japanese Knotweed?
Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia japonica) is a rapidly growing weed with bamboo-like stems and “rhizomes” (horizontal underground plant stems) that burrow underground, suppressing all other plant growth. Its underground root systems can stretch for seven metres. The plant appears to die in winter, but by early summer it revives and spreads like wildfire.
Knotweed was introduced to the UK by the Victorians as an ornamental garden plant. It can be identified by its tall bamboo-like canes with purple flecks and heart-shaped leaves. In late summer, creamy-white flowers appear.
Why Is It a Problem for Homeowners?
Many homeowners battle unsuccessfully against this destructive plant. It grows extremely quickly, and it is difficult to remove by hand or kill with chemicals. It needs repeated treatments to control, and it typically takes three years before the underground rhizomes become dormant.
If left untreated, this troublesome weed can damage tarmac, paving, building foundations and retaining wall structures. The deep-penetrating rhizomes can block and interfere with drainage pipes, sumps, water pipes, underground cables and drainage pits, causing thousands of pounds of damage.
Japanese Knotweed is so damaging to other vegetation and buildings that it is illegal to cause the plant to grow in the wild or to let it spread from your land onto neighbouring property. There have been several high-profile legal cases in which landowners were successfully sued for allowing the plant to spread into neighbouring properties.
Selling a Japanese Knotweed Damaged Property
The presence of Japanese Knotweed can negatively impact the time it takes to sell a property and its market value because many buyers will be reluctant to take on the hassle and cost of treating it. Even if you’re lucky enough to find an eager buyer, many mortgage companies will not approve a loan on a Japanese Knotweed damaged property.
Keeping schtum about the presence of this pesky plant is not a sensible idea. Sellers have a legal obligation to declare the presence of Japanese Knotweed on a TA6 form, which is used during the conveyancing process. It is the seller’s responsibility to check the garden for the weed, state its presence on the form and provide a plan for eradicating it after consulting with a professional company.
If a buyer discovers the plant part-way through the sales process or disputes the identity of a plant, the seller is likely to incur delays and extra costs. If the Knotweed is found after the sale, the buyer can take legal action against the former owner for “misrepresentation”.
If you have Japanese Knotweed you’ll probably need to repair any damage caused, and you’ll need to implement a management plan to eradicate the plant before you can find a seller on the open market.
If you want to sell your house quickly — rather than waiting three years to rid the property of this damaging plant — House Buyer Bureau can help. We have the funds to buy any property in the UK regardless of its condition. Once we have your information we will make a fair cash offer and can arrange completion in as little as seven days after the valuation of the property. Our team of experts will work at a pace that suits you — no hard sell or pushy sales tactics.