The much-maligned Japanese Knotweed has an infamous reputation for striking fear into the hearts of everyone involved in a property transaction. With a ferocious rate of growth and a reputation for causing devastating damage to property, Japanese Knotweed has become the botanical public enemy number one in the UK. The Environment Agency describes the persistent perennial pest as “indisputably the UK’s most aggressive, destructive and invasive plant”.
Is it possible to sell a property with Japanese Knotweed?
Mortgage lenders, if Japanese Knotweed is present, will usually request to see a fully-paid eradication plan which has already commenced. This should come from a professional company which is an accredited member of the Invasive Non-Native Specialists Association and the Property Care Association. Where the works have already been completed, a 10-year insurance-backed guarantee and indemnity policy will be requested from the professionals who performed the work.
Trying to hide the problem is both risky and immoral. You are legally obliged to let buyers know on, or preferably long before, completing the TA6 Seller’s Property Information Form. The form directly poses the question of whether Japanese Knotweed is present at the property; to lie could put you at risk of being sued by the buyer for misrepresentation.
What does Japanese Knotweed look like?
Before you start panicking about selling your home with Japanese Knotweed, it’s best first to check whether you even have it in the first place.
Here are some pictures below showing what Japanese Knotweed looks like throughout the year, which should help you to identify it:
If you are still unsure about whether or not you have Japanese Knotweed in your garden, a Chartered Surveyor or qualified vegetation removal expert can be enlisted to assess whether the plant you are concerned about is Japanese Knotweed or not.
Alternatively, why not request a free property valuation from Mayhews? As part of our valuation, we may be able to help you identify any troubling vegetation at your property before you proceed with listing your property for sale.
Get in touch with Mayhews today to have a chat about selling your property. Knotweed or not, we will be happy to talk you through.
Such is Japanese Knotweed’s notoriety that letting it get onto your neighbours’ property can land you with an anti-social behaviour order. An estate agent is legally required to inform any prospective buyer of any on your land, and as the seller, you too are under legal obligation to let buyers know. The buyer’s conveyancer or solicitor will require proof from the seller that any infestation is under control, or risk being sued for professional negligence if they don’t. Mortgage lenders can be funny about lending on properties where Japanese Knotweed has been reported even nearby.
So what on Earth do you do if you are hoping to sell a house with Japanese Knotweed on the premises? With over 140 years’ experience in selling property in Surrey and West Sussex, we have plenty of experience with the ins and outs of pesky plants and what should be done about them...
How do you remove Japanese Knotweed?
The first thing to know about Japanese Knotweed is that trying to deal with it yourself can only exacerbate the problem. Chopping it down releases fragments into the soil which germinate easily and fast. Do not cut the grass or any vegetation near the Knotweed, do not try and use normal weedkiller to kill it yourself, and do not disturb the soil anywhere near it. Just seal it off and don’t go near Japanese Knotweed, lest you unintentionally spread it.
Unfortunately, there is nothing for it but to call in the professionals. This can cost, on average, £3,000 (even if the problem is coming in from next door), but when you are trying to secure a sale on your property, it works out as the best option considering how much you could lose on the sale by not addressing the issue. Japanese Knotweed can reduce the value of your property by 20% or more.