Now summer has arrived, homeowners are being reminded of the dangers of having Japanese Knotweed growing on their property.
Japanese Knotweed is a tall fast-growing Japanese plant of the dock family, with bamboo-like stems and small white flowers and is effectively a weed. The plant is highly destructive and can even grow through concrete. It can inflict extensive damage on property footings and drainage systems.
During summer months Japanese Knotweed can grow up to 10 to 20 cm a day. The growth of the plant on your property can have a significant effect on your property price. It can also cause problems for buyers when trying to obtain a mortgage as if Japanese Knotweed is found within seven metres of the property, lenders are unlikely to offer a loan.
Although it is not currently illegal to plant Japanese Knotweed on your own property, sellers do have a duty to disclose the existence of the plant on the property and advise buyers of whether there is a management plan in place.
The Sellers Property Information form, which is completed by sellers on the sale of the property specifically asks the question of the seller as to whether the property is affected by Japanese Knotweed. It is important that the seller is truthful in the information supplied in this form as knowingly providing incorrect information can be classed as negligence.
Chemical removal is usually required, and it can take up to five years for the knotweed to be totally eradicated. The disposal is classed as controlled waste under the Environmental Protection Act and the penalties for allowing the plant to spread, into the wild, include substantial fines and even prison. It is therefore important to ensure that any existence of Japanese Knotweed on your property is effectively managed.
If you are buying or selling a property, please contact a member of our Residential Property team who will be happy to help.