February 01, 2018
So, you’ve found your dream home. The garden looks beautiful and you are particularly taken by the lush green plant growing in the corner. It all makes for an idyllic setting as you imagine enjoying the summer months in your new home.
But do you know what that green plant is? It may be Japanese Knotweed.
Japanese Knotweed was introduced into the UK in the 1800s as an ornamental plant, but now ranks high on the Environment Agency’s list of the UK’s most invasive plant species, described as the UK’s most aggressive, destructive plant.
The plant can grow up to some three metres in height and spreads rapidly. In its search for water and light it can push up through concrete and asphalt, potentially causing damage to many things including buildings, driveways and drains.
So, this is a major concern for property owners, particularly those looking to sell as you have a legal duty to declare the presence of Japanese Knotweed to potential purchasers. Indeed, some lenders may refuse to lend on a property effected by the plant.
According to a recent YouGov survey, Japanese Knotweed deters nearly eight in 10 people in the UK from buying a property.
Homeowners, whilst aware of the plant, do not know their legal obligations on how to deal with Japanese Knotweed if it is discovered on their land. The survey shows that only 49% are aware that a home owner is legally responsible for preventing it from spreading from their property, and only 21% are aware that they could even be prosecuted if it is allowed to spread to their neighbour’s land.
If you have, or discover, Japanese Knotweed, all is not lost, but you should act and not ignore it.
Procedures to remove this invasive plant range from chemical treatment to complete digging out.
UK law covers the removal and disposal of Japanese Knotweed. So, if you are affected by this problem, it makes sense to not only deal with it as soon as possible, but also to consult a professional who should offer a guarantee. Attempting a DIY job might not only fail to deal with the issue, it might make it worse.
Professional indemnity insurance policies are also now available, enabling homeowners to protect themselves from the risk of Japanese Knotweed from as little as £65.
So, whilst Japanese Knotweed, sounds alarming, dealt with and insured properly, it should not mean you can’t sell, buy and enjoy your home.
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