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‘Japanese knotweed’ property value warning

Property owners are being reminded of the impact the infamous plant Japanese Knotweed can have on prices as the summer approaches.

Japanese Knotweed is a perennial plant which can grow extremely quickly, during the summer months as much as 10-20cm per day. It can take up to five years to remove by treating it with chemicals.

Homeowners can face serious issues if the plant is found on their property – it can cause structural damage as it pushes through foundations and drains.

Kate Mercer, legal executive in the Residential Property team at Napthens solicitors, warns that mortgage lenders are unlikely to offer a loan if the plant is found within seven metres of the property, substantially reducing the value of affected properties.

She explained: “It is not illegal to have Japanese Knotweed in your garden, although it is illegal to plant it. However, sellers are under a legal duty to disclose Japanese Knotweed in the property information form which is one of the standard documents provided during a property transaction.

“The form specifically asks sellers whether the property is effected by Japanese Knotweed. If the property is affected, then the seller is asked whether there is a management plan in place.”

“It is important to be upfront about the fact and to reassure a potential buyer and their mortgage lender. We advise people to seek help from professionals such as the British Association of Landscape Industries.

“Disposing of Japanese Knotweed can also be problematic as it is classed as a controlled waste under the Environmental Protection act and people can face a substantial fine or even a prison sentence if they allow such waste to spread into the wild.”