Finding Japanese knotweed on your property can be a nightmare. So, for everything you need to know about the pesky plant, read on…
If you’re in the process of selling your home, there will be plenty of items to tick off your checklist. First, you’ll need to arrange selling with a specialist conveyancing solicitor in Oxford, London, Manchester or wherever you live. Then, you’ll need to start making renovations and managing your finances, amongst other responsibilities.
That said, have you considered checking for Japanese knotweed? Since being introduced to Britain, the plant has spread far and wide, becoming a bane for homeowners who are looking to sell their property.
So, before you start looking to sell, you might want to clue yourself up on Japanese knotweed and all the ways it could potentially affect the sale of your home. Read on below for everything you’ll need to know…
What Is Japanese Knotweed?
First thing’s first – what exactly is Japanese knotweed? Well, I’m glad you asked. Japanese knotweed was first introduced to Britain in the early 19th century from, you guessed it, Japan.
It’s considered the most invasive plant species in the UK by the Environment Agency, due to its incredibly hardy properties and ability to spread quickly. Incredibly, it can grow up to 10cm a day during the summer and up to a maximum height of around 2 metres!
That’s not all, either. Japanese knotweed can be an absolute nightmare to deal with, due to its ability to regrow from a fragment that’s barely an inch large.
Where Can You Find Japanese Knotweed?
Pretty much anywhere. Japanese knotweed tends to be found in areas that haven’t been occupied for a long time, as well as near areas with a public watercourse, such as a canal.
Footpaths, railways, carparks and motorways are other attractive locations. Annoyingly, it’s not always obvious whether Japanese knotweed is lurking, as it is able to growwithin and spread underground.
How Do I Know If My Home Has Japanese Knotweed?
There are plenty of plants that look like Japanese knotweed, or at least have very similar characteristics. So, it’s important that you understand exactly how to identify it. You wouldn’t want to start getting worried over a few routine weeds now, would you?
Japanese knotweed flowers are a distinct, creamy white colour and tend to form in clusters. The plant can also be identified by its long, bamboo-like stems and shovel shaped green leaves. They typically bloom between late summer and early autumn.
If you aren’t sure whether or not the plants you find are indeed Japanese knotweed, it might be worth considering getting a surveyor from RICS to help you out.
Or, if you’re a dog person, you’ll be thrilled to learn that there is such a thing as a knotweed sniffer dog! Neat, right?
Am I Responsible for Japanese Knotweed?
Yes, you’re legally responsible to deal with Japanese knotweed if you find it on your property. There is plenty of misinformation surrounding the plant, however, with a YouGov survey previously finding that just 49 percent of people who were aware of the plant knew that they were responsible for dealing with it.
Your responsibility isn’t just for maintaining your own property either. Whether or not you get along with your neighbours (that’s a different subject all together), you’re obligated to prevent Japanese knotweed from encroaching into their garden. You could receive an ASBO if not!
Can You Still Sell a Property with Japanese Knotweed?
Despite certain myths saying otherwise, selling a home with Japanese knotweed is still possible. But, while it’s possible, it’s certainly not easy.
Most buyers would prefer a knotweed-free property, which is pretty reasonable in all fairness. That means you’ll have to either take steps to remove the plant entirely or pay upfront for an insurance-backed treatment plan. Buyers may also struggle to secure a mortgage from their bank if Japanese knotweed is on the scene.
Despite all this, you must disclose the fact that you have, or have previously had, Japanese knotweed before you even consider selling your home. It’s part of the standard conveyancing process.
How Much Does Japanese Knotweed Devalue a Property?
Japanese knotweed could decrease the value of a property from anywhere between 5 and 15 percent. In the most dramatic instances, homes have been completely devalued as a result of severe infestations.
If you’re looking to sell your home, its value could depend on the severity of the infestation. It’ll also depend on the proximity of the knotweed to your home and whether there is a history of the plant cropping up.
Can I Get Rid of Japanese Knotweed Myself?
Technically, yes, you can get rid of Japanese knotweedyourself. But, as with many things in life, just because you can it doesn’t mean that you should. Japanese knotweed removal is incredibly difficult and complex and shouldn’t be attempted by anyone without specialist expertise.
Simply killing Japanese knotweed with bleach isn’t going to cut it. It’s best to hire a professional who specialises in removing Japanese knotweed so you can be sure that the chances of it coming back are very slim.
How Does Japanese Knotweed Removal Cost?
The price of Japanese knotweed removal will depend on a number of factors, including the severity and the area of land that it covers. Specialist removal firms tend to charge based on the square metres that have been infested by the plant but, of course, rates will differ. Make a few enquiries and see what option is within your budget.
All removal companies will come with a complete 10-year insurance backed guarantee and indemnity policy that ensures the treatment will be completed.
How Long Does Japanese Knotweed Removal Take?
You might be surprised to learn that it can take years to completely remove Japanese knotweed. Even if a treatment plan has been completed, you’ll still need to notify any potential buyers when you’re selling your home.
Are You Worried About Selling a Home with Japanese Knotweed?
So, that’s the lowdown on Japanese knotweed. Hopefully this post has given you a better understanding of the plant and why recognising it as soon as possible is so important!
Have you ever had to deal with Japanese knotweed in the past? Perhaps you’re a knotweed expert! If so, feel free to leave some further advice in the comments below.