Comments : Japanese Knotweed - the plant that can destroy your house sale
Did you know that there is a plant described by the Environment Agency as ‘aggressive, destructive and invasive’ which could cause the sale of a house to fall through? Its name is the Japanese Knotweed and it is feared because it can grow 3-4 metres high in just 10 weeks, and its roots or ‘rhizomes’ can stretch 7m horizontally and can affect the structure of buildings. And If you think the plant can simply be pulled up and the problem is gone then your very, very wrong.
You could face huge fines or even imprisonment if you dispose of Japanese Knotweed by incinerating it or allowing it to go to landfill and even if you leave a fingernail size fragment of the plant it will definitely grow back. The only way to remove Japanese Knotweed is to hire a specialist which will carry out treatment on the plant twice a year over a two year period at an estimated cost of £300 per treatment. When the removal of Japanese Knotweed takes place, the plant and any contaminated soil is classed as controlled waste and must be removed and disposed of by a licensed waste control operator.
The plant has been in existence in the UK since the 19th century and there is at least one infestation of Japanese Knotweed in every 10 sq kms. It is a criminal offence under Section 14(1) and (2) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to plant Japanese Knotweed or otherwise cause it to grow in the wild. As a landowner, you must prove that all reasonable steps were taken to prevent the existence of the plant or face prosecution. However, it is not an offence to have the weed present on your land but you must not allow it to encroach onto your neighbours land under common law as it is classed a private nuisance. The neighbour may apply to the court for an injunction requiring you to abate the nuisance and this could result in costs being paid out for damages and the devaluation of the property.
If a property is suspected to be effect by Japanese Knotweed or even in an effected area will require a specialist to survey the area and if the weed is present, mortgage applications will be declined. Guarantees or an indemnity policy will be needed before a very select amount of lenders will consider a mortgage application.
However, according to a business development director of e.surv when spoke to the Guardian, no houses have fallen down in the UK as a result of Japanese Knotweed and he recognises the ‘lack of clarity’ with some lenders.
Have you ever had any experiences with Japanese Knotweed or is this the first time you have heard about it? You can read more about the history of the Japanese Knotweed on Pali's previous blog, Japanese Knotweed - the end of civilisation?
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