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What is Japanese Knotweed?

Japanese Knotweed is an invasive species, and its presence can open several potential liabilities for property owners as well as structural risk to property.

 

Japanese Knotweed grows rapidly up to 10cm per day and because of its rapid growth, it has been known to cause extensive damage to building structures which can prove to be costly for property owners.

The plant can grow in most soil conditions found in the UK and is commonly found in roadsides, waste grounds, railway embankments and cuttings and along rivers and streams. Knotweed targets weak points in a structure and attempts to grow through them.

There have been past reports where Japanese Knotweed has grown inside of people’s home. It is not only the structural/physical damage to be aware of with Japanese Knotweed, but it can also devalue a property between 5-15% in some cases or ultimately completely devalue properties depending on its severity.

 

Japanese Knotweed

 

Do I need to inform my conveyancer if I am aware of Japanese Knotweed on my property?

When you are selling a property, you are required to complete a Property Information Form which contains a question relating to Japanese Knotweed and whether you are aware that the plant is present on the property (or within 3 meters) of the property boundary. If you are aware that it is, you are legally obliged to disclose this information.

If you indicate ‘no’ on the Property Information Form and it later transpires that there was Japanese Knotweed on the property or within 3 meters of the boundary, then this could give rise to a legal claim against you in misrepresentation. This is the case even if the misrepresentation was unintentional or innocent.

It is possible that there could be Japanese Knotweed present on neighbouring land that you are unaware of, or the plant could be present on your land but not visible due to the time of year or the age of the plant.

If you are not aware whether your property is affected by Japanese Knotweed it is best to indicate ‘not known’ on the Property Information Form, and the onus would be on the buyer to carry out further inspections/surveys if this of specific concern.

 

Where do I find further information or advice relating to Japanese Knotweed?

If you are concerned about Japanese Knotweed, you can consult a specialist surveyor who will visit the property to inspect whether Japanese Knotweed is present or not and provide advice on how best to deal with this.

Our sister firm, Oakwood Solicitors Ltd, has a very comprehensive FAQ on Japanese Knotweed. Check it out here.

Here are some other informative websites linked below that will that provide further advice and information on how to spot Japanese Knotweed and how to stop it from spreading:

 

Further reading

Purchases – Oakwood Property Solicitors

 

WHAT TO DO NEXT

To make a start on the next step in your property journey, get in touch today to book a consultation with a member of our team. Call us on 0113 218 5727 to find out how we can help you.

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