Potential house sellers are being warned that the presence of Japanese knotweed in the vicinity of their homes must be disclosed to prospective purchasers.
Inside Conveyancing reports that Japanese knotweed was introduced to Britain as an ornamental plant by The Victorians who failed to realise that it grows prolifically and its growth is not impeded by the presence of concrete, walls or floorboards.
The plant, which is very difficult to eradicate and can lie dormant for years, is classed as a controlled waste under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and must only be disposed of in special landfill sites.
Any houseowner not dealing with the presence of Japanese knotweed impacting on neighbours or communities could face a Community protection notice under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime & Policing Act 2014.
Although until recently most mortgage lenders would refuse to lend against a knotweed blighted property, this is no longer the case.
Where a lender is willing to lend, however, it will require sight of a management plan to deal with the control and eradication of the plant.
The lender might also insist that money is put aside to tackle and treat the problem. Notwithstanding this change in stance, given the costs and time involved in controlling and eradicating this plant, if found on or close to your property, it is possible that this will have an adverse effect on the value of it.
If you are looking to buy a new home, you should be proactive and ask your surveyor to investigate for evidence of Japanese knotweed and other invasive plants.
Whilst the seller is obliged to disclose the presence of this plant, it is notoriously difficult to identify.
If you need property advice or to get a quotation call PM Property Lawyers’ CQS approved property team in Sheffield on 0114 249 6926.