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Trying to sell your house can be complicated and stressful. But what if your surveyor concludes that Japanese knotweed is growing in your garden? You are then faced with a whole world of problems that you probably hadn’t anticipated; the biggest being that potential buyers may argue your house has depreciated in value because of the growth, meaning you could end up selling your property for a lot less than market value!

Japanese knotweed is renowned for being highly invasive. It even has the potential to damage structural foundations, which is why the mere presence of the weed on a property can decrease the value significantly in the worst cases. Not only this, but many mortgage lenders will also refuse to release funds against a property that has an un-managed Japanese knotweed infestation.

So, how can you secure a sale when you have Knotweed growing on your grounds?

First of all, it’s important for the homeowner to get an insight into the situation at hand. The best way to do this is to instruct a Property Care Association (PCA) accredited company to carry out a site survey. There are many companies out there offering remediation, however, you should make sure that they are PCA-accredited as mortgage lenders will not accept documents from a company that does not have the accreditation. The survey will give you an insight into the:

  • Age of the stands.
  • Stand location.
  • Site plan.
  • RICS assessment.
  • Cause of the spread or origin of the Knotweed.

By having this survey conducted, you are taking the first steps in recognising the Knotweed issue, and the ensuing documentation will ensure your house sale is achievable.

Following the survey, a management plan will need to be put into place. The management plan outlines the course of treatment required alongside a full cost breakdown for the treatments and guarantees. Mortgage lenders tend to ask for an insurance backed guarantee to be issued as soon as possible.

Having this management plan illustrates that you are being proactive in reducing the risk of Knotweed affecting the property value, and so should be sufficient evidence for a mortgage lender to release funds against the property.

If you are trying to sell your home and think you may have Japanese Knotweed growing on your property, please feel free to get in touch with us directly at info@japaneseknotweedexpert.co.uk. Or give us a call on 0800 1337 444.

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SPOT IT EARLY!

Spring is the easiest and most affordable time of the year to treat Japanese knotweed. It is crucial that you know what signs to look out for to save you money.

If they haven’t already, Japanese knotweed stems will soon begin sprouting, after lying dormant through the winter. Unfortunately, due to changing temperatures. Not only are we seeing a rise in the amounts of Japanese knotweed, we are also witnessing sprouting occurring earlier every year.

Identification in the early months of spring can be difficult, however a trained professional will be able to let you know if you have Japanese knotweed within one site visit.

Japanese Knotweed During Early Spring:

Japanese knotweed can grow 2cm a day: it will develop from red/purple shoots to fleshy green asparagus-like stems of 1 to 4cm, into dense stands of bamboo-like stalks closer by the summer which can reach heights of 3m, growing upwards of 70cm every week.

The flowers of Japanese knotweed wont emerge until late summer; this is why it is so important to know what Japanese knotweed looks like through all stages, to not just look for the large green heart shaped leaves, but for the stems, to ensure early identification and treatment.

Even after the leaves develop over the summer months, Japanese knotweed spreads predominantly underground, in which the rhizomes (roots) can spread to 7m outwards and 3m deep. These rhizomes can lie dormant, but alive, through the winter and are the reason Japanese knotweed can cause so much damage to your property.

The fierce spread of Japanese knotweed means that there are more and more cases every year. However, there is good news! – long term damage is avoidable, if you look out for the signs and organise treatment straight away.

Japanese Knotweed Treatment:

If you notice anything in your garden that appears to be Japanese knotweed, it is crucial that you contact an expert surveyor and arrange a site visit as soon as possible.

Alternatively, send a photo of the plant that you are worried about to info@japaneseknotweedexpert.co.uk and we will identify if you have Japanese knotweed within an hour.

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Law Society Guidelines for Property sellers on Japanese Knotweed

Japanese knotweed devalues homeowners’ most valuable asset by an average of 10% in the UK. With 1 in 20 properties affected by this invasive weed, it has become a major issue!

Currently, when selling a property, you are required to fill out a TA6 form. Previously the guidance regarding the completion of this form stated, “The seller should state whether the property is affected by Japanese knotweed.”

The new guidance issued by the Law Society, in response to recommendations from the House of Commons Select Committee on Japanese knotweed, now states; “The seller should state whether the property is affected by Japanese knotweed. If you are unsure that Japanese knotweed exists above or below ground or whether it has previously been managed on the property, please indicate this as ‘not known’. The guidance then goes on to state, very importantly, “If no is chosen as an answer the seller must be certain that no rhizome (root) is present in the ground of the property, or within three metres of the property boundary even if there are no visible signs above ground.”Japanese Knotweed Growth

This is a major change and we feel that this is an ideal response to the increased litigation we have seen against homeowners who stated that there was no Japanese knotweed on their properties and then, subsequently, Japanese knotweed has been found after the purchase of the property. The underlying recommendation would be to appoint an expert to survey the garden and the neighbouring gardens to ensure there is no risk of encroachment by Japanese knotweed. By doing this the seller has completely fulfilled his requirements and will be able to fill out the TA6 form with no fear of being sued in the future.

We at Japanese Knotweed Expert can carry out surveys within two working days, ensuring that the sale of a property will go through smoothly, with no delay caused by Japanese knotweed.

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5% of houses in the UK are affected by Japanese knotweed

 

This figure has jumped up hugely in recent years – with the exponential growth of Japanese knotweed (JK) this means 1 house in 20 could be reduced in value by up to £100,000!

The number of sites effected by Japanese knotweed in the UK.

At one of the CPD events we run for surveyors, an experienced gentleman stated that he had never come across JK on any property he had surveyed – this really blew us away as we see it every day. It really highlights the problem that many professionals cannot identify JK. The most common places it can be found are on brownfield sites and areas where fly tipping has occurred. Another common place is at the back of terraced houses and where there are badgers and foxes regularly travelling through a person’s garden.

The reason why we see a much higher concentration of JK in these areas is due to the way it reproduces. In the UK the seed is not viable, so although it produces seeds these will not produce viable plants. The plants therefore reproduce from cuttings. There are two types of cutting to propagate a new plant; a stem and a rhizome cutting. The stem has to have two nodules, one to become the root and one to become the new shoot. However, if a small piece of the rhizome is taken – and this can be as small as your fingernail – this will produce a new plant. For these reasons we would never recommend strimming JK or trying to excavate it by yourself as is can be very easily spread

Viable Japanese knotweed with typical internal orange colouring.

If, as a member of the public, you spread JK you can face a £2,000 fine and, if you are a business, it can be a £20,000 fine with 6 months in prison. Also, if you allow the JK to grow from your garden into a neighbour’s garden then they can bring a civil case against you for depreciation of the house, loss of enjoyment and even stress! Claims in excess of £30,000 are not uncommon.

Surveyors are the most common professionals to be litigated against if the JK has not been identified within their survey. With typical devaluations being 10% of the value of the property, this can cause a massive problem when trying to sell your house if you do not have the right people on board to assist you.

Here at Japanese Knotweed Expert we have been working with mortgage lenders, surveyors and solicitors for over two decades and are one of the foremost experts, that are commercially minded, within our field. So, if you require any advice or help then please do get in touch.

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Heard the horror stories regarding Japanese Knotweed? Then you must read this article…

 

Every day we take frenzied phone calls from individuals who have recently been made aware of Japanese Knotweed growing within their property once they have come to sell it. Almost every conversation starts with the fact that they have researched online and seen that it can plummet their house value to £0 and neighbouring properties can sue for every last penny owned should it spread to their land.

 

Although these points are true, there is a simple solution that will avoid these devastating outcomes: a site survey and management plan!

 

Due to the invasive nature of the weed, time really is of the essence. As soon as you are aware of the plant growing on your property, instruct a licenced professional to conduct a survey and produce the most effective management plan. Please also note that this company must be PCA accredited and offer insurance backed guarantees to meet the criteria required to be accepted by a mortgage company.

Once you have obtained your site survey and management plan document, implement the management plan immediately. This way, the weed can start to be treated as soon as possible, eliminating any further threat that it may have towards the property.

 

If you have all the above in place, mortgage companies will lend towards the property and it can be sold. As you have also taken the appropriate steps to manage the weed, neighbouring properties will have no means to pursue any legal action.

 

If you have Japanese Knotweed growing on your property and require further advice or a site survey, please contact us on 01782 479444 or alternatively you can send an email to info@japaneseknotweedexpert.co.uk.

 

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How To Identify Japanese Knotweed

We are often contacted by distressed individuals who are dealing with accusations and claims due to simply not knowing that they had Japanese Knotweed on their property. In the height of the growing season, Japanese Knotweed is generally an attractive plant and we have had stories of people watering and pruning it to suit to their garden. Of course, as the weed has spread and become harder to manage, it has raised concerns to both the owner and neighbour and with a click of the search tab – ‘Japanese Knotweed Claims! Claim your compensation today!’Before you know it, the neighbour has instructed solicitors and the owner is in distress.

This is just one example of how individuals can unknowingly land themselves in trouble for an innocent mistake. We are aiming to raise awareness of the plant and the implications it can have so this situation can possibly be avoided in the future, starting with how to identify Japanese Knotweed.

Japanese Knotweed Through The Seasons

Japanese Knotweed in the spring will appear in reddish shoots which resemble asparagus. These can then grow up to 2cm a day, formulating thick bamboo-like stems which will then start to develop smooth, green, heart-shaped leaves.

In the early summer, the stems are hollow which purple speckles. The leaves are bright green and appear to alternate along each side of the stem in a zig-zag pattern. The plant will now start to grow even more rapidly, reaching a maximum height of up to 3 metres!

By the late summer, clusters of creamy white flowers appear on the plant. These provide a great source of nectar for insects so look out for an influx of insects to your garden when identifying Japanese Knotweed in the summertime.

As we move into the winter, the leaves will fall from the plant and the canes will die. The canes turn brown and have a dark orange centre. Do not be fooled by dying appearance because without effective treatment, they will be back to invade your garden the following spring!

For photographic reference, check out our identification section on our website https://www.japaneseknotweedexpert.co.uk/faq/identifying-japanese-knotweed-2/.

Just by simply knowing how to spot Japanese Knotweed can save you a lot of hassle in the future. The earlier it is identified, the earlier licenced professionals such as ourselves can start to remediate the issue.

If you think you have Japanese Knotweed growing on your property, send a picture to our email info@japaneseknotweedexpert.co.uk for a free identification service.

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Our Advice…

As a potential home-buyer, you may have been warned about Japanese Knotweed. It’s invasive and destructive nature can cause structural damage to buildings and walls and the mere presence of Japanese Knotweed on or around the boundary of a property can result in a depreciation of its value. For many who are looking to get on the property ladder, the mere mention of ‘depreciation’ might make them run a mile, but the presence of Japanese Knotweed can be an extremely useful bargaining chip for getting up to 10% of the market value knocked off!Japanese Knotweed Flowers

There are some leg-work and initial outlay on the home-buyers part, but for many, it’s worth the effort for the overall saving. As a starting point, a site survey is required to help in the formulation of a management plan. These in tandem give an accurate idea of devaluation costs, which can then be relayed to the vendor and estate agent. A typical spraying and injection treatments costs, on average, around 2-3k. Once these costs are accounted for the home-buyer stands to potentially make a saving of £5,000 off the asking price.

If you think you may have Japanese Knotweed growing on a property you are looking to purchase, give us a call on 0800 1337 444, or e-mail us at info@japaneseknotweedexpert.co.uk to explore your options! 

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Why is Japanese Knotweed such a problem?

 

Japanese Knotweed is a bamboo-like plant with hollow stems and green heart-shaped leaves. It grows rapidly and can grow up to 10m a day in the height of the growing season. Its roots and rhizomes can grow up to 7m radius and 3m depth and if it is found near any habitable space, it can undermine the structural integrity of the building.

 

As Japanese Knotweed has no natural predators in the UK, it is very hard to maintain and requires methods such as herbicidal treatment and excavation to remove the threat that the plant imposes to a property. If the plant is not maintained and as a result encroaches onto a neighboring property, the neighbouring property can sue on private nuisance grounds.

 

If you are planning to sell your property with Japanese Knotweed present, this can cause many complications. Most mortgage lenders refuse to offer mortgages for properties affected by Japanese Knotweed making it very hard to sell and in some cases the presence of Knotweed has reduced the market value of properties by many thousands of pounds. However, if you have a Treatment plan in place that is conducted by a PCA accredited company which offers a 10-year insurance guarantee, mortgage lenders will provide a mortgage with the assurance that the weed is under control.

 

All of the above can be avoided if the problem is caught early if a management plan is put in place as soon as possible and the weed is treated by a licensed professional such as ourselves.

If you have a plant growing on your property which you suspect as Japanese Knotweed but are not entirely sure send a photo to ourselves at info@japaneseknotweedexpert.co.uk for a free identification service.

 

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When we talk about Japanese Knotweed, we often reference the detrimental effects it can have on the property, especially depreciation in value.

Beyond that, Japanese Knotweed has a significant impact on our environment. This is another reason why we are so passionate about eradicating it.

Natural Habitat:

In its Japanese habitat, the growth of Knotweed is limited due to various environmental factors. For example, it grows on active volcanos and is regularly smothered by volcanic ash and landslides. Pests, fungi and diseases also attack the weed, keeping it under control and limiting its invasive potential.

UK Habitat:

Close up of Japanese Knotweed

In the UK, conditions are far more favourable for Japanese knotweed. This allows the plant to run amok and wreak havoc on our landscape. Due to it’s rapid growth, Japanese knotweed spreads like wildfire and can displace native vegetation, impact the diversity of insects in the local  area and increase the risk of flooding due to soil erosion. Around water, the weed can damage river-banks and cause blockages within infrastructures such as sluices and drains.

It is because of these reasons that it is so important that we, in the United Kingdom, addressed this issue as soon as it is discovered. Not only could it leave you out of pocket, but it could also overrun your property, smothering wildlife, leaving you at risk!

It is important that we are able to notice the signs throughout all of the life stages no matter the season. Increasing the general knowledge will help to increase detection all year round and not just in the summer where the plant can spread by 10cm everyday. If you believe that you may have Japanese Knotweed on your property please see our gallery for further images. Alternatively, email our team at info@japaneseknotweedexpert.co.uk send us a picture and we will get back to you with an identification within the day.

Contact us today to talk to an expert and arrange a site visit to your property. 

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Getting lost in the legal jargon which is thrown at you once you instruct a legal professional is a rabbit hole too many of us take a trip down, make sure you know what a P35 report is and when you might need one.

Generally, Japanese Knotweed disputes are easily resolved once an individual takes responsibility for the presence of the weed and ensures that it is eradicated in line with the specific rules and regulations put in place. However, in some circumstances where the origin of the Japanese Knotweed is harder to determine, or in situations where the landowner is denying liability, you may need to consult your solicitors on the best way to proceed down the legal route.

Japanese Knotweed is classed as a ‘Schedule 9’ plant and in relation to this, Section 14(2) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 states that “if any person plants or otherwise cause to grow in the wild any plant which is included in Part 2 of Schedule 9, he shall be guilty of an offence”. Due to this, we see time and time again, instances where individuals have taken legal action against landowners who have allowed this highly invasive weed to encroach onto their sites.

Typically, your solicitors will firstly arrange for an initial vetting report which will give them the basic details of the Japanese Knotweed they will need to know before being able to decide as to whether or not the case can be taken to court. Once they have the initial vetting report, this is usually when solicitors will arrange for the P35 Report.

Part 35 Compliant Reports are specific documents which answer the questions solicitors will need to know and use in their court case. Typically, these P35 reports are used to determine the cause of the origin of the Japanese Knotweed and therefore pin liability to the correct person. P35 Reports are usually taken around a week to compose due to the in-depth analysis required to fully investigate the situation at hand. If you are not proceeding down the legal route, you usually won’t require this service.

Our MD is the only registered expert on the UK Register of Expert Witnesses for Japanese Knotweed and so if you think you may need a P35 Expert Report, get in touch with us today on 0800 1337 444!