Can a weed prevent you from acquiring your dream home?

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Japanese Knotweed can be a thorn in a homeowner’s side.  The plant can appear as small as 3cm tall and halt your house sale, stopping the purchase of your brand new home in its tracks.  If a valuation  detects the presence of Japanese Knotweed or such a fact is disclosed during the conveyancing process, a lender may outright refuse to secure a mortgage on the property.

Where the presence of Knotweed is suspected, a survey should be carried out to establish the extent of the risk and any necessary remedial work.  Where Knotweed is present, you must set up a knotweed management plan which incorporates one of two treatment schemes:

  1. Long-term chemical treatment programme.
  2. Immediate eradication.

Chemical treatment controls the knotweed over a number of years.  Although controlled, the root of is not removed meaning it may lay dormant for years and a re-occurrence of the growth may appear.  In these circumstances, knotweed contractors provide guarantees so that in the event of re-occurrence, the homeowner suffers no further cost.

Eradication is preferable as it is less time consuming.  It is especially useful where there are known plans to disrupt land by way of development.  In any event, if you can negotiate instant removal of Japanese Knotweed, do so.

Landowners should combat Japanese Knotweed whenever it is detected, not just in the course of a land transaction.   Knotweed, in the most extreme circumstances, can overwhelm and bring down garden sheds, greenhouses and poorly founded garages.

Legislation forces the control of an invasive growth on your property; however under no circumstances should you remove the plant yourself.   Where a landowner fails to control knotweed on their property they could receive a heavy fine.

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