Catherine Caines says that Japanese Knotweed can cause damage to properties and is increasingly being used as a reason by lenders to refuse mortgage applications


A bamboo-like plant that is speckled with pink-red, Japanese knotweed is often mistaken for a pretty flower but it is a horribly invasive plant that spreads quickly and can cause big problems for home-owners.


In fact, a recent report has found that three-quarters of home buyers would be scared off by Japanese Knotweed


Often found near riverbanks, railways and water, the thick roots are called rhizomes and it is these that can damage the structure of walls and buildings. They often push up through paths and driveways where the paving or tarmac has been poorly laid. Water and drainage pipes are also at risk as is underground cabling.


In fact, the problem is so serious that you could be breaking the law if you allow the plant to spread from your property in to neighbouring land. The responsibility is yours to have Japanese Knotweed removed but it is worth remembering that it is a criminal offence to remove the plant without taking it to a licensed landfill site that has the correct facilities to deal with it.


At the very least, the presence of Japanese Knotweed is likely to cause you a headache when trying to sell your property. Mortgage surveyors are now accounting for Japanese Knotweed just like structural defects such as damp. This has an impact on valuation figures and therefore increases the risk of the property being down-valued or a mortgage being declined.


So, what should you do if you suspect that your property might be affected? Firstly, learn to recognise Japanese Knotweed and do your very best to keep it out! You can learn to spot the plant here.


If selling, you need to take the advice of a qualified specialist to implement a Japanese knotweed management plan. Look for a company that is a member of the Invasive Weed Control Group or the Property Care Association. Mortgage lenders will usually accept these plans which involve on-going treatment and monitoring until such time as the property is declared free of knotweed. This can take several years and the house can be unsellable via a mortgage if there is no official management plan in place.


However, prevention really is better than cure so take action as soon as you see a clump of knotweed starting to take hold. The longer you leave it, the quicker it will spread.


Don’t just cut the plant down or try and dispose of it yourself. Call in the experts before it is too late!



By PJC Homes on June 12th, 2017