Buying a new property? Be careful of Japanese knotweed

Buying a new property? Be careful of Japanese knotweed
Buying a new property? Be careful of Japanese knotweed

Experts have warned; buyers of new build properties are at risk to Japanese knotweed due to a legal loophole.

Property owners wishing to sell their property are required to complete a TA6 property form, which declares whether the property or garden is, or has been, affected by the Japanese knotweed. In 2013, this form was changed and now means developers and builders are not obliged to complete it.

Japanese knotweed can grow more than 1m in height in three weeks and the elaborate root system can go down 3m and out 7m. Japanese knotweed can crack tarmac, block drains, undermine foundations and invade homes causing major damage to buildings. It’s presence can cut a property’s value by 20% and can even prevent mortgage lenders approving a loan.

The legal loophole can be extremely expensive for new home buyers. A couple bought a luxury new home from a property developer before finding Japanese knotweed. The pair have now been forced to spend around £5,000 to treat the plant but have said it was “not good enough” that the developer didn’t warn them.

Japanese knotweed, which thrives in hot weather, is responsible for £170 million worth of home repairs every year in the UK. It is also an offence to allow Japanese knotweed to spread across neighbouring land.

As experts in treating Japanese knotweed we recommend it being treated during early and late Summer with the dead stems (above ground growth) removed in the Winter. However, standard advice is to treat Japanese knotweed as soon as it is identified.

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