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Purchasing a property subject to Japanese Knotweed

You may have heard colleagues, family or friends mention Japanese Knotweed with such mentioning’s beingfollowed by groans and sighs but not really understood what they were talking about and why. Here we try and shed some light on the matter.

What is Japanese Knotweed?

Japanese Knotweed is a plant originally introduced to the UK as an ornamental plant in the 19th Century. However, due to its fast spreading root system it is extremely difficult to remove and can take over huge areas of garden space in a short period of time (one report even suggested that it could grow up to 10cm a day !). Also, it is able to regenerate using only a tiny piece of root or stem and can grow within gaps and cracks in buildings, roadways and boundary walls.

Why an interest now?

In light of the above, Japanese Knotweed although previously thought of as being very pretty, can cause considerable damage to your property and neighbouring land. The government has estimated that the costs of eradicating it from all of the UK would be in the region of £2.6 billion!

As well as causing physical damage to your property land, Japanese Knotweed causes damage to the nature environment by outcompeting native species and destroying natural habitats for animals, birds and insects.

Removal of this plant is expense and time consuming

Due to its destructive nature there are now criminal and civil liabilities of homeowners of land which contains Japanese Knotweed, if they do not handle the plant within the law. Basically, a person is guilty of committing an offence if they plant or otherwise cause to grow (i.e. knowingly let a plant grow and spread out of the confines of the garden)certain plants, which includes Japanese Knotweed. Penalties include imprisonment and/or unlimited fines.

If you are aware of Japanese Knotweed growing within the boundaries of your property, you will need to seek specialists advice to start a removal/treatment scheme as soon as possible, or if you believe that there is Japanese Knotweed growing within a property you are seeking to buy, you should make checks to ensure that such a scheme is in place. Removal is unfortunately not instant but the sooner a scheme is in place the sooner the plant will be removed.

If you have any queries regarding Japanese Knotweed in a property you are buying or selling, please do not hesitate to contact Ramsdens Solicitors who will be happy to help.