Property sellers warned not to ‘lie’ about Japanese knotweed

Japanese knotweed: Phil Spencer discusses plant

Japanese knotweed is a nightmare weed that is known to spread rapidly in gardens. The plant is known for its bamboo-like stems and deep underground rhizomes. The destructive weed can grow to more than seven feet in height (2.1m) and damage buildings and foundations.

The plant has heart-shaped leaves and purply shoots. It also produces white flowers on tassels in the late summer and early autumn.

Japanese knotweed is difficult to remove and requires either complete excavation or chemical treatment. 

A property seller with Japanese knotweed on their land is required to state whether it is present on their property in a TA6 form; a form which gives buyers important information about the property.

Due to Japanese knotweed being so highly invasive and expensive to remove, the plant can dramatically lower the value of a property.

Now, the property experts at GetAgent have paired with expert gardener Craig Wilson from Gardeners Dream to reveal how much damage Japanese knotweed can do to a property’s value.

Craig said: “Japanese knotweed can reduce a property’s value, but it depends on the size of the property, the degree and the level stage of infestation as to how much money you could lose.

“How close the knotweed is to the house is one of, if not the biggest factor in property valuations.

“However, from what I have seen, the plant can reduce a property’s value between five percent in minor cases right up to 15 or even 20 percent in the case of severe infestations – where limiting the growth is the more realistic option rather than reducing or removing the knotweed.

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“This is because Japanese Knotweed can cause major damage to property since its roots can crack the concrete and damage the foundations of a house.

“It also has the ability to block drainage pipes and any other structures underground – including water pipes, cables and even structural damage to cellars.”

Craig said it can cost anywhere from £1,000 to £20,000 to remove Japanese knotweed from a property depending on the severity of the problem.

The plant expert said the average spend for banishing the problematic plant is between £3,000 and £5,000.

Colby Short, co-founder and CEO of GetAgent said a property’s value can be impacted by how much time and energy has been invested into the home.

For many, a thriving, neat and well-kept garden is likely to be more favourable than a messy garden. However, plants like Japanese knotweed in a garden can damage the value of a property considerably. 

Colby said: “Certain plants like Japanese Knotweed can actually damage the resale value of your home.

“If you find the plant growing in your garden and are looking to sell up, the best thing to do is to encourage your estate agents to be open with potential buyers about the presence of the plant and get a treatment plan in place as soon as possible.”

The property expert said sellers should not “lie” on their TA6 form as this could lead to problems further down the line.

He continued: “Most importantly, do not lie on your TA6 form. This is the property sellers’ information form you will fill in for your conveyancer.

“If Japanese knotweed is found on your property and you’ve answered ‘no’, you could be taken to court by the buyer for misrepresentation.

“A professional will be able to identify and age any plants on the property, and if they were present before the sale you will be liable to pay the costs of the buyer’s survey and legal costs, along with any loss in value the property suffers by the presence of the plant.”

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