Japanese knotweed is one of those things that you don’t often hear about until it’s causing you problems. The plant was introduced to the UK in Victorian times, when people viewed it as a hardy plant which would make an attractive addition to borders, but little did they know how voraciously it would spread and grow, or the level of damage it can do to properties.
The problem with Japanese knotweed it that it grows in thick, bamboo-like shards and can be really hard to remove. In fact, it’s blighted UK properties to such an extent that it’s actually a criminal offence to cause knotweed to grow in the wild!
An amendment to the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 includes invasive non-native plants including Japanese knotweed. Here are some key points for how this affects the homeowner:
- It is not illegal to have Japanese knotweed in your garden, but on your property you should aim to control this invasive non-native plant to prevent it becoming a problem in your neighbourhood. If it has a “detrimental effect of a persistent or continuing nature on the quality of life of those in the locality”, the legislation could be used to enforce its control and property owners may be prosecuted.
- Where problems with Japanese knotweed occur in neighbouring gardens, we suggest that you speak or correspond directly with your neighbours (who may already be taking action to control this difficult weed). These informal steps should be taken before contacting your council to talk about action under the legislation.
- Homeowners can consider control themselves for a small, isolated clump (see the Control section below). However, a specialist professional company will be skilled at control, ensure eradication and can dispose of the plant waste a licenced landfill sites.
Selling a house with knotweed on the property, or even the borders of the property can be next to impossible. One case in the news recently saw a South Wales man forced to slash the selling price of his bunglaow from £130,000 to just £70,000 because of the extend of the knotweed at the bottom of his garden, and the cost associated with removing it. It was spotted by a surveyor whilst he was preparing to sell the house and has drastically reduced the value of the sale.
An article in the Telegraph about the problem states “It was once the case that mortgage lenders would turn down loan applications where the properties involved had knotweed present. This made it near impossible for sellers to get rid of properties.
This is no longer the case, but most lenders will want to see a treatment plan in place or a valid insurance policy covering the plant’s removal.
If left untreated it can cause severe damage to a property. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) warns drains and pipework, patios, paths and drives, boundary and retaining walls, outbuilding, conservatories and garden structures are especially at risk.”
Do you have a problem with Japanese knotweed control? Leave me a comment below.