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Claim that houses could lose up to 10 per cent value due to Japanese Knotweed

Tuesday 23 April 2019

Liverpool-based solicitor says that the recent Easter weekend heat-wave risks speeding the spread of Japanese Knotweed.

Cobleys Solicitors handles cases involving Japanese Knotweed and have said that the problem could devalue the prices of affected houses by up to 10 per cent.

Growing up to an inch a day, Knotweed can mature rapidly across a large surface area, with the slightest trace causing continuing problems.

Japanese Knotweed (or Fallopia Japonica) is a large, invasive plant species which finds its way into the fabric of a building, e.g. joints in concrete, cavity walls, weaknesses in broken mortar between paving slabs or bricks, and in severe circumstances, can cause major structural damage to properties.

A spokesman from Cobleys Solicitors, Mark Montaldo says: “Usually, we’d only just start to see new knotweed plants emerging late in April or early May, but this year the plants have already grown by a couple of metres. Growth will accelerate as much warmer than average temperatures move in. 

“This is at one of the busiest times for new houses going onto the market. People are noticing the weeds and are worried about the risk of structural damage and how knotweed can affect their house price.”

What you should be telling your customers

The presence of knotweed should be picked up during a site survey, however, it is still important for agents to have a reasonable level of knowledge of the known issues and be aware of complications the weed can cause.

Homeowners are legally responsible for dealing with and preventing the spread of Japanese knotweed if it is discovered on their land. Failure to do so could incur a civil claims dispute resulting in receiving an ASBO if it spreads to a neighbouring garden.

Whilst knotweed can now be completely removed within a matter of days, at any time during the year, financially, eradication can become costly if it is left untreated, so it is essential to have the plant dealt with by a professional as soon as possible to avoid further growth and prevent the sale of the property from falling through.

Propertymark resources

Propertymark’s useful guide on Knotweed sets out eight top tips on what to look out for and how to deal with the plant.