Japanese Knot Weed

24
Found 14th Jan 2015
Hi, a mortgage lender refused valuation before a Japanese Knotweed report was produced. Has anyone ever bought a house with Knot weed near by? If so, has it led to problems selling in the future? Has anyone got any experience on this?

Here is the report I have just got back but am really not sure if I should buy the house now or 'knot' as it has really put me off potatial problems in future with the house as it can be expensive to treat and maybe it would cause problems selling in future?

Site Description

The property is an old terrace house the rear of which joins to an access lane running the length of all the properties in the row. There are stone garden walls to the sides and an old picket style fence on the boundary to the access lane. The garden area of the property is predominantly gravelled.
Along the access lane, with 14 (deleted address) to the left, there is a boundary wall running parallel to the lane on the right, which is about 1 metre in height. The ground level rises from the top of this wall and angles upwards to more properties. It is on this elevated land that the majority of Japanese Knotweed is evident.

Japanese Knotweed Contamination

At this time of year the Japanese knotweed has died back and the only evidence of it is the dead, bamboo like canes. This can look quite different to the summer months when it is in full growth, and makes it slightly more difficult to determine the full extent of the infestation.
The Japanese knotweed growth runs intermittently on the elevated land to the right of the lane.
There are some old roots/crowns visible in the area opposite number 14, but there are no dead canes. It isn’t possible to tell whether these were cut down before or after die back, or if in fact the landowner has treated this section with pesticide in order to eradicate it. It does, however, show that someone has made an attempt to control the problem which could be viewed as positive. When the growing season starts around March/April it will be much clearer to see the level of growth to expect in this area.
This is the nearest growth to the property and is approximately 4 metres from the boundary fence at a 1 meter elevation. This is then another 10-15 metres away from the nearest property wall. At this height and distance away there is no immediate risk to the integrity of the building. The Environment Agency state in their guidance leaflet that 7 metres is considered a safe zone, so only the wooden fence would really encroach on this. In my experience the roots are typically 2 to 3 metres from the stems and the majority in the top 1 metre of soil. In this instance it appears the wall, and elevated land, are acting as a barrier.
There is no evidence of any growth coming out of the wall, or on the lane itself adjacent to the property, which suggests that any spread is away from, or along the lane. Both these take it further from number 14. Neither is there any evidence of any Japanese knotweed in the garden of the property.
Where the lane joins the main road there is quite a large area of Japanese knotweed but it is at a distance that poses no threat.
Further along the access track there is a small amount of Japanese knotweed in the lane itself, but it is also at a distance that poses no threat. It is likely that this has spread from the infestation at the top of the wall at that part of the lane, and highlights the spread risk of not dealing with it properly.

Conclusion

As stated above I don’t believe there is any immediate risk to the property itself. However, Japanese knotweed is an increasing problem and is very invasive so I would have to advise any owner of this property to take steps to get it treated to prevent any longer term issues. As the infested land does not belong to the property in question it would need to be taken up with the actual landowners, or the council. In situations like this it is also a good idea to contact Natural England. I have known them to follow up cases where landowners aren’t taking the necessary steps to treat Japanese knotweed, and take action to ensure that it gets done.
On the current spread of the Japanese knotweed I would expect there to be plenty of time to progress treatment and deal with the problem, before it poses any risk to the actual property.
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24 Comments
If it will be a constant worry for you, I recommend finding another house. You wouldn't want to be living there in fear of this coming and ruining things for you. On the other hand I just bought a house & my bank requested a tree survey for the giant trees in my garden before they would accept the valuation. The tree surgeon put them down as conifers on the report when one is a willow tree. So maybe get a second opinion for peace of mind.
In my experience it puts a lot of people off.

It will be an issue when you come to sell as if the knotweed has spread into the boundary of your property you may be asked to treat it. Another issue will be potential buyers' mortgage lender's requirements which may be a deterrent to the buyer:

cml.org.uk/cml…633
Personally I wouldn't even consider it unless I had 100% guarantee that it could and would be removed. If it isn't the house of your dreams you are taking a massive risk.
Run run run. oO
might be a good barganing tool to get the house cheaper, the report seems to state no risk at moment, but of course that could change
It doesn't sound as if it's an immediate problem but if it becomes one, the issue you'll have to deal with is that, because the knotweed isn't on your property, you don't have control of the situation. You can't just take unilateral action to eradicate it. You'll have to find out who the landowers are - the lane and the land behind - and try to persuade them to take action. If they don't/won't or if the land is unregistered you have to get the authorities involved. This all takes time, effort and worry. In the worst case scenario, are you prepared to take this on? If not, find another property.

Have you asked the vendor about it? Are they aware of anything being done to eradicate it?
ceres

It doesn't sound as if it's an immediate problem but if it becomes one, … It doesn't sound as if it's an immediate problem but if it becomes one, the issue you'll have to deal with is that, because the knotweed isn't on your property, you don't have control of the situation. You can't just take unilateral action to eradicate it. You'll have to find out who the landowers are - the lane and the land behind - and try to persuade them to take action. If they don't/won't or if the land is unregistered you have to get the authorities involved. This all takes time, effort and worry. In the worst case scenario, are you prepared to take this on? If not, find another property.Have you asked the vendor about it? Are they aware of anything being done to eradicate it?



Ahh, a sensible reply.

I'll add to this that up here in Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage are responsible for dealing with Knotweed.

This is a recent matter that surveyors bring up in reports and they scare people away from properties. Knotweed, whilst difficult to deal with can be suitably managed and maintained by professionals.
The problem is if I were to come to sell I would have to have the report done and if unable to persuade people to buy and it not being a problem I wouldn't even be able to treat the problem. It would be much easier if it was just on the property I want that way I could treat it / be in control of it.
Have you asked the vendors if they are aware and/or have taken any action?
Truth is, people make far big a fuss about it than it really deserves. Our next door neighbour doesnt bother with their garden. They have a load of it growing every summer. We bought our house 5 years ago (in the winter (_;) ) so it wasn't picked up.

It creeps into our garden. I just keep pulling it up every now and again. You can see it gets weaker and thinner. I've also used b & q weed killer which seems to work.

Just see it as another weed that needs keeping in check (like dandelions)

its actually quite easy to get rid off..dont believe the hype...mix a bit of wallpaper paste into your strong weedkiller mix and simply brush it on to the leaves...don't let conmen charge you a fortune for doing it.
Doesn't seem like a major risk atm, but has to be controlled.
I would have a friendly word with the neighbours who have it just to see what their action plan is.

A friend's neighbour had it but refused to treat it. They had to get a court order for nuisance, but this is an extreme example.
The affected neighbours got a company in to hit it with weedkillers and dispose of waste.

Just be aware the roots can travel and be prepared to hit it hard.
Mortgage company views seem to vary too, so they might put conditions on any offer.

Edited by: "cootuk2" 14th Jan 2015
greavesy1984

The problem is if I were to come to sell I would have to have the report … The problem is if I were to come to sell I would have to have the report done and if unable to persuade people to buy and it not being a problem I wouldn't even be able to treat the problem. It would be much easier if it was just on the property I want that way I could treat it / be in control of it.


Have see a lot of programs on homes under the hammer with this in gardens and can be expensive to remove because it spreads that fast a lot of building societies will not lend money on them
Planktono will wallpaper paste work on ivy we get a lot in garden from school field at back of us
Ivy has a waxy leaf so uptake of spray weedkiller isn't great.
I guess the wallpaper paste would help in keeping it there.
White vinegar is also used as this strips the waxy coating and dehydrates the plant.
Edited by: "cootuk2" 15th Jan 2015
People who fail to control the spread of nuisance plant Japanese Knotweed could be hit with an ASBO or be fined thousands.

New Government rules mean home-owners could have to pay up to £2,500 for failing to control the weed and other non-native plants.

Companies who fall foul of the law could also be fined up to £20,000.

The Home Office has published a briefing document on the reform of anti-social behaviour powers, which normally control drunkenness, drug taking and objectionable conduct.

The legislation will now target plants which can cause illness, threaten biodiversity or damage property.

my local council spray knot weed areas around where I live to keep it at bay, never seen it encroach my land thankfully, what a night mate
I'm still unsure what to do but I am leaning towards pulling out of buying it. Such a nice property, right place and right price too. Taken me 18 months to find such a property that ticks all the boxes. Such a shame
Speak to vendor, speak to local council, speak to next door who has the weed, speak to a specialist who deals with it. If next door don't care, council hasn't got a clue than this should send you a few warning signs.
From what I understand, it can be hard to get rid of, it grows quickly and loads and can grow through foundations, walls, etc. So could potentially be a lot of hassle.
Also, has the house been on the market for long and why if it is so nice?
I've sent the email stating I no longer with to pursue the purchase of the property. Gutted!
they make back and say they will give you a discount,what would the morgage people say,if you told them that the people in the house will kill it of for you?? and reduce the price
Its very hard for you to sell a property in the future and any seller to get a mortgage if knot weed is present. But looking online there has never been a case of a house falling down due to knotweed but its a big no no with many lenders. But properties do sell in auction with knotweed without a problem. So unless u are getting it cheap stay clear.
A decent reduction on the price of the house would probably be worth it. However I cant see that happening as the seller played real hard ball over the negotiation process where we led to an eventual agreement.
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