Selling a House with Japanese Knotweed

Understand your responsibilities

When selling a property with known Japanese knotweed growing on the premise, there’s a few things to consider and be aware of. As a seller, a lot of liability lands on you if knotweed is ever found on-site. It is worth being especially cautious about invasive weeds like Japanese knotweed as you could be fined with a costly penalty.

From surveys to TA6 forms to removal and management plans, key steps can be put in place to help the sale of a house, but it is often a longer process.

Identifying Japanese Knotweed

A simple Japanese knotweed survey will establish if this invasive weed is present on your property. It’s worth noting that a property is still considered affected by knotweed if it’s found either inside the boundaries, close to the boundaries, or on adjacent properties. If your neighbouring land has a knotweed problem, you’ll need to establish a joint knotweed management plan together.

An estate agent with a keen eye may well be able to identify Japanese knotweed on a tour of a property, such as an open house. Since there are a few lookalike plants (albeit these may be less harmful), it is best to get expert identification. With specialist support, you can fast track confirmation of invasive weeds on your property, and this will help you understand the extent of the problem.

If you do identify a problem and are wondering how to remove and dispose of Japanese knotweed, then get expert help.

How Will Japanese Knotweed Affect the Value of My Property?

Japanese knotweed has been known to devalue a property by up to 15% in some cases when buying through an estate agent, and in other cases, properties go to auction. This all depends on the amount of knotweed present on-site, the proximity of the weed to a property, and whether it has affected a home.

At auction, properties might start at 25% below market value when knotweed is known to affect a property, as the cost to the buyer to remediate this can be high.

Is it Illegal to Sell a House with Japanese Knotweed?

No, if you declare that it is there.

You may also need to take measures such as having a survey completed by a professionally accredited company. It is illegal to allow knotweed to spread into a neighbouring property

Declaring knotweed on your property will be formally identified through the TA6 form, which is done as part of the property paperwork. Most homeowners will likely be unaware of any invasive weeds, which means they should answer ‘Not Known’. This is more likely to happen since changes in 2020, which placed higher emphasis on the seller to ensure there is no knotweed on the site.

The Fines and Penalties in Place

You can be fined up to £5000 or be sent to prison for up to two years for allowing contaminated soil or plant material to enter the wild.

Civil litigation cases are also a large part of costs for house sellers. If the buyer feels that no due diligence was done or there was a lack of care, then they can sue the seller for relevant damage costs and compensation.

Advice for Selling Your House with Japanese Knotweed

We’ve spoken to some of our top specialists to get their advice on selling your house with knotweed.

1)   Get a professional survey done, regardless of the time of year

There may be a misconception that Japanese knotweed cannot be found in the winter months, but with our specialist dog surveys, we can now more accurately track down knotweed, all year round.

2)   Don’t ignore it. Deal with it.

If a problem is ignored, Japanese knotweed will quickly spread. Therefore, dealing with it as a matter of urgent priority will not only help your house sell, but show your due diligence and respect for others. If it spreads, it can cause damage to neighbouring land, which will make you liable for fines and even prison time.

If known to affect a property, managing knotweed is the best way to prevent it from spreading and growing in the future.

This could range from:

3)   Speak to Neighbours and Others Nearby

If knotweed is found with a seven-metre radius of your property, you will need to disclose this. Speaking to neighbours before you sell your house, especially if you’re in terraced houses or with adjoining gardens, can help to answer your questions.

While you could pay for a knotweed survey for just your property, if your neighbours are concerned, or had previously been alerted to knotweed, a collective knotweed survey will be able to identify any presence of this weed.

4)   Don’t Do It Yourself

If you’re looking to sell the house soon, then a DIY solution will not be the most effective and may even result in the sale falling through. Employing the services of a PCA approved knotweed removal company that offers a guarantee is the best option here. Japanese Knotweed Specialists offer five, 10 or 35-year guarantees, and we can even offer an insurance backed guarantee to provide you with complete peace of mind. This insurance policy can even be passed onto future homeowners for a small fee, something that may help their mortgage, and your sale.

Get Help From Japanese Knotweed Specialists When Selling Your House

If you need a knotweed specialist to assist you with a guarantee or survey before a house sale, get in contact with us to see how we can help!