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Can You Sell a House With Japanese Knotweed?

Property Saviour » Problematic Properties » Can You Sell a House With Japanese Knotweed?

In this guide, we cover how to sell a house with Japanese knotweed, how to spot it, how to eradicate it, and why lenders make it difficult for you to sell any property affected by Japanese knotweed.   

Property Saviour are genuine cash house buyers with funds available to be able to buy any type of property, including unmortgageable ones.

The Environment Agency described Japanese Knotweed as “indisputably the UK’s most aggressive, destructive and invasive plant”.  Japanese knotweed can destroy properties made of concrete, bricks, or stone.  Previous estimates suggest that up to 5% of all UK properties are affected by Japanese knotweed.  T

he definition of affected properties means that the property has Japanese knotweed in its ground or within its proximity such as neighbouring properties having Japanese knotweed.

Table of Contents

What does Japanese knotweed look like?

Japanese knotweed infestation
Japenese knotweed can destroy solid concrete and cause major structural damage to any property.

Spring provides a perfect time to enjoy plants that are budding into life in your garden – and to inspect for any nasty Japanese knotweed at the same time. Japanese knotweed leaves are heart-shaped with sprouts that have a reddish lime-green colour. 

Fallopia Japonica – or Japanese knotweed, lies dormant in your garden during winter.  In fact, some chefs consider Japanese knotweed to be edible, but we would suggest you do not start eating it.

In summer, it can grow a foot a week and start to kill all other plant life in the garden. This plant has bamboo-like growth and can shoot up to 7 feet high. The plant also flourishes with clusters of cream flowers during the summer.  Buyers and lenders fear Japanese knotweed because it can cause destruction to any residential property. 

It can effortlessly grow through concrete, destroy walls, property’s foundations, and drains.   It spreads fast, particularly in spring and summer months and can be extremely difficult to kill.

The more mature the plant, the higher its roots will have spread across the property.  A mature Japanese knotweed plant can be identified by its distinctive purple speckle and can stand as high as 3 meters within a matter of a few weeks.  They thrive in spring and summer, particularly if the summer weather has a heat wave. 

Towards the end of summer, expect to see a cluster of white flowers appear, which bees and butterflies love for their nectar.  In the autumn months, the leaves fall off, and even the cane of the plant dies down and goes brown.  The root, also called rhizome is naturally hidden in the soil and can be seen as orange or yellow.

Origins of Japanese knotweed

Japanese knotweed arrived from Japan in 1825 as an ornament plant for its beauty, and it was used around railway tracks in the UK to protect the boundaries and act as a barrier, thanks to its fast-growing attributes.  It is also known as Asian knotweed.

It is legal to grow Japanese knotweed if you keep it under tight control and prevent it from spreading to neighbouring gardens and into the wild.

The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 states that ‘it is an offence to allow Knotweed to grow in the wild.’

Your local council can force you to spend tens of thousands of pounds to dig and destroy Japanese Knotweed as it has a ‘detrimental effect of a persistent or continuing nature on the quality of life of those in the locality’.  The UK Government website has an excellent and practical guide on how to deal with Japanese knotweed.

How to sell a house with Japanese knotweed?

Japanese knotweed can wreak havoc with your chances of selling your house. Many lenders will refuse to give mortgages due to the Japanese knotweed’s destructive ways.

This is because its extensive roots can penetrate deep into the ground reaching and damaging the house foundations, affecting the drainage systems and structural integrity of the walls.

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Can I get a mortgage on a property with Japanese knotweed?

A bank can ruin your hopes of selling a house if it comes across the words ‘Japanese knotweed’ within a surveyor’s report, even if it can be seen from your garden – and it is in a field near your house, or it is residing at next door neighbour’s property.

At the very least, the bank will demand a professional eradication plan that may cost upwards of £3,000, where the experts are forced to provide a lengthy guarantee against its return before a mortgage offer is made.

To sell a house with Japanese knotweed can be difficult.  It can take up to 3 years of constant treatment before Japanese knotweed is totally eradicated from your property. A house with a previous history of having Japanese knotweed is unmortgageable and difficult to sell. Just digging up Japanese knotweed does not guarantee it will not return, as it can grow back from its roots within weeks of being cut.

Is it illegal to sell a house with Japanese knotweed?

You will experience difficulties when it comes to selling your property, even if it has a single plant within proximity, which includes neighbouring properties.  Many lenders do not wish to take on a property that is not considered to be a suitable security. 

Any solicitor will not advise their client to buy a property that may have Japanese knotweed.  The only solution is to have it eradicated wait at least a year, and have insurance insurance-backed guarantee to cover you when it comes to selling the property. 

This is just not possible for most sellers who are looking to sell their properties now rather than spending tens of thousands of pounds and then wait. 

This is where we come in as a specialist buyer. We can buy your property for cash.  Call us on 0113 320 6700.

BARCLAYS bank will demand that a Japanese Knotweed expert be a member of the Property Care Association – and offers you a ten-year insurance-backed guarantee against the return of Japanese Knotweed if the plant has been discovered within seven metres of the home.

Barclays will refuse to offer a mortgage until the work has been done, which could cost tens of thousands of pounds.

NATIONWIDE BUILDING SOCIETY is reluctant to lend against a property with Japanese Knotweed in the garden.

Nationwide Building Society says: ‘If it is prominent less than seven metres from the house, we request a specialist report about eradication before deciding whether we can lend. Even if further away, we require written confirmation from the borrower they are happy to proceed with a mortgage application despite the presence of the plant.’

Unsurprisingly, SANTANDER is also not keen to lend against Japanese knotweed houses. SANTANDER insist that you call in the expert to get rid of it completely and have tens of thousands set aside in case Japanese knotweed returns.

They say: ‘It can take several seasons of spraying with specialist chemicals to eradicate.

You can also learn about what makes your property unmortgageable.  Even if you have Japanese Knotweed on your property, we can still buy it as we are experienced in dealing with Japanese Knotweed and the damage that it can do.  Just make an enquiry online today to get a free no obligation cash offer.

Do you have to declare Japanese knotweed when selling a house?

The presence of Japanese knotweed on a property can put off any buyer. As a seller, you have to be open and honest with your potential buyer and your estate agent because you could be sued by the buyer if Japanese knotweed was discovered and you hid this fact from them.

If you have already identified Japanese knotweed on your property, even if it is a sprig or two, do not be fooled by thinking that it is a minor problem, as its roots can grow quickly into foundations or the property’s drainage system and can cause havoc.

Most buyers are unprepared to take on the liability and uncertainties that Japanese Knotweed will present. Has the Japanese knotweed spread from your land or property onto a neighbouring house? Because this could result in a risk of a legal claim by a no-win-no-fee lawyer against you under “private nuisance” from your neighbour.

Japanese Knotweed can cause damage to the building, and it may not be immediately obvious to spot the damage to drains and foundations of property.

Of course, the seller has a moral and legal obligation to disclose the presence of Japanese knotweed during pre-contract enquiries in a form called TA6 issued by the Law Society. By this time, you will have agreed a sale and have invested plenty of time and emotional energy and to have shocking news such as your buyer pulling out of the sale of the property will be the last thing you want to hear.

Japanese Knotweed
Japanese Knotweed can cause damage to the building, and it may not be immediately obvious to spot the damage to drains and foundations of property.

Do estate agents have to declare Japanese knotweed?

Estate agents must comply with an obligation under Consumer Protection Regulations to advise any buyer of material facts that could affect their decision to buy.  These material facts include Japanese knotweed as one. 

If you fail to disclose, then there is a strong chance that mortgage lenders’ surveyor will recommend to the lender “NO TO LEND” against your property.

What does Japanese knotweed do to a house?

Japanese knotweed can cause structural damage to any property through its underground roots called  rhizome which will weaken foundations.  It can grow through walls, drains and flood defences.

Is it a criminal offence to sell a property with Japanese knotweed?

It is a criminal offence to allow Japanese knotweed to spread or if you sell a property with an infestation. You could be sued for hiding it or not declaring it as ignorance is not a defence.

Can you sell a property with Japanese knotweed
It is a criminal offence to allow Japanese knotweed to spread or if you sell a property with an infestation.

Can you sell a property with Japanese knotweed?

You can sell a property with Japanese knotweed provided you have declared it to your buyer and IF their mortgage lender will lend against it.

Can Japanese knotweed damage foundations?

Japanese Knotweed causes structural damage to foundations and walls because of its strong roots that can penetrate paving, tarmac and flood defences.

Does a mortgage valuation check for Japanese knotweed?

A mortgage surveyor does check for the presence of Japanese knotweed at the property and adjoining properties.  There is no guarantee that a mortgage valuation will identify Japanese knotweed.

Who removes Japanese knotweed
 It is responsibility of land owner to remove Japanese knotweed and prevent its spread into neighbouring properties and the wild.

Who is responsible for removal of Japanese knotweed?

Land owner.  It is responsibility of land owner to remove Japanese knotweed and prevent its spread into neighbouring properties and the wild.

What happens if your neighbour has Japanese knotweed?

If your neighbour’s house has Japanese knotweed, then you should inform them as soon as possible.

If they do not arrange for its treatment and allow for knotweed to spread on to your garden then you can sue them.

How much does Japanese knotweed devalue property?

Japanese knotweed’s damaging effects can also devalue properties by up to 30%.

Can Japanese knotweed penetrate concrete
Japanese knotweed can survive temperatures of -35c and 23 feet in width and up to 9 feet deep. 

Can Japanese knotweed penetrate concrete?

Yes as one of the world’s worst species its fast growing roots can penetrate concrete, paving and even strong walls.

How to kill Japanese knotweed?

Japanese knotweed can survive temperatures of -35c and 23 feet in width and up to 9 feet deep.  The proven herbicide for Japanese knotweed is Glyphosate.

How to get rid of Japanese knotweed?

Knotweed removal includes having Japanese knotweed roots dug out.

This makes removal by any digging plant extremely difficult.  As the plant re-sprouts from its roots, the most effective method of killing is by Glyphosate herbicide chemicals near the flowering stage in either late summer or early autumn.

How to sell a house with Japanese knotweed?

Selling a house with Japanese knotweed is not a straightforward process because many buyers would run a mile away.

Only a cash house buyer is in a position to enable you to sell a house with Japanese knotweed. This is because it will require years of constant treatment before the property is mortgage-able again and can be sold normally on the open market.

If you need to sell a house with Japanese knotweed please make an enquiry with us today, and we are sure to help. We will not be able to pay you the full market value depending on severity of damage caused by knotweed.

You can sell your Japanese knotweed house to us as we don’t need a mortgage to buy your property.

To see how we can help today by calling 0113 320 6700.

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