The Perils of Selling a Home with Japanese Knotweed

In this week’s blog, I would like to bring to your attention issues surrounding a species of plant known as Japanese knotweed.

It is highly invasive and destructive to properties due to its extensive above-ground canopy and underground roots. It spreads rapidly, grows in clumps and produces dense bamboo-like canes which can grow up to 7 ft tall. It has the ability to destroy walls, driveways, patios, and even underground drains and is extremely difficult to kill.  Therefore, its presence can have a devastating effect on residential property sales, reducing a property’s value and making it difficult to sell.

Sellers have a responsibility to check for Japanese knotweed, disclose the presence of the plant during pre-contract enquiries, and form a plan to remove it. Failure to report it or deliberately conceal Japanese Knotweed could lead to sellers being sued for misrepresentation and liable for compensation.

Similarly, estate agents have an obligation under consumer protection regulations to advise prospective buyers of any material facts that could affect their decision to buy, such as the presence of knotweed.

Although extreme cases are rare, you should be aware that the presence of Japanese knotweed on your land (or indeed land that adjoins it) can cause property sales to fall through. Many surveyors are now trained specifically to spot knotweed and bring it to the attention of interested parties, such as lenders, which can often result in a recommendation not to lend. Mortgage lenders typically abide by a rule of 7 metres – if the weed is within this distance of the property, they are unlikely to lend.

Getting rid of Japanese knotweed is not as simple as using your everyday weedkiller. Instead, it is recommended that property owners appoint professional contractors with access to a more powerful weedkiller.  Digging out Japanese knotweed also requires professional help, as disposing of it is classed as controlled waste under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. This means the plant needs to be disposed of at licensed landfill sites.

Recent research from Environet found that approximately 5% of homes are currently affected, either directly or indirectly (neighbouring an affected property).  Bolton, Bristol and St Helens in Merseyside were identified as the top three worst affected locations in the UK. Others in the top ten include Cardiff, Blackburn, Llanelli, Swansea, Rotherham, Shepherd’s Bush and Nottingham.

If you think your property could be at risk of being affected by Japanese knotweed, we highly recommend you get it treated as a matter of urgency. If you know your property, or a neighbouring property, has it and this is affecting your ability to sell your property, feel free to contact WeBuyProperty. We can discuss the extend of the problem and offer you a no obligation valuation to buy your property for cash.


Phone number: 0207 449 9797