There are many horror stories in the press and on the web, which sometimes tend to overstate the reality. However, you should treat this highly invasive plant with the respect it deserves – it frequently wins the battle against DIY amateur attempts to treat and remove it. That said, if this is the house of your dreams, don’t let the Knotweed make it a nightmare. If treated correctly by qualified professionals, Japanese Knotweed can be eradicated, leaving you to enjoy your house for years to come.
Firstly, you need to identify the scale of the problem. Look to have the Knotweed identified by a professional firm as there are many plants that are often mistaken for Japanese Knotweed. You can send us any pictures of the suspect plant, and we will identify it free of charge.
Understand the liabilities that you’ll be taking on
Make sure you understand the liabilities that Japanese Knotweed presents, because it will be your responsibility as the new owner. Encroachment and trespass can be a big issue with Japanese Knotweed, as Knotweed does not respect boundaries when it grows. Has the Knotweed encroached onto your land from another property, or did the Knotweed originate on your land and spread outwards? If there is a case for encroachment, then the first discussion you have with your new neighbors’ may not be as friendly as you had hoped.
If the Japanese Knotweed is growing close to the property, it may have caused damage to the building. This may not be immediately obvious, but Japanese Knotweed can cause damage especially to underground elements such as drains and water pipes and even foundations. The extensive underground rhizome system can spread much further than what you see above ground.
A specialist site survey is recommended to ensure the full extent of Knotweed is examined. This survey will also try to determine where the Knotweed originated from, an important fact if you are facing an encroachment claim you need to defend, or looking to open a claim against a third party to recover your property devaluation and cover the costs of a treatment plan.
Importance of Insurance Backed Guarantees
Perhaps most importantly you could have difficulties securing a mortgage on the property, and if you are already in a property, you may have difficulty finding a remortgage lender, purely as a result of the Japanese Knotweed. Some lenders reject outright any property affected by Japanese Knotweed. Others may take a more pragmatic view and lend where the Knotweed is being treated and/or removed by a reputable and professional firm and where appropriate, a Japanese Knotweed Insurance Backed Guarantees are provided. Speak to your mortgage provider to see what type of guarantee they require. Some ask for a 5-year guarantee and others ask for a 10 year. Make sure you understand what your mortgage provider requires before speaking with a Knotweed treatment or removal company, as this will ensure you gain the correct level of coverage required.
Removal is by far much more expensive than an effective treatment plan, and some treatment firms do offer finance so it hits your pocket and lifestyle somewhat easier.
Insist on the job being done by a firm you trust will do the job properly
Don’t fall into the trap of letting the seller “sort out” the Knotweed problem. On too many occasions we see a cheap attempt at treatment or removal with inadequate guarantees. Insist it is carried out by a firm that you trust will do the job properly and will be accepted by your mortgage provider – otherwise walk away.