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Sacha Bolourchi

Solicitor - Seaford

29th June 2017

Invaders from Afar: Japanese Knotweed

Japanese Knotweed has been a known issue in the UK for over a century, with its spread and destructive capabilities being the cause of many headlines and worried buyers in the past. It is a plant which has no natural competition or any wildlife that will eat it. In the right (warmer) conditions, it is able to grow up to 10cm a day, to a height of 3-4m, whilst having roots as long as 2m. In only a few weeks, Japanese Knotweed can cause huge amounts of damage to the structure and foundations of homes, which could lead to a reduction in a property’s value.

Previously, most residential cases of Japanese Knotweed would only be treatable between April-October, due to the then reliance on herbicidal treatments, requiring the plant to be in leaf, and even then, this process could take many years to rid an area completely of the weed. Not exactly ideal for the hopeful buyer or seller in an often time crucial transaction.

It comes with relief to many then, that there have been several advancements in eradicating Japanese Knotweed, especially as the weed’s spread across the UK has been nigh uncontrollable for many years. Home owners can now choose a soil removal method not restricted to just the spring and summer, which, if carried out by a reputable contractor will guarantee the removal of the weed in a matter of days, rather than the years it used to take with other methods.

As of last year, insurance has been offered against the risk of Japanese Knotweed being present within the curtilage of your property. Whether you are buying or selling, if a survey reveals the property to be in an area known to be a medium-high risk area through satellite studies, you can opt to purchase insurance at the one time cost of roughly £60. Typically, this covers an area up to 0.5 acres and up to £20,000 in financial loss as a result of Japanese Knotweed being discovered within the property boundaries in a five year period. This includes the cost of legal fees, repair work and even loss of property value and is just one of the many latest developments in making the presence of Japanese Knotweed a much less worrying discovery for yourself and any lenders involved.

If you are looking to sell or buy a property which you believe may have Japanese Knotweed present and would like to know more on this issue, please contact Sacha Bolourchi, a Residential Property Solicitor at Rix & Kay by email: sachabolourchi@rixandkay.co.uk or phone: 01323 407700.

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