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Consultation paper on Japanese Knotweed Problem by RICS

Japanese KnotweedThe Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is consulting on a new Information Paper which aims to help valuers and mortgage lenders consider the implications of a Japanese Knotweed intrusion when undertaking valuations of residential property in the UK.

Many a home owner hoping to purchase or sell a property with or without a mortgage can fall down on the survey when Japanese Knotweed (JNW) is found on the property or on a neighbouring property.


JNW is not difficult to control so long as there is a programme of pesticide applications instead of a reactive weed killer application as more than one application may be required to eradicate it before the site gets a clean bill of health.  It is evident during our client site visits that Surveyors are not 100% aware of what the guidelines are when viewing JNW on a site, hence the RICS consultation paper and hopefully also better education of Surveyors on the subject of JNW and its eradication.  All weeds can destroy the fabric of a building if left untreated.

Japanese Knotweed is an invasive plant feared for its damaging effects when found on or near a property but these fears are often based on misunderstanding. The plant became more of a problem when some lenders reviewed their policies and a number of loans on Japanese Knotweed affected properties were declined. This changed the status of Knotweed from a ‘difficult to solve’ problem to one that could result in property sales falling through.

Japanese Knotweed ControlIn fact, although the plant can be difficult to control, with correct treatment, it needn’t be a life sentence for a property.  Since the mid 1970s challenges posed by building movement and asbestos have presented assessment problems that were largely resolved and assimilated into the lending process. There is no reason why the assessment of Japanese Knotweed cannot follow a similar route and RICS is consulting on this in order to develop best practice guidelines.

Philip Santo from the RICS said "When assessing market value, valuers must take account of a variety of factors and the presence and effects of Japanese Knotweed is just one of the many considerations that may affect value. While this invasive, non-native plant can be difficult to control it should be recognised that timely and persistent treatment programmes can minimise its impact."“A standard risk assessment framework is being proposed to help valuers to provide more informed advice to their clients and to enable lenders to adopt more consistent and balanced policies. As the treatment industry develops and matures it is hoped that Japanese Knotweed will soon become just one more consideration in the complex valuation process. The RICS consultation aims to canvass opinion in order to help make this happen.”

Published 16 November 2011.  RICS to produce Information Paper after consultation process
View the Consultation Paper on Japanese Knotweed problem.
Contract Pesticide Application Service - Control Japanese Knotweed. 
Weed Free have a Chartered Surveyor on their Team of Directors who is a Member of The RICS.


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