Contact Clippings

  • Email Grass Clippings - Email the Grass Clippings Team

    Telephone: 0330 321 3134

    Fax: 0330 321 3135

    GMT Office Hours Only

Our Details

Our Partners

« Dakota Gardener: Earthworms and gardens | Main | Keep off the grass! »

What are the legal implications of selling a home with Japanese knotweed?

Japanese Knotweed Infestation in GardenJapanese knotweed is a fast-growing, highly invasive plant with deep roots, known as rhizomes, which can be a real nuisance for homeowners. 

Although knotweed dies back during the winter months, its thick rhizomes can lie dormant several metres underground, making it notoriously difficult to detect - and remove. 

If you find the plant present at or even near your property, it could reduce the value of your home and make it difficult to sell.

I’m selling a property - what do I need to do? 

If you are selling your home and the presence of Japanese knotweed has been confirmed, it is your legal obligation to disclose this to the buyer.

Failing to disclose knotweed could cause the new owner to sue you on the basis of misrepresentation and seek to recover their losses, including any loss of value in their property (typically up to 10%), as well as their legal costs. 

Once you have chosen a conveyancing solicitor to act on your sale, your solicitor will send you a pack of forms to complete. Included in this pack will be the ‘TA6 Property Information Form’.

The TA6 gives the buyer detailed information about the property being sold, including any information on knotweed.

Filling in the TA6 Property Information Form

The TA6 form specifically asks sellers if “the property affected by Japanese knotweed?”

 The term “affected” doesn’t just apply to your own garden or outdoor space. Guidance updated by the Law Society in 2020 advises that sellers must disclose whether Japanese knotweed is “present in the ground or within 3 metres of the property boundary”

The TA6 gives you three options to choose from: ‘No’, ‘Not Known’ or ‘Yes’.

‘No’

The Law Society advises you should only answer ‘no’ if you are “certain that no rhizome (root) is present in the ground of the property, or within 3 metres of the property boundary, even if there are no visible signs above ground.

Even if you cannot see any evidence of Japanese knotweed above ground, it’s unlikely that you would be able to know for certain that there are no rhizomes present without digging up your entire garden and that of your neighbours! 

As it is so difficult to be absolutely sure that Japanese knotweed is not present, your conveyancing solicitor will, in light of the updated guidance, advise you against answering ‘no’.

‘Not known’

Although it may feel counterintuitive, it is now standard practice for sellers to answer ‘not known’, unless Japanese knotweed has been positively identified at or near the property. 

At this point, the buyer can carry out their own due diligence. If there are visible signs of Japanese knotweed present, their home surveyor should identify it - and buyers may even commission a specific knotweed survey to detect it.

Chris Salmon, Director of the Quittance Conveyancing Panel, said “Sellers may be reluctant to answer ‘Not known’. They may have lived at the property for years and feel confident that there is no evidence of knotweed. Answering ‘Not known’ feels evasive - leading the buyer to infer the worst.”

“However, since the Law Society updated its TA6 guidance notes in February 2020, it is now standard practice for sellers to answer ‘Not known’. Answering ‘No’ could now seem more dubious to a buyer’s solicitor.”

‘Yes’

If Japanese knotweed has been positively identified, then you must answer ‘yes’.

What to do if your property is affected by Japanese knotweed

Even if you suspect your property may be affected by Japanese knotweed, you should still be able to proceed with the sale of your home, provided you have an appropriate treatment plan in place. 

The first thing to do if you suspect the presence of Japanese knotweed is to get an accredited treatment company to confirm this through a survey. If you do not, and knotweed is subsequently detected by the buyer’s surveyor, it could delay the sale, or, in extreme cases, render the property unmortgageable with its value greatly reduced.

If knotweed by the survey is confirmed, you should commence a management and treatment plan. 

Most mortgage lenders are happy to lend on a property with knotweed as long as the plan is carried out by an accredited member of an industry recognised trade association, such as the Property Care Association or the Invasive Non-Native Specialists Association (INNSA).

Many mortgage lenders will require there to be a treatment plan in place if knotweed is confirmed on or within 7 metres of a property. Lenders will also usually require the plan to be paid upfront and in full.

To satisfy most lenders’ mortgage criteria, the plan must include a 10-year insurance-backed guarantee (IBG) in case the company carrying out the treatment goes bust.

Crucially, if you are intending to market your property before the treatment plan is complete, make sure the company can issue the IBG in advance of the treatment plan completing.

Having Japanese knotweed present is not necessarily the nightmare many sellers believe it to be. As long as you disclose it to your buyers via the TA6 and have evidence of an appropriate treatment plan and insurance, then it is not likely to jeopardize your sale.

Should you have some Japanese Knotweed to be controlled, give The Lawn Company Team a shout.

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear on this weblog until the author has approved them.

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In.

Lawn Technical Pages

Common Lawn Problems

Buy Lawn Products

Other Gardening Sites

Weed Control

  • Weed Free Contract Pesticide Application Services and Weed Control in Amenity Turf

    The Lawn Company Professional Lawn Care Treatments, Lawn Care Products and Advice

Turf Industry Sites

Weather

  • Metcheck - detailed UK weather including seven day forecasts

    Met Office - UK Meteorological services