​Japanese Knotweed – what are my responsibilities when selling my property?

Posted 25 January 2023 by Amanda Nudd

Japanese knotweed is a fast-growing plant that can grow up to 10cm per day. The rhizomes (roots) can expand up to 7m underground and cause problems by interfering with gardens, patios, paths, driveways, walls, outbuildings, conservatories and drainage systems.
When selling a property, one of the first things a Seller must complete is the Property Information Form. This is a legal form that provides the Buyer with important information about the property. Within the Property Information Form, the Seller is required to confirm whether the property is affected by Japanese Knotweed. When answering what appears to be on the face of it, a simple question, it is crucial to understand what each answer means.
Yes - If the Seller answers ‘yes’, they then need to confirm whether there is a management and treatment plan in place and provide any supporting documentation. A positive response could affect the buyers’ ability to obtain a mortgage as lenders take a cautious approach to lending when a property is affected by Japanese Knotweed.   The presence of Japanese Knotweed could also adversely affect the value of a property.
No - The Law Society Guidance states that if the Seller answers ‘no’, they ‘must be certain that no rhizome (root) is present in the ground of the property, or within 3 meters of the property boundary even if there are no visible signs above ground’. If the Seller answers ‘no’ on the Property Information Form, but Japanese knotweed is later discovered in the grounds of the property, or within 3 meters of the property boundary, the Buyer could be entitled to compensation from the Seller. 
Unknown - The Law Society Guidance states that if the Seller is unsure whether Japanese knotweed exists above or below ground, or whether it has been previously managed on the property, the Seller should choose ‘not known’.
In summary, whether you are buying or selling a property, it is important to be on the lookout for Japanese Knotweed and stay alert to the risks associated with it.
For further information, Buyers and Sellers can refer to The Law Society Property Information Form (TA6) Explanatory Notes for Sellers and Buyers and the RICS Guidance note on Japanese Knotweed and Residential Property (1st edition, January 2022).
For further information, or if you require assistance with any conveyancing matters, please contact Amanda Nudd on 01692 581231 or email a.nudd@capronandhelliwell.co.uk

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