How to Sell a House With Japanese Knotweed
If your property has a prevailing Japanese knotweed problem, it could make it difficult to get a reasonable price when you try to sell it, if it even sells at all. This can make an experience like selling a house even more stressful than it already is. Therefore, in the following post, we are going to discuss the problem of Japanese knotweed and how it may be possible to sell your home quickly even with there being Japanese knotweed present.
How Do You Identify Japanese Knotweed?
First things first, you need to know whether or not what you have growing in your garden or on your property is actually Japanese Knotweed or not. This weed tends to have plants that consist of arching stems that resemble hollow bamboo with lots of purple speckles and are as tall as 3-metres. From those stems, leaves that have ace-of-spades shapes grow in zig-zags and during late summer through to early autumn, white flowers with a lacey appearance bloom.
When it dies back in winter, it resembles very dry and brown canes and then it sprouts up again when spring comes around.
What Are the Legalities About Removing Japanese Knotweed?
The problem with Japanese knotweed is that it is very invasive, aggressive, and stubborn. As well as becoming unsightly, it can also break through structural materials like concrete, which means it poses a threat to your house. That is part of the reason why so many buyers might be put off your property.
That’s not all, as removing it can be very difficult and expensive. There are actually laws related to its removal. It is listed as one of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981’s controlled invasive weeds. Although it’s not illegal to have the planet, you are committing a criminal offence if you cause it to grow or plant it.
The weed is also listed as controlled waste through the Environmental Protection Act of 1990 which states you can only dispose of it through a licenced disposal site.
If you break any of these laws you could be fined as much as £5,000 or sentenced to as much as 2 years in prison.
What Happens When You Sell a Home With Japanese Knotweed?
If you try to sell your home and it has a Japanese knotweed problem, any buyer interested in purchasing your house will find out about it from their surveyor. Part of their job is to discover if there are any invasive weeds on the property grounds as this will affect the price and suitability of the house. If it is discovered, it will be noted in their valuation survey or the Homebuyer’s Report.
Does That Mean You Don’t Need to Tell Them About It?
Unfortunately, you do need to tell them about it. The solicitor representing the buyer will send the Law Property Information Form, TA6 which you are required to fill out regarding various details about your property. At question 7.8 of that form you are asked directly if there is Japanese Knotweed present on your property and if you fail to mention it, the buyer could sue you for compensation.
Could a Buyer Get a Mortgage on the Property?
Whether they can get a mortgage really depends on the mortgage lender. While many refuse to offer a mortgage on a property with Japanese knotweed, other companies impose certain conditions. The reason for this is because Japanese knotweed carries additional risk that means extra costs and hassles that may result in the buyer walking away and the house sale falling through.
What Should You Do?
Initially, it is a good idea to get advice from a reputable and specialist Japanese Knotweed treatment and removal firm. They should be able to give you a full assessment of the situation and estimate how much it will cost to treat the problem.
How Long Does Treatment Take?
It really depends on how big and severe your Japanese knotweed problem actually is. However, you need to remember that it can take months for the assessment to be fully complete before treatment can actually begin.
What are the alternatives?
The alternatives to selling property with Japanese knotweed through an estate agent and the traditional way is to choose a property cash buyer. As they are not relying on the approval of a mortgage and a company like Cash Home has experience dealing with property with Japanese Knotweed, it is not nearly as big a problem and you will be able to sell your home quicker and easier.