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Japanese Knotweed Halts Dudley House Sale

Published on by Dr Paul Beckett

Dudley Japanese knotweed house

(image reproduced with kind permission of Dudley News)

The presence of Japanese knotweed has affected the property value of a house in Dudley. The owner now feels that her home of 40 years is worthless because she cannot get a loan against it.
In what is increasingly becoming a common problem for residential properties and development sites across the UK, the Japanese knotweed that is preventing the owner from securing a mortgage is not actually located on the property itself. According to RICS guidance and the PCA IWCG code of practice, neighbouring knotweed can represent a significant risk . This makes particular sense if the site boundary and distance to the off-site knotweed is only a few metres.
In the example of the address in Dudley, the adjacent land is owned by the Local Council, who claim to have been treating the Japanese knotweed with significant success. However, without a long term agreement to treat the highly invasive plant, lenders have been reluctant to loan against property if there is a risk of the Japanese knotweed undermining its foundations.
The Environment Agency advises that the Japanese knotweed rhizome system can extend up to seven meters from the parent plant and to a depth of several meters. The RICS guidance also uses seven meters as the distance within which Japanese knotweed may affect a building, regardless of whether the Japanese knotweed is growing within the property boundary or on neighbouring land.
The good news is that the problem can be quickly resolved. The main reason why the Property Care Association (PCA) established an Invasive Weed Control Group was to allow Council of Mortgage Lenders and Building Societies Association members to properly assess and manage the risk to property caused by Japanese knotweed.
PCA members can provide the necessary guarantees and bonds that will satisfy the majority of lenders. This is bread-and-butter work for Phlorum. We have successfully allowed many house sales and re-mortgages to go ahead where they would otherwise have failed due to on- and off-site Japanese knotweed infestations.
Read more on this story here.

About the author: Dr Paul Beckett

Dr Paul Beckett - picture

Dr Paul Beckett is one of the UK’s leading experts in Japanese knotweed and is a member of the Expert Witness Institute. He regularly provides Japanese knotweed expert witness services. He helped produce the RICS knotweed guidance for surveyors and was integral in the formation of the Property Care Association (PCA) Invasive Weed Control Group (IWCG).

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