What is Knotweed?
Japanese Knotweed is a plant which originates in East Asia, and is one of the most prolific and damaging weeds.
Why should I be interested?
Knotweed can cause considerable damage to your property, and can also cause damage to other people’s property. It is very strong and very fast growing, able to grow by centimetres each day in the right conditions.
Not only can it cause damage, Knotweed needs to be carefully noted and disclosed should you come to sell your property. You should also be very aware of any Knotweed growing on any properties you are buying.
When you are selling your property, you will likely be asked whether there is any Knotweed, either expressly or by either asking directly whether there are any damaging plants or weeds etc. on your land. You need to be able to answer the question accurately, and if you do not know whether there is Knotweed on your land or not, it may be better to answer the question with an “I do not know”.
How can Knotweed possibly affect my legal position?
Proper disclosure when buying or selling a property is vital. As briefly explained above, not disclosing very important information during the sale of your property can lead to claims of misrepresentation or fraud. Neither of those are particularly palatable claims to have brought against you, and defending it can be very expensive.
Knotweed may also damage other people’s properties and if it is coming from your land, it can entitle people to claim damages against you. For example, if Knotweed is on your land and grows outside of your property and into the foundations of your neighbour’s property, that damage may be something that they may try and claim back from you.
What do I need to do?
First and foremost, you need to know whether Knotweed is on your property. It is important to know not just for legal reasons, but also for practical reasons as it is so potentially damaging and difficult to control. You may need to get experts in to deal with Knotweed.
You may be able to identify Knotweed yourself, otherwise you should organise a surveyor to come in and identify it for you.
Knowing is the important thing.
Be vigilant rather than worried. If you think you have Knotweed on your land, there are companies who will come and inspect for you. They can then provide quotes for removing the knotweed, which will not only save you a lot of potential problems in the future, but may also free up some of your garden so that you can use it again.