TPO would like to bring to your attention issues surrounding a species of plant known as Japanese knotweed. It is highly invasive and destructive to property. It spreads rapidly, can destroy walls and underground drains and is extremely difficult to kill. Therefore, its presence can have a devastating effect on residential property sales.
Just as sellers have an obligation to disclose the presence of knotweed during pre-contract enquiries, estate agents have an obligation under consumer protection regulations to advise buyers of any material facts that would affect their decision to buy.
As agents, it would be worthwhile familiarising yourself with what this plant looks like and advise any client attempting to sell an affected property, to take pro-active steps to get professional treatment underway immediately.
Though extreme cases are rare, you should be aware that the presence of Japanese knotweed on your client’s land (or indeed land that adjoins it) can cause sales to fall through. Many surveyors are now trained specifically to spot knotweed and bring it to the attention of interested parties, such as lenders, which can often result in a recommendation not to lend.
Below, INNSA (Invasive Non-Native Specialists Association) has provided a fact sheet on Japanese knotweed, where is comes from and why it could be a cause for concern.
Please retain this information and share with vendors whose properties are affected by knotweed to inform them of their obligations.