Japanese Knotweed is in the news most weeks, with horror stories on how the plant has taken over a garden or caused a property chain to collapse.
At Southwest Knotweed, we see many clients using our services as mortgage lenders surveyors or property owners identify Japanese Knotweed on site and require a specialist survey to ascertain the extent of the problem and associated risks. The survey will objectively describe where the Japanese Knotweed is located, in relation to outbuildings, the main property, how close to boundaries and any encroachment issues. This will determine the risk category from 1-4, with 4 being the highest risk. The Japanese Knotweed surveyor would also look for any visible structural damage above ground to buildings, drains, walls etc.
The specialist report will give the mortgage company a complete overview of the problem, followed by a proposed solution (programme of works) with an optional Insurance Backed Guarantee which most lenders will require.
Mortgage Lenders will also look for a company who is PCA (Property Care Association) affiliated, meaning all members will have attained the CSJK qualification (certified surveyor in Japanese Knotweed) and will also adhere to a strict code of practice making sure all work carried out, is to a professional standard. The majority of mortgage lenders are happy to accept a 10-year management plan which will consist of 6 treatments over a three year period, followed by two years monitoring and a 5-year guarantee, all covered by an Insurance Backed Guarantee (IBG). This procedure will normally allow the buying and selling of properties to move forward smoothly.
Due to the inclusion of the question: “IS THE PROPERTY AFFECTED BY JAPANESE KNOTWEED” – YES/NO/NOTKNOWN on the TA6 (Property Information Form), filled in by vendors, we have seen a marked increase in enquires. Notably due to the false or erroneous declarations.
Where buyers indicate NO or NOT KNOWN on the TA6 meaning a specialist survey may not be required to allow the sale of the property to proceed. This has lead to some new owners moving in, only to find Japanese Knotweed growing in the garden. Thus presenting the question: did the previous owners know Japanese Knotweed was present? And subsequently; were they trying to hide the plant by cutting in down to ground level? Or simply were the previous owners unaware of the significance, implications or appearance of Japanese Knotweed?
In the event of this, Southwest Knotweed could then be enlisted to create a report, which would establish the extent of the problem. This would also give an idea of how long we believe the Japanese Knotweed had been growing at the property and propose a programme of works to manage the problem.
It would then be down to the new owners to decide whether or not to try and claim back the costs associated with dealing with the problem.
For further information relating to Japanese Knotweed, from Southwest Knotweed helping you to identify the plant or booking a specialist survey, we are here to help and look forward to talking to you.
Richard White (csjk) Certified Surveyor in Japanese Knotweed.