London Conveyancers Quittance Report 2019 Increase in Japanese Knotweed Cases

Warm spring weather has prompted early infestations of Japanese knotweed according to Quittance, a London conveyancer.

London, United Kingdom - May 16, 2019 / / —

Japanese knotweed is an invasive and potentially destructive plant which can grow up to 10 cm per day and that spreads rapidly through a subterranean rhizome system. The presence of knotweed near a property can significantly impact the property’s value and even affect the mortgage-ability of the property as it may cause structural damage to buildings.

With 2019’s uncharacteristically warm and wet weather, knotweed infestations are appearing earlier than usual. As a result, Quittance Conveyancing, the London-based panel of conveyancing solicitors, have reported an increase in property sales and purchase enquiries where knotweed is a factor.

Property sellers are legally obliged to disclose the existence of Japanese knotweed at or near their property. The conveyancing process requires sellers to complete a formal ‘TA6’ seller’s property information form which contains a specific question about Japanese knotweed. Failing to disclose the presence of knotweed, if known, could have very serious consequences. Buyers would have potential grounds to sue the previous owner if the presence of knotweed was not disclosed - an expensive mistake to make!

According to Chris Salmon, Commercial Director at Quittance Legal Services, “London is the epicentre of Japanese knotweed-related property issues in the UK, and this year’s weather has created the best possible growing conditions for the plant.
“By May, one would only expect to see green shoots emerging. However, 2019 has seen reports of up to 1m of growth already. Infestation has also been reported in some parts of outer London and the South West for the first time.

“Knotweed issues have the potential to seriously delay or even kill a property sale. Sellers should make their solicitor aware of any concerns they have as soon as possible, to give their sale the best chance of completing.”

Research carried out by the University of Leeds and AECOM found no cases where knotweed was responsible for major structural damage. Surveyors also downplay the impact of knotweed, although they are aware of the implications the plants can have on a property’s value. Surveyors are, therefore, increasingly vigilant when carrying out a property survey.

But, whatever the real-world dangers of knotweed, the risk-averse attitude of most mortgage lenders is having a dramatic impact on the value of infested property. If lenders refuse to lend on a knotweed-affected property and potential buyers therefore cannot get a mortgage, the property’s value can fall by anything up to 15%.

Sellers who are aware of the presence of Japanese knotweed on or near the property should seek professional advice to deal with knotweed infestations quickly. Solicitors are also seeing increasing numbers of knotweed encroachment litigation cases, as angry neighbours sue the owners of knotweed-infested property who fail to act.

Lenders are increasingly happy to lend if the property is covered by an indemnity insurance-backed management plan. Individual lender requirements can be checked online in the CML handbook.

In many cases, the seller will simply need to have signed up to an approved plan to satisfy a lender, although prepayment of the plan is usually a condition. Treatment plans start at around £1,000 but may be significantly higher depending on the circumstances. Compared to the financial implications of potentially unsaleable property, the cost of a treatment plan is usually a price well worth paying.

For more information about Quittance Conveyancing, please contact Chris Salmon on 0800 612 7456, or email chris@quittance.co.uk. Please address any postal queries to Northdown House, 11-21 Northdown Street, London, N1 9BN and check out their website https://www.quittance.co.uk/ for all the information you need.

Contact Info:
Name: Chris Salmon
Organization: Quittance Conveyancing
Address: chris@quittance.co.uk
Phone: 0800 612 7456
Website: https://www.quittance.co.uk/

Source:

Release ID: 513575

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