In February 2015 we did a home survey on a London property that gave our buyers a very good reason to renegotiate the price. It also made it harder for them to get a mortgage.
A ground-floor flat in a 1930s red-brick semi, Brixton
Why it’s a problem:
Japanese Knotweed grows like wildfire, and it’s becoming an increasingly common issue that we’re identifying in London property surveys. This weed can grow 2 to 3 metres in a single season, and its roots can send up hundreds of new shoots. Even a sliver of the root can create a new plant, which makes it very, very difficult to get rid of.
Knotweed can quickly clog up a garden, spread to neighbouring properties, damage paving, walls, drains and foundations, and reduce the value of your property. Because it’s classified as an invasive plant, as a property owner you could also be prosecuted if it spreads onto neighbouring properties.
What it could cost to fix:
To get rid of knotweed, you’ll probably need to call in the specialists. Using herbicides it can take up to 3 years to get rid of it, and when digging it out, you need to remove a lot of soil with it to avoid splintering any roots. The costs of this adds up, and even for a relatively small patch of knotweed you’re looking at spending at least £3,000.
What we recommend:
Japanese Knotweed is definitely not something that any buyer should take lightly. In our home survey report, we strongly advised our client to get quotes for removing it before they went ahead with buying the property. Because having knotweed on your property can devalue it, lenders will be reluctant to give you a mortgage. However, some lenders will reconsider if you have a knotweed removal programme in place.