Looking around our local area houses are selling and in many cases they are selling fast. Great news for the property market and any of us looking to move but given the prevalence of Japanese Knotweed in Swansea and the surrounding areas, late winter and early spring is not an easy time to ensure your new property is Knotweed free!
Surely they would declare Knotweed?
Of course, morally and ethically you would hope that the vendor and/or estate agent would be honest with you and advise if there had been a problem. If this is not the case, then you might expect that any presence of Knotweed would show up on the Law Society’s TA6 form right? Wrong – the key is to protect yourself if you are looking to complete the sale on a property this winter. It is fair to say that some home sellers and their estate agents will be genuinely unaware of any Japanese Knotweed at the property. Others, however, may not be so fair whilst the Knotweed is in its dormant winter state and less visible. The seller is specifically asked about the presence of Japanese Knotweed prior to the contract being drawn up, however, they do have the option to indicate that they do not know if Knotweed is present or not. Given this option you cannot always rely on a clear answer as to the presence of Knotweed or not.
What should I look out for?
During the winter the dead Knotweed canes will die back and it is possible that they will have cleared away during any pre-sale tidying that has taken place. As a result of this it can be difficult for the surveyor to identify the Knotweed during these cold months of no growth too.
Winter canes are a dark colour, hollow and fairly brittle, dead canes can stand for several years so you are likely to see various stages of decomposition of plant material if clearance has not been undertaken.
If clearance has been completed, then look for mounds in the ground covering rhizome. There could be early shoots if the weather has been mild enough to encourage early growth.
Finding Japanese Knotweed in the garden of your dream home doesn’t mean you can’t buy it. However, knowing in advance does mean that you can ensure you get the best possible advice to help you to make a final decision as to whether to buy or not. It also means that you can obtain a quote from a Japanese Knotweed removal specialist. In some cases, it could mean that you can negotiate on the price to be certain that you aren’t left out of pocket as a result of the problem. Involving an expert company such as ourselves from the beginning will ensure you can put the most appropriate treatment plan in place prior to completing on the sale.