Family left devastated after house sale falls through at last minute and £20,000 is wiped off value… because Japanese Knotweed is growing on council land BEHIND their home.
- The family had their mid-terrace home on market for two years
- Surveyor said property in Stockport, Greater Manchester, is worth £80,000, not £100,000 because of aggressive weed
- Plant can grow to 12ft tall, push through concrete and damage buildings
- Costs £100 per square foot to eradicate with pesticides
A homeowner has had £20,000 wiped off the value of his house – because a surveyor said it was threatened by knotweed growing behind his back yard.
A father-of-one, had put his terrace home in Stockport on the market at £100,000 and, after two years of waiting, thought he had a buyer.
But the sale fell through at the last moment when a surveyor carried out an inspection on behalf of the prospective purchaser. His report found the house was worth only £80,000 because of a cluster of aggressive Japanese knotweed growing on council land next door.
The expert said the weed was a threat to the foundations of neighbouring properties and recommended a ‘migration plan’ to establish where the roots were, how fast the weed was growing and what direction it would grow in.
The bamboo-like plant can grow up to 12ft high, push through concrete and damage buildings. Eradicating it with pesticides costs £100 per square foot.
An embankment behind the home is riddled with the weed, some of it already 10ft high.
The home owner and other locals have long complained about the danger the weed poses to nearby foundations.
He is unable to cut back the weed himself for fear he could be prosecuted for damaging property.
After contacting the local council, a property management company has agreed to treat the knotweed – for the first time in two years – and will give the homeowners a certificate guaranteeing it will be kept in check for five years.
A Local Labour councillor, who raised the case with Stockport Council, said: ‘It has been a problem there for ten years so I don’t know why it has taken so long to deal with properly.’
A Liberal Democrat councillor attempted to reassure residents.
‘We are committed to tackling this issue and have a comprehensive policy to address Japanese knotweed,’ he said.
‘We are aware of the residents’ concerns and contact has been made with them.
‘This site was treated for Japanese knotweed a couple of years ago when it was brought to our attention.
‘There has recently been some re-growth which will be revisited.’
THE DEADLY INVADER… AND HOW TO TACKLE IT
Japanese knotweed – which has the scientific name fallopia japonica – was introduced into Britain by the Victorians in 1840.
Incredibly invasive, it can grow 4in a day from April to October and a tiny root can establish itself as a plant in just ten days.
Apparently solid structures such as tarmac and flooring in houses are no barrier to its growth and the weed also creates a risk of flooding if leaves clog waterways.
About £1.6billion is spent a year in an attempt to remove it.
Knotweed is recognised by its shovel-shaped leaves, bamboo-like stem and white flowers produced in autumn.
If you discover the plant on your property, these are some of the steps you should take to prevent further problems:
- Immediately create a 21ft exclusion zone around the suspect plant.
- Do an initial spray with glyphosate-based weed killer.
- Do not excavate or move soil from the exclusion zone without instruction from the local authority.
- Cutting should be done with sharp secateurs or pull it out by hand to avoid dispersal of fragments.
- Wash feet and clean shoes when leaving the contaminated area.
- If you cut down knotweed, you can burn it on site or bury it – 16ft deep, covered with a root-barrier membrane and with inert topsoil – with permission from the Environment Agency. Material taken from the site must be disposed of at a licensed facility.
As you can see from this article Japanese Knotweed can be a real nuisance; it prevented the Metcalfe family from moving into their dream home.
News stories such as this one are becoming more and more common as awareness of Japanese Knotweed increases. It is unfortunate that the Metcalfe family didn’t notice the weeds earlier, the earlier knotweed is noticed the easier and cheaper it is to eradicate.
We encourage everyone to be on the lookout for Japanese Knotweed as early intervention can avoid big problems such as £20,000 being knocked off the value of your home.
The earlier you can let us know, the earlier we can create a personal management plan.
If you are unsure on whether or not you have Japanese Knotweed there is a guide on our website here or alternatively you can get in touch here for advice and tips or call us on 0800 689 4146 NOW.
We would hate for you to suffer the same distress as the Metcalfe family so if you notice Japanese Knotweed on or around your property get in touch with Knotweed Services UK now!
Original article can be read on the Daily Mail website here.