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IF I AM SELLING MY HOUSE, DO I HAVE TO DISCLOSE THE PRESENCE OF JAPANESE KNOTWEED TO THE BUYER?

In the Pre-Contract Enquiry form (TA6) there is a specific question asking the seller ‘if the property is affected by Japanese knotweed?’. If the seller fails to disclose Japanese Knotweed or knowingly falsifies the non-presence of Japanese Knotweed to the buyer, a claim against the seller could be brought before the courts for ‘Misrepresentation’.

DOES THE ESTATE AGENT HAVE A DUTY TO DISCLOSE JAPANESE KNOTWEED ON MY PROPERTY?

Under the Consumer Protection Regulations, agents acting on behalf of the seller have a duty to disclose any “material facts”. Guidance to the regulations now includes Japanese knotweed as a material fact.

IF THERE HAVE BEEN PREVIOUS ATTEMPTS TO TREAT JAPANESE KNOTWEED, DOES THIS MAKE SUBSEQUENT TREATMENT MORE DIFFICULT?

Unfortunately yes it does. If it has been treated with any kind of pesticide, there is a high possibility the rhizome will go into dormancy, making it more difficult to detect the scale of the Japanese knotweed infestation & to give the infestation the appropriate amount of treatment in subsequent visits.

If there have been attempts at digging or removing the Japanese Knotweed, it will be very difficult to recognize the original extent and spread of the plant.

WHAT IS THE LIKELIHOOD OF DORMANT RHIZOME BEING PRESENT IN THE GROUND?

Rhizome dormancy can be induced by incorrect herbicide application. Where dormancy exists the knotweed may look dead above ground (or may not even be visible) but the rhizome system in the ground remains alive ready to send up new shoots when the dormancy is broken.

WHY CAN’T I DISTURB THE GROUND AFTER HERBICIDE TREATMENT?

A 5 year, in-situ, herbicide management plan is essentially a ‘control’ method which puts Japanese Knotweed into dormancy. As the rhizomes are not being removed from the soil, if the soil were to be disturbed, the Japanese Knotweed would become viable and start to grow again. Disturbing the ground could also fragment the rhizome system, leading to spread and regrowth of the Japanese Knotweed.

CAN I BUILD OVER PREVIOUSLY INFESTED LAND WHICH HAS BEEN TREATED WITH HERBICIDE?

As above, if the Japanese knotweed is in dormancy we would strongly suggest you not to do this – if you are looking to redevelop/landscape or disturb the ground, complete removal (excavation) of the Japanese Knotweed is advised.

WILL THERE BE ANY DISRUPTION TO THE HOUSE/GARDEN WHILST THE WORKS ARE CARRIED OUT?

Knotweed Services will endeavor to keep disruption to a minimum, but inevitably some loss of enjoyment that the property and garden provides will be experienced. The amount and duration of disruption can depend on the treatment method adopted.

WHAT PRECAUTIONS DO WE NEED TO BE AWARE OF WHERE HERBICIDES ARE APPLIED?
  • To minimise spread, if you cannot control access, fencing and warning signs should be used to prohibit unauthorized access into the affected area.
  • During application of herbicide, please keep persons and pets out of the area. The herbicides used are not harmful to mammals if used correctly, however unnecessary exposure should be avoided.
  • Do not allow the above ground knotweed vegetation to be trampled on, cut down or damaged. Damage to the above ground part of the plant makes the treatment using herbicide less effective. In certain circumstances it can also lead to further spread.
  • You should also notify all relevant parties with access to the infestation that the cutting down/pulling out of any Japanese Knotweed is not permitted during a treatment programme as to do so would severely hinder the control of the Japanese Knotweed, or worst case scenario cause new infestations to occur.
  • A 1m boundary should be left around the infestation to avoid contaminating surrounding soil.
  • It is imperative that no Japanese Knotweed is permitted to be disturbed, broken / pulled during an in situ control programme as this will delay control timescales and potentially increase control costs in the end.
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