Search Results For: japanese knotweed

Awareness and concern over Japanese Knotweed growing

Published On: July 6, 2017 at 10:02 am


Categories: Property News

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Interesting new research has revealed that there is a high level of anxiety surrounding the troublesome Japanese Knotweed.

The survey, carried out by YouGov and Environet UK, showed that 78% of would-be homeowners would be deterred from buying a property if they knew that the weed was present in the garden.

Japanese Knotweed

Reasons for this concern included:

  • Knowing it can’t always be removed – 69%
  • Cost of removing- 56%
  • Time involved- 57%

Responses to the report suggest that there is also a high level of myth and misinformation around the threat posed by the weed and the options to remove it.

First introduced to the UK during the 1850’s from Japan, Japanese Knotweed is now number one on the Environment Agency’s list of the UK’s most invasive plant. It is described as, ‘indisputably the UK’s most aggressive, destructive and invasive plant.’


75% of Britons were found to be aware of the plant, but only 4% were aware of it actually being present in their property. People of Wales were particularly aware, with 95%, while 80% of people in the South East said they were.

However, those aware of the plant are mostly oblivious to their legal obligations surrounding the plant, should it be found on their land. Just 49% of homeowners are aware that it is their responsibility from preventing it spreading. 21% are aware that they could receive an ASBO should the weed be found on their land and subsequently spread.

Those looking for a comprehensive lowdown on the plant, how to remove it and their legal obligations can found out more in this guide.

Awareness and concern over Japanese Knotweed growing

Awareness and concern over Japanese Knotweed growing


Nic Seal, MD and Founder of Environet, said: ‘Homeowners are right to be concerned about the threat posed by Japanese knotweed. Attempting to deal with it by cutting it down repeatedly, burning it, burying it or using common weed killers simply won’t work as the plant can lie dormant beneath the ground, only to strike again when people least expect it.’

‘Yet for those wishing to buy or sell a property, it doesn’t have to be a deal breaker. Japanese knotweed can be dealt with once and for all, within a matter of days from discovery, so there is hope for buyers who may have otherwise walked away from their dream home.’[1]

Philip Santo, Chartered Surveyor and Director at Philip Santo & Co, added: ‘RICS shares concerns that many people believe Japanese Knotweed poses a much greater risk than it really does.’

‘Since RICS issued guidance in 2012 the situation for buyers and sellers has greatly improved. For most affected properties there is now access to mortgage finance once an approved Japanese Knotweed Management Plan is in place. DIY remedies can make matters worse and should not be attempted.’[1]





Japanese knotweed-what you need to know

Published On: May 14, 2015 at 2:35 pm


Categories: Uncategorized

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With Spring in full bloom and plants beginning to blossom, experts are warning homeowners to look out for the troublesome Japanese knotweed.

What is Japanese knotweed?

Japanese knotweed, or Fallopia japonica, is a plant that lies dormant during Winter months but begins to sprout in Spring. Come summer, the plant can commonly grow by one foot per week and thus suffocate other flowers in the garden. Not unlike bamboo, Japanese knotweed can grow in excess of 7ft high.

If left untreated, the plant can cause difficulty in both buying and selling homes. Some lenders do not even consider giving mortgages for homes where the plant is present, such is its destruction. Roots from the Japanese knotweed can cause severe damage to house foundations, walls and drainage systems.

How to spot

Japanese knotweed can be recognised by its distinctive lime-green stem with purple and red speckles. Additionally, the plant has reddish-pink buds, with heart-shaped leaves and its sprouts have a red tinge which turn lime green. During the summer months, Japanese knotweed produce clusters of cream flowers. Shoots are known to appear all over the garden.

Jo Mullett runs weed control firm Knotweed Control and urges caution from homeowners if they suspect the plant is present in their garden. Mullett said, ‘don’t panic if you think you have knotweed. The first thing to do is take photos and email them to a weed control company-advice at this stage should cost you nothing.’[1]

She continued by saying that, ‘there is a chance it is not knotweed, but if it is then a specialist might charge £175 or so for a site visit to survey the situation. You might then be able to remove the plant yourself if it is not too far spread-or you could pay a professional to come in and destroy it.’[2]

Removing the plant

Despite it not being illegal to grow knotweed in the UK, it must be kept under strict control and must be prevented from spreading into nearby gardens. If the plant is deemed to cause a, ‘detrimental effect of a persistent or continuing nature on the quality of life of those in the locality,’ then a council can order that the plant is removed immediately.

Japanese knotweed-what you need to know

Japanese knotweed-what you need to know

The Royal Horticultural Society gives useful information on removing the plant on its website. Guy Barter, chief adviser at the society, said that, ‘we are not talking about plants from another planet such as triffids. You can often treat knotweed yourself.’[3] Barter suggests using a glyphosate-based weed killer, for example Roundup Tree Stump & Root Killer. He says that treatment involves cutting back the plant such there is around an eight-to-twelve inch hollow stem above the ground. The weed killer should then be dripped inside the hollow. Once under control, the knotweed must disposed of an a registered landfill site. This is due to the plant being classed as, ‘controlled waste’ under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

Professional help

While knotweed can be removed manually, many lenders insist on calling in the professionals. Most loan providers will dash any hopes of buying a home if they see the Japanese knotweed is present on a surveyors report. Experts will be forced to prove that the plant has been removed and will not return before any offer of a mortgage is likely to be made.

A few of the policies of major lenders in regards to Japanese knotweed are as follows:


The bank insists that an expert who is part of the Property Care Association is called to remove the plant. Additionally, the expert must offer a ten-year insurance based guarantee that the plant will not return, within 7 metres of the home.

Nationwide Building Society

A spokesman for Nationwide said, ‘f it is prominent less than seven metres from the house we request a specialist report about eradication before deciding whether we can lend. Even if further away we require written confirmation from the borrower they are happy to proceed with a mortgage application despite presence of the plant.’[4]

Santander also expect a professional to be called out, but also expects money to be put aside to combat any return of the plant. A spokesperson said, ‘it can take several seasons of spraying with specialist chemicals to eradicate. Work is often not completed before the mortgage term starts so we ask for the cost of remedial work to be held in a separate account. We will not turn down a mortgage just because of knotweed, but we will want it eradicated.’[5]

Leeds Building Society 

This building society also said it will not borrow money on houses where knotweed is present in the garden, which gives a risk to either the present or future sale of the property.

Yorkshire/Clydesdale Bank

Both of these banks are owned by National Australia Bank, and say that they make decisions on a case-by-case basis. However, they warn that, ‘if you have knotweed in the garden-and it comes up on a valuer’s report-you will struggle to get a mortgage unless it is professionally treated.’[6]

Barter added that, ‘knotweed is a long-term invader that unnerves mortgage lenders if discovered in a garden so it is important to stamp it out as soon as it is found. A reputable trade association, such as the British Association of Professional Landscape Industries, should provide you with details of local contractors who can tackle knotweed.’[7]






The Main Features that could Devalue your Property

Published On: January 28, 2019 at 9:16 am


Categories: Property News

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Selling a property, whether you’re a landlord or homeowner, can be a stressful time. To ensure that you don’t fall at the first hurdle – when getting the home valued – we’re looking at the main features that could devalue your property.

Homeowners, especially, can be surprised at which features may devalue their properties. 

NAEA Propertymark (the National Association of Estate Agents) members have noted some of the main features that they’ve witnessed devaluing a property…


Of course, if you’re decorating your own home, it should suit your personal tastes. However, if your taste is particularly colourful or bold, then it might be worth redecorating before you start to market your property.

As landlords will know, modestly decorated homes are the most desirable, as potential buyers can easily see how their own belongings would fit into the space and how they could make it their own.


It might sound obvious, but the condition of a property is an important factor for buyers – particularly those who want a home that’s ready to move into, without having to spend too much money doing it up.

Issues such as damp, cracks in the walls, poor roof condition, an old boiler and single-glazed windows can all have an impact on the value of your property and potential interest from buyers.

Bad presentation

If you’re looking to sell a property, make sure that it’s presented in the best way possible. Everything should be clean, clutter-free and any DIY jobs completed. 

If a home smells fresh and clean, then it has a much greater chance of selling quickly.


Swimming pools

Although they’re great fun for a weekend or two in the summer, swimming pools in the UK aren’t usually considered an attractive property feature. They’re expensive to maintain, use up a lot of space and the Great British weather means that you can’t use them very often, making them more fuss than they’re worth and a turn-off to potential buyers.

If your property has an outdoor swimming pool that is run-down, then you might want to consider filling it in. If it is in great condition, then think about selling the property in the summer, when the pool is up and running, and looking its best.

Planning permission and building regulations

If you have had any works carried out on the property, such as extensions or conversions, then make sure that you obtained appropriate planning permission and building regulations, and have access to these documents.

If you don’t have the right documentation, then you may find that you have to pay for them retrospectively before agreeing a sale.

Dark rooms

If you compare two identical homes, but one is bright and airy, while the other is dark and dingy, nine times out of ten, the brighter one will be worth more, because it’s more desirable to buyers. 

If you’ve planted lots of bushes and trees close to the windows, these may affect what buyers think. Frosted glass windows and net curtains can also sometimes have the same effect.

Japanese knotweed

The invasive Japanese knotweedis more common than you think, and can damage the foundations of a property and significantly devalue it if it’s at risk of subsidence as a result.

If you think that you can see any in the garden, then call in a professional to excavate it as soon as possible.

Mark Bentley, the President of NAEA Propertymark, says: “The house moving process is undoubtedly stressful, so it’s important to know what could add value to your home and what might detract, or even completely put off, potential buyers. 

“Sometimes, the improvements and changes you have made might make the property less attractive to buyers, so, before you start marketing your home, it’s worth taking stock and making any necessary alterations to give you the best chance of securing your asking price.”

He adds: “You can ask friends or family for their honest opinions, or your estate agents can help advise on any small changes you may want to make before placing your home on the market.”

How Can you Improve Outdoor Space in Your Property to Increase Rental Yield?

Published On: September 24, 2018 at 10:01 am


Categories: Landlord News

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A garden is more than just a garden. It’s a place where families and friends come together and quality time is spent, especially in this summer period…

For property investors, garden and outdoor space is a desirable feature to a property. Tenants often place this feature as a necessity when searching for the perfect home, this is an enabler for you to demand a higher rental price and, as a result, increase your rental yield.

If you’re preparing to sell your rental property or are seeking the most effective ways to increase your rental yield, Just Landlords, the specialist landlord insurer, have compiled some top tips for you to follow.


Having a large lawn can be an attractive feature of a property. It can be particularly appealing to families with small children, as they are free to play and run around. In addition, any playing apparatus like swings, slides etc can be used in the garden due to this space being provided.

However, this may not be as appealing if you are an owner of a smaller property. Instead, this type of property will most likely attract young professionals or young couples without children. Despite this, you may want to contemplate keeping some of the lawn and perhaps implementing some decking or a smart patio, perfect for hosting dinner parties or other gatherings. This provides the potential tenant with some optionality and could therefore potentially contribute value to both the sale and rental price.

First impressions

During the viewing process, it is important to wow your potential tenants to increase the chances of them wanting to invest. This is why it is paramount for you to invest in the appearance of your garden, ensuring that the basic cleanliness and tidiness of the space is regularly maintained. This also involves making sure that old plants are replaced with new ones to retain a fresh and inviting atmosphere.

Killing weeds is also important, as you do not want to give potential tenants the impression that your property is unkempt. Additionally, they may feel put off by this because they might have to do a lot of work to keep weeds from growing. One of the most unpleasant weeds is Japanese Knotweed, which can grow to 7ft. For an informative guide on how to get rid of Japanese Knotweed, Landlord News, a company in association with Just Landlords, has written up a thorough guide which you can access here

If you wanted to go the extra mile, you may consider purchasing some exotic plants or some nice garden furniture to really show the potential of the property.

Front garden

Although most tenants are interested in the appearance, space and condition of the back garden, when utilised effectively and presented in a pleasant way, the front garden can add considerable value to your rental property.

Going Solar

Another popular suggestion is to go solar with your garden lights. Though this could be slightly on the pricey side, it would definitely increase your chances of an attractive rental yield, as you would be able to up your rental price.

Throw in some extras

If you are determined to increase your rental yield, then perhaps consider going to extra mile for potential tenants and providing things like a dishwasher or perhaps other desirable appliances. This way, you can up your rental price and improve your rental yield.
So, if you’re determined to improve your rental yield and show potential tenants what your property offers, get busy!

Rats are Greatest Concern for Homebuyers Viewing a Property

Published On: December 19, 2017 at 9:05 am


Categories: Property News

As temperatures drop, more household pests are pushed towards the warmth of our homes. But how does this affect homebuyers when viewing a property?

Hybrid estate agent has looked at the impact of unwanted houseguests on the potential sale of a property.

The agent surveyed over 1,000 people to find out what impact the presence of household pests would have on their decision to buy a home.

Despite the shortage of housing stock available on the market, a notable 60% of people would be deterred from buying a property due to the presence of household pests.

An additional 31% would submit a lower offer than the listed asking price, with just 10% not being bothered about the extra roommates.

eMoov then asked if a persistent pest would force homeowners to sell their properties, with 58% of those asked stating that they would put their home on the market to get rid of the issue.

The agent went on to ask respondents to rank which household pests people would be most worried about having in their homes: rats were by far the most feared, with 74% of people ranking them top of the list; cockroaches were second, at 46%; with a perhaps surprising 39% stating Japanese Knotweed.

Bed bugs/fleas and mice ranked similarly, at 35% and 33% respectively, while nosey neighbours (18%) ranked higher than wasps/bees (9%), spiders (7%), squirrels (5%), ants (5%), and finally moths, at just 2%.

Finally, eMoov asked if, when selling a property, homeowners would make potential buyers aware of a pest problem. While 41% said that they would, a worrying 23% would not, with a further 36% basing the decision on whether they liked the buyer or not.

Russell Quirk, the Founder and CEO of eMoov, says: “At this time of year, it isn’t just the in-laws that invade our homes and cause additional levels of worry and stress. The presence of an unwanted household pest can be a nightmare for those looking to sell and, if left unresolved, these various pests can not only cause a serious amount of damage, but can also jeopardise a sale.

“A proactive approach is the way to go, making sure they can’t gain access to your home, that you keep the garden in check and so on. But if they do find a way in, it’s much better to pay a professional to sort the problem immediately than lose out considerably via a collapsed sale.”

He adds: “This research also highlights the importance of a thorough approach when viewing a property, as you never know what might be lurking in the garden or attic and, once the keys are exchanged, it becomes your problem to solve.”

Landlords, don’t ignore the problem of pests when looking to purchase a property!

Experts in Invasive Plant Species Create Code to Help Property Professionals

Published On: January 13, 2017 at 11:41 am


Categories: Property News

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Experts in invasive plant species, such as Japanese knotweed, have created the Invasives Code to help property professionals.

Formerly known as the Invasive Non-Native Species (INNS) Code, it is set by the Invasive Non-Native Specialists Association (INNSA). The group has called for greater uptake of the recently renamed Invasives Code, insisting that it will provide quality assurance and set industry standards across the property sector.

Experts in Invasive Plant Species Create Code to Help Property Professionals

Experts in Invasive Plant Species Create Code to Help Property Professionals

Japanese Knotweed Control, one of the UK’s first specialist remediation firms and a founding member of INNSA, is calling for all invasive plant species specialists to subscribe in a bid to boost standards in the industry and provide reassurance to property professionals.

Japanese knotweed is an invasive plant species whose rapid growth can destroy manmade and natural structures in its path, costing the UK hundreds of millions of pounds per year. Construction sites are at particularly high risk, as development uncovers and stimulates infested sites – and knotweed grows much faster when disturbed.

Japanese knotweed is believed to be the biggest unmanaged risk in the UK property market. As many as two-thirds of UK mortgage brokers have reported that they have had transactions negatively affected by the invasive plant species, with some even forced to withdraw mortgage applications due to the presence of the plant.

If managed and controlled correctly, Japanese knotweed can be eradicated over time, but it is not like a common weed and requires both specialist treatment and insurances to guarantee the works.

The Invasives Code, which requires subscribers to meet demanding technical standards set by the INNSA, aims to combat invasive plant species by setting out minimum warranty and insurance requirements, consumer service levels, and complaint handling processes. The code is applicable to both residential and commercial properties.

These high standards will reassure property professionals who are at risk of sales falling through. Under consumer protection regulations, estate agents are obliged to advise buyers of any material issues that could affect their decision to buy, including the presence of Japanese knotweed. If sellers fail to disclose these details during the conveyancing process, they risk legal claims of misrepresentation. Some lenders will also outright reject any mortgages on a property affected by invasive plant species.

Japanese Knotweed Control has been at the forefront of encouraging the highest possible standards within the property since it was founded in 2004.

Its Managing Director, David Layland, says: “There is a known case of knotweed infestation in at least every 10km square of the British Isles. The renaming of the Invasives Code gives greater transparency and peace of mind to the clients of the subscribers. This will build confidence, as property owners, professionals and the industries that serve them know they are assured of top quality service.

“We are proud to be subscribers of the code, and hope that more companies join us in becoming thoroughly vetted and quality checked to meet the code’s independently monitored and demanding standards.”

The independent Property Codes Compliance Board (PCCB) regulates the code. All members must also meet the independently assessed ISO 9001 and 14001 standards under Amenity Assured, run by the Government-backed independent standards institute, BASIS.