Japanese knotweed on property being sold

Identifying Japanese knotweed correctly

Japanese knotweed can be tricky to identify, even if you do know what to look for. 

With leaves resembling bindweed and canes similar to bamboo it is no wonder it is often misidentified or missed entirely. 

Property surveyors are increasingly under pressure to identify knotweed as it can have a massive impact on the value of your home, if left untreated. Japanese knotweed is often described as the UK’s most destructive plant, which means lenders will often refuse finance on affected properties unless a management plan is in place. 

It takes a well-trained surveyor to spot the difference between knotweed and some of the commonly misidentified plants including Russian vine and bindweed. Recently we saw an interesting case of Houttuynia cordata which had been identified correctly by the surveyor, rather than the initially suspected Fallopia japonica. Are you confident that your surveyor could spot the subtle differences? More and more we are finding that surveyors will act cautiously and raise the red flag on any suspect plant. 

So what happens if your surveyor suggests that you get an expert opinion or if you are not selling and just are concerned about an ominous looking plant in the garden? The first step we would suggest is to get a professional identification from a knotweed specialist. Here at Environet we offer a free identification service from photographs and will be delighted to help you.  Simply email your photos to expert@environetuk.com and we'll tell you if Japanese knotweed is present. While this is a free service, if you would like to make a small donation to a worthy charity via JustGiving that would be appreciated.

In many cases, it turns out that knotweed was not properly identified, which is often a big relief for home owners or potential buyers. In cases like these, if your lender still needs further assurances, then Japanese Knotweed Indemnity Insurance is available to protect you and your lender against future discoveries of Japanese knotweed. One such policy is available via Countrywide Legal Indemnities. For advice or to arrange cover speak to your conveyancing solicitor, or Grafton Insurance on 01932 450 154, or visit www.graftoninsurance.co.uk.

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