What is Japanese Knotweed?

Identifying Japanese knotweed is crucial to save your time and money. Japanese Knotweed is one of the world’s most invasive, destructive and resilient species of plant.

Japanese knotweed is a member of the family Polygonaceae. It has hollow stems with distinct raised nodes that give it the appearance of bamboo, though it is not closely related.  While stems may reach a maximum height of 3–4m each growing season, it is typical to see much smaller plants in places where they sprout through cracks in the pavement or are repeatedly cut down. The leaves are broad oval with a truncated base, 7–14 cm long and 5–12 cm wide.

identifying Japanese knotweed on time is essential for securing your time and money. In order to help you identify whether you have Japanese Knotweed on your property (or an adjacent one) the photographs below show Japanese Knotweed at various stages of the growing season.

Learn more about the problems created by Japanese Knotweed.




Problems created by Japanese knotweed...

Problems selling your house

Most mortgage lenders will not lend on properties with Japanese knotweed, or where Japanese knotweed has been identified nearby

Problems re-mortgaging

Most mortgage lenders will not allow you to re-mortgage your property where Japanese knotweed has been identified (on the property or nearby)

Damage to your house

The plant’s invasive root system and strong growth can damage concrete foundations, buildings, roads, paving and retaining walls

Potential liability

If the Japanese knotweed spreads from your property to another, the owner of that property could be entitled to damages from you

Japanese knotweed can prevent house sales and prevent you remortgaging your property.  Mortgage lenders including the high street banks will refuse to lend money in the form of a mortgage where their surveyor identifies the presence of Japanese knotweed on the property, or on an adjacent property.

Banks refuse mortgages and prevent house sales because the plant can cause significant property damage, and can devalue the property. This affects the loan to value ratio and reduces the value of the security held by the bank. If you are wishing to sell a property with a Japanese knotweed problem you should contact us immediately. You should not be afraid of identifying Japanese knotweed.

Where Japanese knotweed is identified on a property most banks/building societies will not lend unless there is a treatment programme in place which is backed-up by a guarantee. This can be expensive and delay or frustrate a sale. This need not be the case. In the right circumstances we will arrange for an eradication company to devise a treatment programme and arrange an insurance-backed guarantee (this should take no more than 48 hours to put in place); and will also start the process of recovering the cost of the treatment and guarantee. We act on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis, so would only suggest this method and take the case where it was likely that you would recover the cost of the treatment and guarantee.

If you put a property on the market that is affected by Japanese knotweed the chances are that any buyer you find will pull out, incurring you in abortive fees and unnecessary stress. If you are lucky enough to find a buyer who does not need a mortgage you may well find some last minute negotiations to reduce the offered price due to the Japanese knotweed problem.

You should not try to hide the problem. The Law Society’s TA6 form will ensure that the buyers’ solicitors will ask whether the property is or has been affected by Japanese knotweed, and if you knowingly provide false information, you could be sued by your buyer for misrepresentation.

Telegraph 26 May 2010 “Homeowner turned down for mortgage due to Japanese Knotweed in garden”

Evening Standard 24 June 2013 “Japanese Knotweed ties up house sales in London”

Daily Mail 19 July 2013 “Japanese Knotweed invasion is halting house sales as buyers are denied mortgages on blighted properties”

Find out if you can make a claim in relation to Japanese knotweed.