What is the TA6 Form?
The Seller’s Property Information Form (TA6) is part of the Law Society’s National Conveyancing Protocol. It is intended to streamline the residential property conveyancing process by standardising the information that sellers provide. It is also sometimes referred to as the Pre-Contract Enquiry Form.
The form is designed to help provide as much information as possible to potential buyers. It must be completed by an individual when selling their home.
TA6 Form Japanese Knotweed Revisions
The 4th Edition of the form was published in February 2020 and included changes to notes within the form and the explanatory notes which accompany the form. Changes were made to the Japanese knotweed, flood risk, radon and septic tanks sections.
Changes to the knotweed section regarding the presence and risks of Japanese knotweed were released in response to the House of Commons Select Committee enquiry into on Japanese knotweed and its effects on the built environment.
As a result of the new notes Sellers are facing new considerations when completing question 7.8 asking ‘is the property affected by Japanese knotweed? The main changes focused around:
- Highlighting that information ought to be provided to a buyer if the seller is aware that there is a treatment plan in place
- Replacing “eradication” with “managing its regrowth”
- Adding an “unknown” response on the basis that knotweed can be difficult for a homeowner to detect
With regards to answering “unknown”, if the Seller is not absolutely certain that the weed is absent from affecting the property they are legally required to say so. This would invoke a state of caveat emptor and the buyer would need to undertake their own investigations if they wished to do so.
Selling a House with Japanese Knotweed
The Seller is asked the question ‘Is the property affected by Japanese knotweed?’, to which they must answer carefully for the following reasons:
- They are advised that ‘the plant consists of visible above-ground growth and an invisible rhizome (root) below ground in the soil’.
- They are advised that ‘It can take several years to control and manage through a management and treatment plan and rhizomes may remain alive below the soil even after treatment’.
In answering they have three answers to choose from:
- ‘Not Known’, if unsure that knotweed exists above or below ground or whether it has previously been managed on the property’.
- ‘No’, only if certain that no rhizome (root) is present in the ground of the property, or within 3 meters of the property boundary even if there are no visible signs above ground.
- ‘Yes’, when they are aware of the presence of knotweed affecting the property. Here they are prompted to provide copies to the buyer of any knotweed management plan and evidence of insurance cover relating to the plan.
Japanese Knotweed Risk
The update of the TA6 makes clearer the risk and costs of having Japanese knotweed affecting a property. That it could cause damage to the property if left untreated and detailing the difficulty in effectively treating knotweed.
Works to treat knotweed should be carried out by a reputable contractor who can provide a Japanese knotweed management plan. They can provide reassurance to mortgage lenders who may be concerned about the impact of Japanese knotweed on the value of the property. The contractor should be able to indemnify the works through provision of an insurance-backed guarantee.
Further updates regarding Japanese knotweed
The Law Society said: “We have reviewed and revised the Japanese knotweed question in the TA6 form and explanatory notes on an interim basis. We will review it again once the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has completed its own research into the treatment of Japanese knotweed in the conveyancing process in other jurisdictions.”
Trust in Japanese Knotweed Ltd, the UK’s Experts
Any conveyancing solicitor, estate agent, buyer or seller will know the presence of Japanese knotweed can impede property sales. Additionally, if a seller has lied about Japanese knotweed on the property, it can lead to a misrepresentation claim. The buyer can then claim against the seller for diminution and any damage caused to the property, prior to when the new owner took possession.
If you’re a homeowner and think you may have knotweed on your property, or you’ve bought a property that could be affected, we’re here to help.
We are the UK’s largest dedicated Japanese knotweed and other invasive species treatment and removal company with PCA accreditation. We offer a range of services to both residential and commercial clients including:
- Free, fast knotweed Identification
- Free knotweed surveys*
- Assistance with legal knotweed claims*
- Knotweed Management Plans for homeowners and purchasers
- Herbicide Treatment Programme with Insurance Backed Guarantee
- Excavation with Insurance Backed Guarantee
*surveys on mainland England, Wales and Scotland are free, however if we find the property not to be affected by Japanese knotweed there is a charge of £140 +VAT and an accompanying findings verification report.