The spring-autumn growing season for Japanese knotweed may be drawing to close but there has been plenty of news about the plant this month.
It hit the national headlines once again in September, with its presence causing a property value to be halved. Catch up on this and all the other stories.
Homeowner Discovers House Has Lost Half Its Value
The Daily Mail reported on Japanese knotweed taking over the back garden of a property on Carmarthen Road, Swansea, resulting in the house being valued at £45,000, much less than the £80,000 expected.
The story had an edge as the great niece of the elderly owner (Elizabeth Abraham) had been appointed power of attorney over her affairs and needed to sell the property to pay for Ms Abraham’s stay at a care home.
As well as the shock of the devaluation there was also the realisation that the problem could not be easily resolved as the knotweed emanated from neighbouring unregistered land. The home owner may therefore face an ongoing encroachment issue as there is no known neighbouring land owner to participate in a cross boundary treatment plan.
The only thing that can be done in these instances is to seek guidance and instruction from a specialist knotweed company.
Japanese Knotweed: The Scourge That Could Sink Your House Sale
The Guardian reported that the slightest trace of Japanese knotweed on your property – even on your street – is a reason to be refused a mortgages! The article focused on Peter Gingell, who was unable to sell his property because Japanese knotweed was growing in the garden.
Jonathan Harris, director of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, acknowledges that the problem of securing mortgages on properties affected by the plant has escalated in recent years.
However a working party, including lenders, surveyors and knotweed treatment companies produced an information paper (IP 27/2012) for the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) to clarify the property risk presented by knotweed. It has the backing of the Council of Mortgage Lenders and the Building Societies Association.
“It’s the first step towards proper guidance for the market,” says Philip Santo (RICS Chairman) “to make properties mortgageable again”.
The same working group helped establish the first and most highly regarded Trade Association for Japanese knotweed control companies; the Property Care Association’s (PCA), Invasive Weed Control Group (IWG).
These efforts have begun to install confidence with the UK’s major mortgage lenders to provide lending as long as:
- A survey has been conducted and the property risk identified
- A PCA IWG member contractor has implemented a Knotweed Management Plan
- A PCA IWG member contractor has provided an Insurance Backed Guarantee
Tackling Town’s Japanese Knotweed Problem
This was a brief story but one we like to hear about, with a Local Authority (Leeds City Council) looking to support its residents in the fight against Japanese knotweed.
Morley councillor Shirley Varley said “This is literally a growing problem. Japanese knotweed is a plant that, if not dealt with, can have a significant impact on buildings.” Councillors are to bring up the issue at a full meeting of Leeds City Council this month.
Accidental Spread Of Japanese Knotweed On The Arigna River?
A story from Ireland where it would appear that River dredging and channel improvement works have accidentally resulted in the spread of non-native invasive species on the River Arigna.
The articles photos show the impact of dredging works and dispersion of non-native invasive species.
Observers say that Japanese knotweed (Reynoutria japonica) has now aggressively taken hold all along this stretch and this River channel. Moreover, this stretch of River is now a major biosecurity threat to other areas, including downstream section of the River Arigna and Lough Allen.
The story highlights the importance of identifying and managing (treating) Japanese knotweed, especially ahead of any proposed ground works, to prevent an escalation of infestation such as this.
Half Of Brits Fail To Identify Japanese Knotweed
An interesting but not surprising story from ‘amateurgardening.com’ on the horticultural prowess of the general budding gardener.
A study saw 600 Brits given pictures of 10 plants and asked to say whether they were weeds or flowers.
Only half of people quizzed correctly said that invasive Japanese knotweed was unwelcome.
The most correctly identified weed was dandelion (92 per cent) with 57 per cent saying that troublesome ground elder was an unwanted invader.
Some of the UK’s most invasive weeds are often mistaken for harmless garden plants.
See Top Tips for more information on Japanese knotweed.