Property damage and cost of moving are top concerns – Reading Today Online
IT IS A threat and Reading is a hot spot for it – but thankfully people are becoming more and more aware of its problems.
Japanese knotweed is a plant that spreads via a strong root system and can damage driveways, patios, drains and walls and cause legal disputes between neighbors when it encroaches on boundaries.
New research shows awareness in the Southeast is now at 83%, 5% higher than five years ago, as homeowners face the issue when buying and selling a property.
YouGov for Environet UK found that around 7% of homes in the region are now affected by knotweed, with Environet’s Japanese knotweed heatmap Exposed showing the Ding as one of the towns where it is the biggest problem.
Earlier this year, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) relaxed its guidelines to encourage herbicide-based methods of Japanese knotweed control, which aim to control the plant rather than eradicate it, but research shows buyers would be much less comfortable buying. a property where there is a good chance that the plant is still present and dormant.
This is likely to affect their willingness to buy the property and the price they are willing to pay.
According to the survey of more than 2,000 people, 63% of respondents in the Southeast would be uncomfortable buying a property that had been treated with herbicides for a knotweed infestation, compared to 29% of people who would be uncomfortable buying property with knotweed where the plant had been excavated from the ground.
Herbicide treatments can only be done during the growing season, from May to September, and can take two to three years. The root system remains in the soil and can be induced to regrow if disturbed, for example by landscaping or construction work.
Knotweed excavation can be done at any time of the year and is the most effective way to treat the problem, removing the rhizome from the ground with immediate results.
Although there is often a “knotweed stigma” which affects the attractiveness of properties affected by the invasive plant, as long as an infestation is professionally dealt with with an insurance guarantee, mortgages can be secured and sales can continue.
If knotweed was discovered after moving into a property, more than three-quarters (78%) of people in the Southeast would be affected, with the main reasons being damage to property and gardens (selected by 81% of respondents), cost processing/moving (80%), resale problems in the future (68%) and potential impact on the value of the property (67%). Less than half (47%) chose the risk of the plant spreading to the neighboring property as their concern, despite the fact that the expense of legal encroachment claims can dwarf all other costs.
Worryingly, 22% of people said they wouldn’t be concerned about finding knotweed on a property after buying it because they believe they can deal with the problem themselves. Knotweed’s extensive underground root system makes it notoriously difficult to remove and it can regrow from a tiny fragment left in the ground, which is why mortgage lenders insist on obtaining proof of professional removal and guarantees for work before offering a loan on an affected property. .
Nic Seal, Founder and Managing Director of Environet, said, “Awareness of Japanese knotweed and the problems it can cause is growing in the Southeast, making it easier for people to identify the problem, to deal with it effectively and to protect against legal claims arising when the plant spreads.
“If you discover knotweed, the best way to preserve the value of your property is to professionally dig out the infestation, obtain a 10-year insurance guarantee, and be honest and upfront with potential buyers when you come. sale.”