Trading as Powell Eddison Solicitors 
Trading as Avery Walters Ellis Solicitors 
A furniture designer has successfully sued the person he brought a house off after he found Japanese knotweed behind his shed. The seller faces a £200,000 court bill after he denied the plant was growing in the garden. The seller had said ‘no’ on the PA6 property information form when it asked if the property had been affected by knotweed. The presence of Knotweed can have a detrimental effect on the value of a property when you come to sell. 
What is Japanese knotweed? 
With red stems and deep green leaves it is a pretty looking plant but do not be fooled! Japanese knotweed is an invasive plant that spreads very rapidly and can grow at a ridiculous rate of up to 10cm per day between April and October. It can cause serious damage to the infrastructure of properties ruining house sales and causing headache across the county. This nightmare plant is able to sprout from very small sections of rhizomes growing through concrete and tarmac. It is near impossible to get rid of and can take several years to eradicate. 
Are you selling a property? 
As a seller it is your responsibility to check for Japanese knotweed in the garden. It starts growing from early spring and can reach 1.5m by May and 3m by June, before dying back between September and November. 
The seller is required to state whether Japanese knotweed is present on their property. If Japanese knotweed is present the seller will need to provide a management plan for its eradication from a professional company. 
The TA6 form is completed by the seller to supply the detailed information and documents which may be relied upon for the conveyancing process. The form specifically asks, "Is the Property affected by Japanese knotweed?" "If Yes, please state whether there is a Japanese knotweed management plan in place and supply a copy". 
Are you buying a property? 
If you are buying a property, whether or not Japanese knotweed is present in the property will be stated in the responses from the seller on the TA6 form. If it transpires that it is present on the property you intend on purchasing the mortgage lender will require assurance that it will be eradicated. They will also require a management plan from a professional eradication company before completion as well as a transferable guarantee before they go ahead and agree funds. 
What action to take: 
Failing to disclosure its presence, disputes over the identity of a plant or lack of management plans will very often result in unnecessary delays, increased costs later down the line or even misrepresentation claims after completion. It is best practice to ensure you are proactive and check the property for Japanese knotweed whether you are purchasing or selling as this approach will help avoid potential problems later down the line. 
If you are looking to purchase your next home and are looking for residential conveyancing lawyers, then contact us on 01423 564551 or email us at info@powell-eddison.co.uk to arrange your free initial, no-obligation consultation with a specialist. 
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