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Breaking ground on Japanese Knotweed

There’s good news in the horizon for landlords and property owners this year as the new regulation concerning Japanese Knotweed is changing. The new guidelines from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) have “abolished” the seven-metre rule for a more lenient approach.

The new advice, which will be put in place from March, will mean surveyors who are assessing a property for a lender, won’t need to flag Japanese knotweed as a risk unless it is causing visible damage to the property. Beforehand, a mortgage would not be offered to a buyer if Japanese knotweed was found within seven metres of the building.

Up until this year, surveyors were weary of the plant and strict boundaries were set for mortgage and selling purposes, with property owners having to drop up to 15% off the sale price, but after extensive research it has now been discovered that in fact Japanese Knotweed does not destroy buildings and will not damage foundations or brickwork.

Introduced into Britain by German physician/botanist Philip Von S Siebold in the 19th Century, Japanese knotweed was considered the fashionable plant of the 1850’s and 1860’s. High society clients and botanical gardens were fascinated by the beautiful white flowers and unusually big leaves, but little did they know that this unusual looking ornamental species from Japan would go on to cause so much heartache for property owners in the UK.

Capable of growing up to 10cm per day, the plants popularity soon withered away but by then it was too late, Japanese Knotweed, alike William the Conqueror had invaded and was here to stay.

For many years, the plant was given free rein to spread throughout the country before being recognised as invasive by the government in 1981 but alas the super spreader, had already taken over many areas, creating hotspots with Manchester and Nottingham being in the top ten infestation areas. Easily identified by the bamboo style branches, Japanese Knotweed has few predators and thrives in most conditions. Therefore, large invasions can often be discovered in overgrown back gardens, abandoned industrial sites and near canals and railways.

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