Knot on your life: buyers say no to Japanese knotweed-infested homes
There are many things that can put people off buying an otherwise attractive property — and it turns out that the challenging problem of Japanese knotweed is high up on the list.
That’s according to new research by YouGov for Japanese knotweed specialists Environet, a leader in eradicating the weed from private and commercial premises all over Britain. It found that almost eight in ten prospective property-buyers (78% of those who took part in the survey) would not go ahead with a purchase if Japanese knotweed was on the property.
Not only that, but the research unearthed a “high level of anxiety” and “alarming levels of myth and misinformation” about the non-native species brought into the UK in the 1840s as an ornamental species. That will most likely be down to ongoing media coverage of the plant’s astonishing growth on a site and the potential to overwhelm it and even cause structural damage.
Japanese knotweed concerns
The YouGov survey, carried out in May and involving 2,102 British adults, found that the biggest concern among people who might otherwise buy a property was that it might not be possible to get rid of Japanese knotweed growing in a garden. That fear was expressed by 69% of respondents, while 56% said they thought it might be too expensive to deal with the problem, such as by calling in Japanese knotweed specialists to eradicate it for good.
For others (57%), there was the view that, costs aside, it would be too time-consuming to devote their efforts to trying to get rid of Japanese knotweed on a property they had just purchased and that it was just not worth the effort. The plant can be incredibly hard to eradicate from a site, if people are trying to do it themselves. Even if it is cut right down, the large network of roots will quickly start growing new shoots and the infestation continues.
The research discovered that while most people (75%) knew about Japanese knotweed and the risks it poses to properties, less than half (49%) knew they were legally obliged to prevent it from spreading to a neighbouring site, as well as properly disposing of contaminated soil.
Calling in the Japanese knotweed specialists
Modern methods of dealing with Japanese knotweed, developed through years of research and development, are able to eradicate the tough plant. This is done through herbicidal treatments or a dig-out process that Environet has created, removing the plant’s root system and putting the soil back in place, rather than disposing of it.
Equally importantly, firms like Environet UK provide homeowners and businesses with an insurance-backed guarantee that not only satisfies them, but also finance firms such as mortgage providers. The guarantee starts at five years and can be extended by another five or upgraded to ten from the outset, giving you complete peace of mind.
Chartered surveyor Philip Santo, a director at Philip Santo & Co, says that now that Japanese knotweed specialists were able to properly deal with the scourge, there was no cause for alarm or putting off the purchase of a property. He warned, however, that people should trust the experts to get it done and not try to eradicate the weed from a site themselves.
“RICS shares concerns that many people believe Japanese knotweed poses a much greater risk than it really does. Since RICS issued guidance in 2012 the situation for buyers and sellers has greatly improved,” he said. “For most affected properties there is now access to mortgage finance once an approved Japanese Knotweed Management Plan is in place. DIY remedies can make matters worse and should not be attempted.”