Japanese knotweed in a neighbour’s garden?

Noisy neighbours, nosy neighbours, nagging neighbours = annoying neighbours. But knotweed and neighbours? This can take things to a whole new level! Read on to find out what to do about Japanese knotweed in neighbour’s gardens...

You’re trying to sell your house, the pressure is on but everything is going smoothly until... the valuation surveyor points to a plant in the neighbour’s garden and utters the words, ‘Japanese knotweed’. There are many variations on this scenario, from a garden-engulfing knotweed infestation that is trying to eat your fence, to a stem of knotweed so small that you wonder if the surveyor has bionic vision (‘Bionic’ - if you don’t know, ask your dad). The end result is the same whatever the starting point - no lending until resolved.

How do I get rid of Japanese Knotweed?

What does resolved mean in this context? Put simply, the prospective buyers’ lender will say no to the buyer until there is proof that the infestation has been surveyed by an invasive weed specialist with the right accreditations, a Knotweed Management Plan, or KMP, has been put in place, a contracted treatment programme agreed to ensure that effective Japanese knotweed control will take place and independent Insurance Backed Guarantee has been arranged. Many lenders will also want the Japanese knotweed treatment programme (as recommended in the KMP) to be funded in full from the outset using an Escrow account. Of course, there is a cost to all the above but, the cost of doing nothing can be a lot greater.

Is it not my neighbour’s responsibility?

But, you say, with Japanese knotweed in a neighbour’s garden, how do I get it treated? In fact why should I get it treated? It’s not in my garden - my neighbour should get all of this done and pay for it too. They should be the ones getting rid of Japanese knotweed - it’s not fair! Unfortunately, in many cases, the pressure on the seller is greater than the pressure on the neighbour, so sellers often end up paying. But, if you are prepared to get things moving quickly, and get your negotiating head on, the Japanese knotweed treatment costs can be shared and, in some cases, the neighbour will agree to pay the whole amount.

Well worth knowing

There is a responsibility on a land owner to prevent Japanese knotweed spreading onto other properties but there is no aspect of law that requires the physical removal of Japanese knotweed from an infested site. You may feel aggrieved by the situation, but physical Japanese knotweed removal is beyond the call of duty from a vendor’s standpoint.

A word of caution

There are aspects of law that deal with Japanese knotweed control which you may want to consider but be prepared for a long-winded and sometimes frustrating process which may not deliver the result you want. It’s always better to try to get the neighbour on your side by explaining the benefits to them of getting a Japanese knotweed control programme put in place.

If you are experiencing problems relating to Japanese knotweed on neighbouring land, we can help. Call PBA Solutions now on 0203 174 2187 for expert advice and to book a site survey.

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