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Don’t get caught in the Japanese Knotweed roots!

A photo of Lauren Payne
7th March 2023

Japanese Knotweed is a fast-growing and strong perennial with bamboo-like stems which shoot up to over 7ft. This can cause damage to buildings by targeting weak points. Japanese Knotweed is therefore a big concern for home buyers and sellers. All landowners are legally responsible for controlling and removing Japanese Knotweed from their property in order to prevent its spread.

Following the recent case of Henderson vs Downing it has shown how sellers need to be very careful in answering question 7.8 of the Property Information Form - “Is the property affected by Japanese Knotweed”. If No is chosen as an answer, the seller must be certain that no rhizome (root) is present in the ground of the property, or within 3 metres of the property boundary. The safest option is therefore to answer the question with “not known” if you have no knowledge.

In this particular case the seller, Mr Henderson, ticked the “no” box. Japanese Knotweed was then found in the garden of the property by the new owner, Mr Downing, who subsequently sued Mr Henderson, demanding he pay damages for misrepresentation. The seller, Mr Henderson was required to pay court fees and damages of over £200000.

Sellers should therefore be cautious with their response to the question of Japanese Knotweed in the Property Information Form.

For more information about selling your property in Leamington Spa, Hinckley and Stoney Stanton, please contact us.