Those selling their properties who do not know whether there is an issue of Japanese Knotweed at the property will now have to declare this, after the Law Society updated the TA6 Property Information Form sellers complete when selling a property.
Currently, those selling a property have to select either ‘yes’ or ‘no’ if they know Japanese Knotweed exists at the property. Now, if sellers are not sure, instead of selected ‘No’ the will be required to select ‘Don’t Know’.
The TA6 is used so that the seller can give important information about the property to the prospective buyer. The Law Society says the revised TA6 was released in response to recommendations from the House of Commons Select Committee on Japanese Knotweed.
The form will also place a new onus on buyers to make their own enquiries into whether a property is affected.
What is Japanese Knotweed?
Japanese Knotweed is a plant that grows quickly, and can significant work and cash to remove if it is left unchecked.
You could face a fine or even a jail sentence if you remove it, but do not dispose of it properly, causing it to spread. It could even see you landed with an ASBO.
A change in the law in 2018 means that homeowners can sue their neighbours for damages if Japanese Knotweed grows onto their land.
In a landmark court ruling neighbours Stephen Williams & Robin Waistell were each awarded £15,000 last year after knotweed spread from Network Rail land onto their gardens. Read more
Why can it be dangerous?
Japanese Knotweed is extremely invasive. It can grow through concrete and tarmac and can have deep roots going down as far as four metres and spreading as wide as seven at a rate of up to a metre a month.
It can cause structural damage to buildings and paths, cause walls to collapse, with roots that can crack or block underground drains and affect patios, driveways and paving.
What should landlords do about it?
It’s important for landlords to stay vigilant regarding this issue. Carry out regular inspections of your rental homes to identify any potential issues. If you are buying a property to rent out factor in the cost of tackling the Japanese Knotweed problem, which can run to several thousands of pounds, even for a modest property. Treatments include chemical spraying and excavation. Read more about how to deal with this issues in an article first published in our members’ magazine, Residential Property Investor.