Senior figures from the Japanese knotweed remediation industry have called for greater transparency as the UK enters “epidemic” risk levels and property sellers, estate agents, advisors and insurers find themselves liable.
The invasive plant, whose rapid growth can destroy manmade and natural structures in its path, threatens billions of pounds’ worth of property transactions every year, and many professionals risk lawsuits as well as lost business.
Japanese Knotweed Control, one of the UK’s first specialist remediation companies and a founder member of INNSA, is leading a campaign to combat misinformation and introduce a higher level national standard for the management of the destructive weed.
David Layland, Managing Director, says, “Our communications campaign is ‘Gone But Not Forgotten’ because one of the biggest challenges, besides getting rid of the plant, is the misinformation and misconceptions.
“The biggest is the myth that once knotweed has been treated, the problem has gone. In reality, without a proper warranty, insurance and long-term remediation strategy, knotweed treatment can leave you just as much at risk as when you first spot the distinctive leaves.”
Two thirds of UK mortgage brokers report transactions negatively affected by Japanese knotweed, with many forced to withdraw mortgage applications because of its presence.
But, David adds, “If you have the right information and back-up from your knotweed professional, such as insurance and warranties, then you should have not only peace of mind but also the legal guarantee that solicitors and conveyancers are looking for to demonstrate the knotweed issue is under control.”