Getting rid of Japanese knotweed: can you sell a house with knotweed next door?

Question: I live in a semi-detached house. My next-door neighbour was in the process of selling his property but the sale has stalled after the buyer spotted Japanese knotweed in the garden. 

I am worried that this might affect my ability to sell my house in the future and I was wondering, is there is anything I can do?

Answer: Japanese knotweed is a highly invasive plant that can cause significant structural damage to a building if left untreated.

You should ask a specialist to inspect your property as soon as possible to investigate whether there is any knotweed present. 

If there is, and the knotweed has spread from your neighbour’s property, you may be able to bring a claim in nuisance against them, provided the impact is substantial. 

If proved, the neighbour would be responsible for financing the removal of the knotweed and making good any damage caused by it. 

If you have a mortgage on the property your lender should be informed of any suspected knotweed present. 

The lender will want to ensure the infestation is eradicated as quickly as possible so as not to adversely impact their investment. 

Japanese knotweed can be effectively treated and there are a number of plans, with associated guarantees, that lenders will accept in order to proceed with financing a purchase.

These answers can only be a very brief commentary on the issues raised and should not be relied on as legal advice. No liability is accepted for such reliance. If you have similar issues, you should obtain advice from a solicitor.

If you have a question for Piers King, email legalsolutions@standard.co.uk or write to Legal Solutions, Homes & Property, Evening Standard, 2 Derry Street, W8 5EE. Questions cannot be answered individually, but we will try to feature them here.

Piers King is a solicitor in the property department of Streathers Solicitors LLP.



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