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Japanese Knotweed - would you buy a house with this problem?

(93 Posts)
vez123 Tue 20-Mar-12 20:34:28

Have seen a lovely house within in our budget in perfect location near good school, quiet road, great size. But one major problem: Japanese Knotweed! The vendor is aware and is putting a legally binding (for them) treatment plan in place. I am aware that this issue could have an impact on home insurance and getting a mortgage. Are we crazy to even consider the place? So far we have not put forward an offer, just researching the issue. Has anyone got any experience with this?


laptopcomputer Tue 20-Mar-12 22:03:29

God no. Just don't do it

fossil97 Tue 20-Mar-12 22:21:04

I only say because we rented a house that I think had it at the end of the garden, was much younger and less clued up then. It can hang around where there are derelict sites or on old bomb sites.

Bibbity don't panic, you would know if you had it, very distinctive stemmy shrub with leaves a bit like lilac on red speckled stems. Grows to above person height and spreads quickly.


HintofBream Wed 21-Mar-12 07:10:47

Ves, I'm wondering if this could be the house in SE London on which my son had an offer accepted, but when the surveyor noted the JKW, the mortgage company withdrew the offer. He tried to find an alternative but was emphatically told that no one would consider it. Frustrating and expensive.

LottieJenkins Wed 21-Mar-12 07:15:12

Someone was on Radio 2 talking to Jeremy Vine about JKW recently. They had the most horrendous time. Apparently you cant ever totally get rid of it! They had someone on who deals with it and they didnt have a good word to say about it!!

herhonesty Wed 21-Mar-12 07:20:12

House will be uninsurable so walk away unless you are mad.

Rhubarbgarden Wed 21-Mar-12 08:58:16

It wouldn't phase me. But I'm a qualified horticulturist and I know how to deal with it. You just have to keep applying glyphosate religiously; eventually it gives up.

RoxyRobin Wed 21-Mar-12 08:58:40

No I wouldn't. I feel really sorry for homeowners who discover this problem on their property, not least because they will find it almost impossible to sell. The vendors will be rejoicing for the rest of their lives if you buy their house. You, on the other hand, will not. Why make life difficult for yourself?

HintofBream Wed 21-Mar-12 09:20:37

You are no doubt right, Rhubarb, about it being possible to get rid of it from your own garden. The problem my son had was that though there was none in the property he wanted to buy, the surveyor looked over all the boundary fences and spotted it on adjoining land. Apparently they are all now under instructions to do this, and it resulted in the mortgage being refused.

I felt sorry not only for the vendor being stuck with a virtually unsaleable house, but for the blissful ignorance of the neighbours, liable to be shattered when they too try to sell.

libelulle Wed 21-Mar-12 09:26:28

herhonesty, that isn't true. Our house is perfectly insurable. I think it's telling that the qualified horticulturalists on this thread are the ones saying that it wouldn't phase them!

blackteaplease Wed 21-Mar-12 09:28:07

But if you have it on an adjoining property you could install a root barrier around your boundary to stop the spread of it into your garden. It wouldn't make a property unsellable.

I agree with Rhubarb, it is treatable with Glysophate but as far as I know sucessful treatment can take up to three years and you will have to take precautions with moving any contaminated soil as it is officially a controlled waste.

HintofBream Wed 21-Mar-12 09:38:36

Libelulle, as you say, yours did not come up in the survey, and presumably your insurers know nothing about it either. The issue is not whether it is a serious but treatable problem, but that regardless of the possibility of eventually eradicating it, mortgage lenders simply won't lend.

libelulle Wed 21-Mar-12 09:46:49

that's true hintofbream that many mortgage cos are running scared, and that will be true issue for OP if she decides to go ahead - but insurance is a different question, and unless the kn has grown unchecked for decades, the house itself is not at risk if it is not a new build. I am not trying to claim kn is not a big issue, I just think there is quite a lot of ill-informed scaremongering on this thread that is not helpful. OP if I were you, I'd get specific advice from knowledgeable experts about this particular house - without knowing the extent of the infestation, there is no way of knowing how much of a problem it is likely to be, even for the mortgage company.

worldgonecrazy Wed 21-Mar-12 09:49:31

A friend's husband worked on a building site of a large hospital and JKW was discovered. All of the soil was dug out to a depth of 6 feet and treated as hazardous waste. I'm interested to know if this is just a JKW hysteria, given Rhubarb's comments, or whether it really is that nasty?

blackteaplease Wed 21-Mar-12 09:59:10

Worldgonecrazy - that is one of the treatment options available and generally what happens on a large scale construction site. They take this approach for several reason 1. in order to avoid spreading with machinery while building. 2. It is quicker than treating it with glysophate over several years.

Another alternative taken by construction companies is to bury it deep underground and cover with with a protective membrane. If you remove the soil from site then yes it is a hazardous waste. But if you aren't planning on re-landscaping your entire garden there is no need to take this approach.

HintofBream Wed 21-Mar-12 10:15:50

Libelulle, your advice to get advice from experts familiar with the property is very sensible. Also worth asking agents if there have been any offers which have been withdrawn, and if so was it because of the JKW and mortgage problems?

ChuffMuffin Wed 21-Mar-12 10:23:02

NO! It grows 10cm a day! Run like bloody hell. I think you even need council permission to burn the flippin' thing.

blackteaplease Wed 21-Mar-12 10:24:10

Just found this from a quick google. If the sellers have a treatment plan in place have they already had experts in, can you aske to see their findings? sorry can't do links properly

Peetle Wed 21-Mar-12 10:34:35

It can be dealt with but I'd avoid it like the plague. After all, when you come to sell the place anyone doing a search will find out that you have had a problem with it and that will put people off, regardless of whether you've fixed it or not.

Or you could offer them 30% (or more) under the asking price. In this market they'll be glad of any buyer.

Rhubarbgarden Wed 21-Mar-12 11:52:46

Blacktea is correct - it's quicker and easier for construction companies to take that approach. They already have the heavy equipment on site anyway.

But Hintofbream has a good point about adjoining land. I wouldn't buy a house with a garden backing onto a railway line that was infested, for example, because you would be acting like King Canute against the tide.

A lot depends on how bad the infestation is.

minipie Wed 21-Mar-12 12:03:16

I think it depends on how bad it is and how much you can get off the price. And whether you couldn't afford to live in that great location otherwise.

My parents had a small outbreak of JKW in their garden. My mum got rid of it, basically by painstakingly painting each leaf of each plant with concentrated Roundup for many many weeks, and also directing each tendril to grow into a jar of Roundup. However, this is seriously toxic so not a suitable approach if you have small DCs.

Peetle searches will only find out you've had it if it's registered with the council or some other authority.

Monica145 Wed 21-Mar-12 19:41:43

No, no, no

herhonesty Wed 21-Mar-12 22:38:23

Well I work in bleeding insurance and some insurers will not insure you if you have jkn. If it's come up in a survey, it's a problem. I would advise against buying a house where you may have insure via a limited pool of insurers.

echt Thu 22-Mar-12 06:15:46

You can eat it. <helpful emoticon>

uggmum Thu 22-Mar-12 06:38:41

I remember an episode of 'homes under the hammer'. There was a house with jkw that was completely un-mortgageable. It had grown into the foundations and part of the house had to be demolished.

They were very negative about it and the buyer was told that he would probably not be able to sell it on as it would have to be cash buyers only and was also uninsurable.

uggmum Thu 22-Mar-12 06:40:19

Sorry. It also seriously undervalues the property so you need it reflected in the valuation. You could call your local council for advice as they have to monitor it on a regular basis.

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