Richard Broadhead, Head of Residential Property at Thompson Smith and Puxon, shares a timely reminder for property buyers and sellers following costly court case.

What is Japanese Knotweed?

Japanese Knotweed (or Polygonum Reynoutria) is the plant that all homeowners dread finding on their property. The plant is incredibly fast-growing, and it is known to cause serious damage to building structures and land. Especially if it gets into the foundations, drains or any cracks in a property.

Downing v Henderson (2023)

In the recent case of Downing v Henderson (2023), Mr Downing purchased a £700,000 property from Mr Henderson. On the property information form (TA6) it was stated that the property WAS NOT affected by Japanese Knotweed. However, once Mr Downing moved into the property, it was clear that the property’s garden was affected. Mr Henderson claimed not to be aware of the plant. However, during the court case evidence was produced to show that the property had been treated in the past. Mr Henderson was ordered to pay damages and a legal bill of £200,000. This case illustrates how important it is to disclose accurate information.

Buying or Selling a Property with Japanese Knotweed

Homebuyers viewing properties during the winter months should be extra watchful for signs of the invasive plant. Japanese Knotweed dies in late autumn and becomes harder to see.

When it comes to selling a property that is affected by Japanese Knotweed, it is highly likely that problems will arise. Sellers must disclose any known issues, which would include the presence of the plant. Prospective buyers could be put-off, but they also may not be able to secure a mortgage or insurance against the property which could see a transaction fall through.

Japanese Knotweed can be treated and removed, but this must be done by professionals. It is advisable to also instruct a surveyor to determine the existing or potential damage to the home. Treatment and monitoring could take several years, so unfortunately there is no quick fix.

Contact Us

For further information please contact the Thompson Smith and Puxon residential property team on 01206 217070 or email movinghome@tsplegal.com.