Japanese knotweed stops pensioner downsizing home in Essex

Up to 5% of the UK is affected by Japanese knotweed - Essex is no exception

Mrs. Patricia Dunlop, a pensioner, has lived in her country home in Chigwell, Essex for almost forty years.  Now as she and husband John enter their twilight years, she is looking to downsize to a village on the coast. Unfortunately, Japanese knotweed in their garden prevented them from selling - here's why.

 Japanese knotweed homeowner in Essex 

How Japanese knotweed stop you moving house

With so much talk about the existence of Japanese knotweed in the UK over the past few years, most people now understand how invasive it can be, not only to have the plant growing on your land but also the damage it can cause to walls, tarmac, floorboards, etc., - it is difficult to control and eradicate.

Sadly, once Japanese knotweed has been identified on your land, it can bring moving house to a grinding halt.   This is because mortgage lenders are reluctant to invest in land and property compromised by this non-native, invasive plant.

For Mrs Dunlop and her husband, this meant potential buyers would struggle to secure a mortgage on their property in Essex.  Not a good situation when you are in the market to sell!

Japanese knotweed will reduce your home's value

Unfortunately, turning away potential buyers isn't the only damage knotweed can do.  Due to its existence on your land, it can cause all sorts of problems with your mortgage. Namely, banks have a right to reduce the total value of your property.   In fact, banks can reduce your home's value by up to 20%! 

"We had no idea this [Japanese knotweed] could be such a problem," says Mrs Dunlop. "We thought we would lose around £200,000 on our house sale, so were grateful to be pointed in the right direction of seeking legal advice [from TCM Knotweed Removal].

Identifying Japanese knotweed

Though a known enemy to many homeowners from up and down the country, there are still those who own residential property and land who would not be able to identify this voracious plant.  This is a problem because the sooner you spot and treat it, the less of a problem it can become.

The plant's appearance changes throughout the year, so take a look at our Japanese knotweed identification page to familiarise yourself with the growing phases throughout the seasons, and the relevant photographs showing in detail how the plant looks during the seasons. 

  • In spring - new green and purple shoots sprout from the ground, looking rather like asparagus spears;
  • In the warmer months bright heart shaped leaves appear with tiny white flowers;
  • In the colder months the plant appears to be dead, with brown stalks that have mis-led many to believe it is gone for good, but this is not so.  The plant stores its energy below grown in its (up to) 3 metre deep roots, ready to re-grow in springtime. 

Treat Japanese knotweed, get compensation

Japanese knotweed can tie you in all sorts of knots. It can ruin your finances and stop you from moving forward. So what can you do about it? 

Here's what we suggest to our clients:

  1. Speak to a professional Japanese knotweed removal company like TCM Knotweed immediately, and book a site survey.
  2. We will determine the best possible treatment plan for your particular infestation, and put this in place. Whether it be treatment with herbicides, or by excavation method, we will guide you on the best solution for your property.
  3. Finally, contact a lawyer to see if you can get compensation. 

Across the UK, it is becoming more and more likely that homeowners will win significant compensation in the case of Japanese knotweed being present on their land.

Mrs Dunlop and her husband were awarded well for damages caused by this invasive plant at their home, and finally in March 2020 they were able to sell and move from Essex to the south coast. 

If you fear you may having Japanese knotweed lurking in your garden then don't delay, contact TCM Knotweed removal today. 

Date: January 19, 2021

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