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Japenese Knotweed
At MG Legal, our team of solicitors in Preston have been flooded with reports on how 2019 saw England’s wettest autumn on record. The Environment Agency advise that some areas, in fact, experienced up to double their average monthly rainfall during this time. It is, therefore, no doubt that there are to be serious consequences. 
 
Increased precipitation, of course, has resulted in increased flooding in many areas. The concern of our solicitors in Preston, however, is what follows. Flooding can have devastating effects, particularly in respect of damage to our homes but, with recent weather wonders, may be leading to further destruction. 
 
Flood water brings about not only a risk of surface disruption, but a great risk taking anything that stands in its way in its stride. This can lead to the spreading of invasive plants, such as Japanese Knotweed. See our blog on the woeful weed to discover the staggering affects the plant can have, by following this link, here
The strong forces of water should not be underestimated. As the risk of flooding continues to grow, so does the risk of these hostile plants being carried away and settling in new locations. It is not only knotweed we are to look out for, there are a variety of parasitic plants that we need to keep our eyes peeled for, such as Himalayan Balsam and Giant Hogweed, no, our team have not sat a term at Hogwarts, this really is their name. 
 
Once settled, these peculiar plants can rapidly spread and have seriously damaging consequences. New infestations are nothing less than problematic, however, if they are dealt with and recognised early, there is hope. Property owners near watercourses should take particular care in assessing any new growth at their property. 
 
As property solicitors, whilst we are not environmental specialists, our team are no stranger to the potential issues that affected homes may face and, where unrecognised, may be fatal to your sale or purchase transaction. Japanese knotweed is notorious for its rapid growth and roots that can spread up to three metres long, and the problems do not stop there. The speedy growth often results in the plant uprooting and causing damage to buildings and their features, inclusive of drainage structures which can also face damage. As you can see, Japanese knotweed is not simply a pesky weed, but can have significant affects. 
 
According to experts, infestations may start ‘cropping up’ as soon as spring as a result of the recent bad weather. At MG Legal, our team have, therefore, comprised a list of top tips to consider when buying or selling a property that has the potential for Japanese knotweed involvement: 
 
Top Tips When Selling: 
 
- Check your Property: Think of the potential for new shooting plants like grey hairs, we know that this would certainly be one method our conveyancing solicitors would be encouraged to use! Physically inspecting and assessing the property may just be the answer, particularly if you notice fresh and unfamiliar roots forming. The same can then be quickly actioned and eradicated. 
 
- Honesty is the Best Policy: In the event that you believe your property is at risk, you should be 100% honest with any potential buyers from the outset. This is to protect you from any potential claims for misrepresentation in the future. If for example, you were aware of a risk and did not disclose the same to the buyer, and this was then revealed at a later date, this may have had a significant effect on the property value, and whether a potential mortgage lender would agree to lend funds to a buyer. As you can see, the impacts can be huge, therefore, to avoid any form of recourse on you, as the seller, always be honest. Our team understand that no seller wants to put potential buyers off, however, this leads us to our next top tip; 
 
- Remedial Works: Whilst this could lead to increased costs for you, having the required works carried out would rid the infestation. This would, in the long run, be much more beneficial and would mean that the property value would not be decreased on this basis, nor would there be a need for potential buyers to be disheartened by the issue. 
 
Top Tips When Purchasing: 
 
- Inspection: The term ‘buyer beware’ springs to mind and, if on a physical inspection the presence of Japanese knotweed is noted, this shouldn’t be the only thing that springs to mind. A property purchase is, more than likely, one of the biggest purchases you will make in your lifetime, therefore, our team would advise at least viewing and inspecting the property more than once to ensure you are happy. 
 
- Survey: At MG Legal, our conveyancing solicitors would always recommend having a survey carried out to ensure the integrity of the property you intend to purchase. Having a survey carried out would also reveal any potential for Japanese knotweed which could then be resolved before the matter progresses. 
 
- Consult your Conveyancing Solicitor: If you are purchasing a property that is located near to a watercourse, always take the advice of your property solicitors in Preston whom can raise the necessary enquiries with the seller’s solicitor to determine whether there are any invasive plants present. In addition, our team carry out a searches bundle on your behalf, which would provide additional information in this respect. See our blog on the importance of conveyancing searches and their role within your conveyance, by following this link
 
- Any Remedial Works: If you are purchasing a property and are aware that there is a risk of knotweed present, you should always request evidence that the same has been treated appropriately. In addition, your conveyancing solicitor would be requesting some form of guarantee as confirmation that the risk has now been eradicated. This would, in addition, be a requirement of most mortgage lenders. Your conveyancing solicitor has a duty not only to you, as the client, but to your mortgage lender. It is, therefore, the job of our solicitors in Preston to ensure that both parties are adequately protected. 
 
If you are concerned that the property you own, or are interested in, may be at risk of Japanese knotweed, or a similar infestation, always consult the advice of your conveyancing solicitors. Get in touch with our team today at enquiries@mglegal.co.uk with any conveyancing queries you may have, where we will be happy to assist. 
 
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