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A weed on the window of a building, which is trailing and has spread.
When purchasing a property, our solicitors in Lancaster are on hand to guide you through the process smoothly. This includes considering all of the finer details, ensuring that your conveyance is progressed with ease. Our fully qualified solicitors have a breadth of knowledge and expertise, and know what to look out for, from title defects to Japanese Knotweed. 

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As recently as this week, making the news in Wales, Essex, Leicestershire and Staffordshire, Japanese Knotweed is a form of invasive plant, which can be tall, and fast-growing. Its rapid growth is where homeowners can be caught off guard, and struggling to deal with the effects, as eradication is not always instantaneous, and can require intensive treatment. As a result, homes and buildings can be left with structural damage, where the plant has overgrown, and gone unnoticed, until it is too late. 
This then leaving homeowners with the task of eradicating the same, which can be costly. This is because treatment can require ongoing action and monitoring, to ensure the issue does not return. This can also impact the value of the property as, given the potential severity thereof, prospective purchasers, and their mortgage lenders, may not wish to acquire such properties, due to the risks involved. 

What can you do to avoid buying a property with Japanese Knotweed? 

When purchasing a property, you should instruct a local solicitor near you, who will have knowledge of the area. Our expert team have offices across Lancashire, with offices, in Preston, Longridge, Lancaster, LA1, and Lytham, on the Fylde Coast, and have a broad knowledge of the matters affecting these areas. Our team also know which direction to point you in, in the event of Knotweed being a potential problem. 
To ensure that our valued clients are not faced with the same issues, our solicitors have the knowledge and expertise to bring these matters to your attention, in order that you may take the best course of action. This will, of course, be dependent on the severity, area and type of issues being suffered, however, can include: 
Specialist Survey: The expertise of our solicitors in Lancaster relates to the title to the property, and matters revealed within our investigations; our team have the know-how in spotting the warning signs, that may indicate the presence of such plant. This can allow you to present to your surveyor, and request that a specialist survey be undertaken, to specifically highlight any such issues, and how they may, or indeed may not, be impacting your property. 
Environment agency: The goal of the Environment Agency is to protect and preserve the environment. In instances where you suspect Japanese Knotweed may be present, you can contact them, at, for assistance. The Environment Agency can provide specific guidance on handling the plant, how to dispose of the same, and other such concerns. 
Searches: As part of our 5* star service, our local conveyancing solicitors conduct a bundle of searches on your behalf. These searches include local authority, and environmental searches which can assist in identifying whether any such risks are present, and whether any specific designations have been made by the local council, to note the presence of Knotweed. 
Local Planning Authority: Our local solicitors would also look to any planning documentation that may be available, as this would give an indication as to any site assessment that has been undertaken, and any associated remediation strategy being formed. This is a common requirement when dealing with new build properties, as the local planning authority can impose conditions of planning permission, that must be adhered to, to reduce any such risks. Where such risks are indicated, a remediation strategy can be formed, which involves the treatment of the plant, and ongoing monitoring thereof, to ensure the issue is dealt with correctly.  
Planning documentation may not be of assistance with older properties, as there may have been no reason for the local authority to review the status of the land, and identify any such risks. This occurred in a recent case, where a homeowner in Wales was awarded damages following Japanese Knotweed being present. The Knotweed was found to have originated on a railway, with the growth causing severe impacts, including intrusion to property, and damage to the path of a local graveyard. It was heard that Transport for Wales failed to remediate the issue, which resulted in the damage to the homeowners’ property, and reduction in property value. This, therefore, highlights the ongoing risks and considerations that should be made in respect of Knotweed. 

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What is being done? 

Such risks have been recognised by the Law Society, and have resulted in updates to their Prescribed Forms, specifically, the Property Information Form. The Form has been updated to provide a more in-depth explanation as to what the plant is, due to concerns that property sellers were noting the previous version, confirming there were no such issues present at the property. If found to be incorrect, this could leave the previous owner subject to potential misrepresentation claims. The update also now allows the homeowner to tick ‘not known’ as to whether their property is affected. In such instances, our property conveyancing solicitors near you would recommend further investigation, to confirm with a degree of certainty, whether there is an issue. 
If the Form is noted to confirm that the property is affected, the form also asks for a copy of any associated management plan in place, and supporting insurance cover, in order to assist eradication, and avoidance of losses being suffered. 
Although action is being taken, to ensure transparency on such risks when dealing with property, the matter should still be approached with caution. This is where our conveyancing solicitors can help; if you are purchasing a property, contact our local property experts today. Our solicitors in Lancaster are on hand to assist you, and all of your conveyancing needs, including being able to aid you in stopping Japanese Knotweed in its tracks. Get in touch with us today, here, for honest and friendly advice. 

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