Why chucking the weeds from your garden could end up costing you alot of money!

Tim Hollingsworth
“Tim Hollingsworth, managing director of estate agency and surveying firm Rumball Sedgwick, explains how illegal Japanese Knotweed in your garden can cost thousands unless you get a professional survey.

You may have read that this year, the dreaded Japanese Knotweed was even found in the grounds of the Chelsea Flower Show!

And more positively, that help may soon be on the way in the guise of genetically modified funguses and insects, which will happily eat Japanese Knotweed all day, and may enable us to finally remove this menace from the British Isles altogether. Sadly however, these solutions are still some years away, so in the meantime, we all have to take precautions against this highly pernicious and destructive plant.

When the great Victorian explorers brought back Japanese Knotweed to our shores, they thought it would look really pretty on their lawns. Little did they know that when it’s in season, the weed grows several inches a day and if not destroyed, will grow through concrete and brickwork, with devastating results to your property.

Why worry, you may ask? All I need to do is chop it down and dump it in my wheelie bin.

Unfortunately, that won’t help much. Not only will the weed grow back faster and stronger than ever, but it is actually illegal to dispose of the stuff on your own, and if you have poisoned the water course with weed killer, this can carry a hefty fine.

As a surveyor, I often spot Japanese Knotweed in gardens, on scrub land or by the side of the road and can advise you on how to get it professionally removed.

This isn’t just about getting rid of an unwanted intruder that is taking over your patio; it might also not help you get a mortgage. You see, whenever I am asked to survey a property with Japanese Knotweed for mortgage purposes, I usually see the words DO NOT TOUCH written in red ink all over the notes from the prospective lender. Generally, banks and building societies won’t touch the stuff with a long handled hoe, because it is so destructive.

During one recent survey, we recognised a single stem peeking through a paving slab at the back of a property, even after the vendor had tried (illegally) to get rid of it. Fortunately for the buyer, we highlighted this in our survey and he was able to negotiate a significant reduction in the asking price, which more than covered the cost of the removal. Just as importantly, once the weed was gone, he got his mortgage.

Remember, if you are buying a property, it always pays to know what you are letting yourself in for, so you aren’t led up the garden path by a vendor. This is why a survey from a fully qualified Chartered Surveyor is so important – and it could save you a great deal of money. ”


If you have any queries about property surveys, please contact Tim Hollingsworth or any member of the Rumball Sedgwick team on 01923 200096 or tim@rumballsedgwick.co.uk

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