New build buyers left exposed to Japanese knotweed risk

Buyers of new homes are being left exposed to the risk of Japanese knotweed as housebuilders are not required to complete the standard TA6 Law Society Property Information form as part of the conveyancing process.

Japanese knotweed removal firm Environet has dealt with several cases so far this year where the invasive plant has been found growing on a new build properties, where the developer is reluctant to accept any responsibility for it. It is important that anyone who has concerns that Japanese knotweed has spread to their property know what to do next. Search Japanese Knotweed UK to find out a range of information.

The TA6 form, completed by sellers, contains a direct question about Japanese knotweed, asking whether they are aware of the property having been affected by the plant, which is number one on the Environment Agency’s list of the UK’s most invasive plant species.

Housebuilders do not usually complete a TA6 form as many of the questions, concerning building alterations for example, are not relevant, while others concerning warranties and guarantees would be provided separately by the developer and covered under the standard NHBC guarantee for new build homes.

However, it is in the buyer’s interests to establish if the land was treated for knotweed prior to or during construction works, particularly as developers often clear large brownfield sites where Japanese knotweed can be rife and well established. Unless their solicitor asks about Japanese knotweed as part of their additional enquiries, it is quite possible that the buyer will not know that Japanese knotweed was present on the site and will therefore be unable to check that a professional treatment plan was implemented and the appropriate guarantees secured.

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