Contact Us  >Coronavirus (COVID-19): Business as usual - we can still provide all our services while observing social distancing rules.

Japanese knotweed growing

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has published new guidance regarding Japanese knotweed and residential properties. The new 'Guidance Note' was published today and will come into effect on Wednesday 23rd March 2022 - that's eight weeks from now.

The Property Care Association has also published updated guidance for professional valuers and surveyors in light of the new RICS guidance.

 

What does the RICS Guidance Note say?

You can view the Guidance Note in full on the RICS website, but the key takeaway is that Japanese knotweed needn't be as severe a problem as it's often made out to be.

The Guidance Note effectively replaces an RICS Information Paper that was published back in 2012. We've learned a lot about Fallopia japonica over the last ten years, so the updated guidance is welcome and will hopefully provide reassurance in the face of many alarmist headlines.

According to studies cited in the new Guidance Note, Japanese knotweed...

  • "rarely causes structural damage to substantial buildings and dwellings"
  • "is not typically associated with major issues such as subsidence, heave or impact damage"
  • "poses less of a risk of damage to substantial buildings than many trees or woody shrubs"

 

Does this mean Japanese knotweed is nothing to worry about?

Not so fast. The RICS Guidance Note acknowledges that, as things stand, "the presence of Japanese knotweed may be a significant impediment to the sale and purchase of a property". While it's unlikely to cause significant damage to your house, Japanese knotweed can still have a negative effect on "both value and saleability".

The new guidance goes on to state:

"It is often the mere presence of the Japanese knotweed that is regarded as the problem, while any damaging effects are secondary."

Unfortunately, Japanese knotweed is a problem not so much because of its direct impact on one's property, but because of the stigma attached to it. Just as a painting is only valuable if the market agrees that it's valuable, Japanese knotweed is an issue mainly because the market agrees that it's an issue.

The RICS Guidance Note says that knotweed's impact on the UK property market "has become to a large extent self-perpetuating", not least because the media publishes a lot of scare stories using language that makes readers feel alarmed (phrases like 'highly aggressive' and 'trail of destruction' are common). As a result of this, homeowners typically find it quite difficult to sell properties that are - or once were - affected by Japanese knotweed.

The market's opinion of Japanese knotweed isn't going to change overnight, but the new RICS guidance may prove to be a step forward. Long-term knotweed control is now recommended over trying to eradicate the plant entirely; the 'zero-tolerance' approach is costly, disruptive, and in most cases, unnecessary. As the Guidance Note says:

"Consider Japanese knotweed in the context of other plants. Brambles can take over gardens if left uncontrolled, and gardeners well understand the difficulties of dealing with persistent invasive weeds such as bindweed. The concept of zero tolerance of weeds does not align with weed management generally, where the requirement is for regular maintenance rather than seeking permanent eradication."

That is why we at Taylor Total Weed Control recommend herbicide application and monitoring over removal. If you have knotweed on your property, please contact us for expert advice or have a look at our Japanese knotweed treatment plans to find out what your options are.

Request a FREE Japanese Knotweed Survey >

Photo from our own Japanese knotweed gallery

Contact Taylor Weed Control

Name *
E-mail address *
Location *
Telephone Number *
Your Message
 
Security Character Security Character Security Character Security Character Security Character Security Character
Enter Letters (No Spaces) *
Security Character Security Character Security Character Security Character Security Character Security Character