According to Liverpool-based Cobleys Solicitors, the problem of the invasive Japanese knot weed could cost home owners up to 10% of their home value.
The hot weather of the past Easter Weekend could help accelerate the spread of the plant.
Mark Montaldo says:
“Usually, we’d only just start to see new knotweed plants emerging late in April or early May, but this year the plants have already grown by a couple of metres. Growth will accelerate as much warmer than average temperatures move in.
“This is at … one of the busiest times for new houses going onto the market. People are noticing the weeds and are worried about the risk of structural damage and how knotweed can affect their house price.”
The plant can cause damage to homes by pushing up through cracks in concrete, cavity walls and drains. Cobleys claims that a Japanese knotweed removal firm, Environet UK, estimates that during the past 20 years knotweed has knocked some £20 billion off house prices.
Tell-tale signs include a plant with stems that look like bamboo but are green with purple flecks throughout. It has large, shovel-like leaves that grow yellowish-brown in spring and become a lush green during the summer, with the weed flowering into small white clusters throughout the autumn.
Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, Japanese Knotweed is classed as ‘controlled waste’ and must be disposed of safely and securely once it’s identified” said a Stephensons spokeswoman.