A couple in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, has seen the value of their property drop £250,000 due to the damage of Japanese Knotweed
Matthew Jones and fiancée Sue Banks have seen the value of their four-bedroom drop from £305,000 to £50,000 as a result of the damage cause by the invasive weed.
The couple have been told that unless the detached house is demolished and 10ft of soil removed from beneath the foundations it will be impossible to sell the property.
Japanese Knotweed crept into their property
Japanese Knotweed was discovered in the garden of their new-build house in April 2009 after they had been living there for about a month.
The knotweed spread along the brick walls, forced its way through flooring and sprouted over skirting boards. What was once the dream home for the couple has turned into a disaster.
There was no sign of the plant when the couple bought the house two years ago, believing it to be the ideal location to bring up a young family. Growing unnoticed on wasteland next to the property however, it slowly crept over the garden fence and took over the lawn before forcing its way into the house.
Mr Jones, 38, explained: "I was out in the garden and I noticed some stems coming through the lawn,"
"They were like asparagus tips but they had a reddish tinge to them. I had never seen anything like that before so I didn't touch it, I went to bed and in the morning it had grown a couple of inches."
Experts comment on the Knotweed issue
Matthew Biggs, an expert for Flamstead gardening advised that Japanese Knotweed is becoming "a major problem".
He said: "By law you are not allowed to move the rhizome (horizontal stems found underground) so if it's dug up from one area it has to be destroyed under controlled conditions or delivered to a site where they have the facilities to get rid of it."
Les Meikle, aka The Rotter and MD of Wise Knotweed Solutions, agreed with Mr Biggs mentioning: "Japanese Knotweed is certainly a growing issue amongst property owners. I can foresee more legal enforcement where Japanese knotweed crosses into properties and land.
"It spreads so easily - just a fingernail amount picked up by a car tyre is enough to cause it to spread. It is for this reason our specialist 'Wise Knotweed Solutions' division was set up to help property owners eradicate their Japanese knotweed infestation and provide Japanese knotweed warranties that may assist the sale of the property.
"For the time being though, Japanese Knotweed is an issue for Home Owners and the property market".
Couple suing solicitor over Japanese Knotweed
The couple is currently suing Roberts of Macclesfield, who handled the purchase of the house, claiming that the solicitors failed to ensure there was a National House-Building Council warranty that provides insurance cover for ten years.
A statement from Mills and Reeves solicitors read: "We act for Roberts & Co in the claim being brought against them by Mr Matthew Jones. The claim is currently subject to proceedings and Roberts & Co deny any liability. As an on-going client matter, we are unable to provide further details."
More information on Japanese Knotweed
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