Code aims to drive standards in fight against Japanese knotweed
Monday 16 January 2017
BTL investors are set to benefit from a newly renamed code which aims to drive standards in the fights against invasive plant species like Japanese knotweed.
The plant, believed to be the biggest unmanaged risk in the UK property market, spreads rapidly and costs the United Kingdom hundreds of millions of pounds per year.
Two-thirds of UK mortgage brokers have reported transactions affected by knotweed, with some even forced to withdraw mortgage applications because of its presence.
The Invasives Code, created by experts in invasive plant species, demands that subscribing firms meet stringent technical standards set by the INNSA, (Invasive Non-Native Specialists Association).
Japanese Knotweed Control, a founding member of INNSA, is calling for more invasive plant species specialists to subscribe in a bid to boost standards and reassure property professionals.
MD David Layland said: “There is a known case of knotweed infestation in at least every 10km square of the British Isles.”
The code, formerly known as the Invasive Non-Native Species (INNS) Code, will give ‘greater transparency and peace of mind to the clients of the subscribers’, he said.
“This will build confidence, as property owners, professionals and the industries that serve them know they are assured of top quality service,” he added.
Estate agents are obliged to advise buyers of issues that could affect their decision to buy, including the presence of Japanese knotweed, and if sellers fail to disclose these details during the conveyancing stage, they risk legal claims of misrepresentation.
Some lenders will also reject mortgages on a property affected by invasive plant species.
The code sets out minimum warranty and insurance requirements, consumer service levels, and complaint handling processes for residential and commercial properties.
The independent Property Codes Compliance Board (PCCB) regulates the code.
All members must also meet the independently assessed ISO 9001 and 14001 standards under Amenity Assured, run by the Government-backed independent standards institute, BASIS.
The Property Care Association Invasive Weed Group, formed by industry experts who have formulated strict criteria for membership, also operates as a trade body for invasive plant species specialists and guarantees quality.
You can view our guide on dealing with Japanese Knotweed here.