Insight

Japanese knotweed: a new statutory concern for dilapidations

Japanese knotweed is a concern to our clients when dealing with dilapidations and investing in property: it’s important that its presence is identified due to the potential damage it can cause from rhizomes (roots) penetrating masonry, foundations and paving and the potentially high cost of remedial works.

On top of the well known financial imperative, there is a further legal aspect which has recently come to light.

Japanese Knotweed – By MdE (page at dewiki | page at commons) – own photo, CC BY-SA 3.0 de, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3506559

The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and the Environmental Protection Act 1990 remain the overarching legislation that control the growth and correct disposal of Japanese Knotweed in the UK; with the Wildlife and Natural Environment (Northern Ireland) Act 2011 and the Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act 2012 applicable to the respective regions, alongside the relevant disposal regulations.

However, the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 introduces a further facet to what can become a problematic issue. A recent prosecution case by Bristol County Council demonstrates that local authorities are using the legislation available to them, taking action against those who fail to control invasive plants on their land. Under the Act, local authorities can serve a Community Protection Notice (CPN) on individuals or bodies acting in a way that has a detrimental effect on quality of life of those in the local area. Bristol County Council subsequently fined MB Estates Ltd £18,000 for failing to control the weed’s growth.

So landlords, tenants and professional advisers beware. It is important for property professionals and clients to be aware of the risks associated with Japanese Knotweed and that lease obligations relating to its presence and recovery of costs are carefully considered. Leases tend not to cover invasive species very well and linking its presence, and an obligation to remove, to a breach of covenant can be difficult.

For further information and advice specific to your property, please get in touch with Jay Ridings, Associate at TFT.

The TFT Purple Book: A guide to Dilapidations in the UK

The TFT Purple Book: A Guide to Dilapidations in the UK is a comprehensive guide which identifies the legal context, best practice, background to how and why dilapidations is dealt with as it is, and addresses areas of legal uncertainty. It aims to serve as a single point of reference from which the reader can develop a solid foundation of knowledge. It even considers cattle, children and ‘chattels-vegetable’ – and not many text books can make that boast.

You can read more and order the book here.

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TFT Dilapidations Flowcharts – Scotland

The latest Dilapidations Flowcharts – Scotland are reproduced by TFT’s dilapidations specialists Jon Rowling and Neil Wotherspoon and attempt to identify the manner in which the law, as understood, and dilapidations procedure, as understood, are generally amalgamated in practice. To view the full set of flowcharts, click the link below.

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Can Real Estate turbo charge the Midlands engine?

In this paper we pose the question whether the UK Industrial Strategy and the Midlands Engine will succeed. Of course, they have the potential, but we believe real estate is one, if not the key driver to Birmingham achieving the international status its size and economy deserve.

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Edinburgh Overview

TFT Scotland advises commercial property investors, owners and occupiers wishing to acquire, dispose and manage property in Scotland. Our team includes highly motivated and skilled building surveyors who provide professional advice and guidance.

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Technical Due Diligence in Commercial Property

Technical due diligence (TDD) enables those involved with the acquisition, occupancy and disposal of commercial property to understand and manage risk, make informed decisions, and future-proof their investments. Building services installations are more dynamic – and their associated issues often result in greater disruption and cost – than the building fabric elements, so M&E technical expertise and advice is a fundamental part of the TDD process.

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The new MEES regulations are here. So is the right support.

On 1 April The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) come into force, making it unlawful for a landlord to let or renew a lease on a property if the energy performance certificate (EPC) rating is F or G.

There are exemptions. There are common misunderstandings. And there is a support on hand to review EPCs, at risk properties and landlord and tenant obligations. Like it or not, MEES comes into force on 1 April but with TFT’s help the introduction need not be onerous.

Email us if you would like to discuss your portfolio with one of TFT’s MEES experts.

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Dilapidations in England and Scotland. Our new white paper highlights the differences.

To celebrate the continued success of our Edinburgh office, and the increase in dilapidations instructions we are managing north of the border for our clients, we present a paper on recent changes to Scottish dilapidations law and procedure, and we identify the main differences between dilapidations in Scotland and south of the border in England and Wales.

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TFT Dilapidations Flow Charts

The TFT Dilapidations Flowcharts are an industry first. They explain and demystify the various steps involved in a typical end-of-lease dilapidations dispute, identifying how a dilapidations liability is calculated. For the first time, complex issues such as the classification of fixtures and chattels, the reinstatement of alterations and disrepair are explained visually. The dilapidations dispute resolution process and options are also identified.

We hope the TFT Dilapidations Flowcharts will become a useful industry-standard resource for both clients and other surveyors to help improve the dilapidations process. At present, partly because dilapidations disputes can be highly complicated but partly also because many who dabble in dilapidations do not know the background to the issues, dilapidations disputes can become contentious, costly and time consuming. The TFT Dilapidations Flowcharts are part of our effort to improve this area of practice.

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TFT demystifies dilapidations

The TFT Dilapidations Flowcharts are an industry first. They explain and demystify the various steps involved in a typical end-of-lease dilapidations dispute, identifying how a dilapidations liability is calculated. For the first time, complex issues such as the classification of fixtures and chattels, the reinstatement of alterations and disrepair are explained visually. The dilapidations dispute resolution process and options are also identified.

We hope the TFT Dilapidations Flowcharts will become a useful industry-standard resource for both clients and other surveyors to help improve the dilapidations process. At present, partly because dilapidations disputes can be highly complicated but partly also because many who dabble in dilapidations do not know the background to the issues, dilapidations disputes can become contentious, costly and time consuming. The TFT Dilapidations Flowcharts are part of our effort to improve this area of practice.

Jon Rowling, Technical Partner:

We created these flowcharts to help demystify what can be perceived as an impenetrable and complex area of surveying and the law. Hopefully, with wider knowledge within the professions, dilapidations disputes can become less contentious, easier to understand and easier to settle. We hope you find the TFT Dilapidations Flowcharts helpful, perhaps even interesting!

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