Advice for home buyers and sellers

2016-10-05 06:00
Photo: supplied Home owners beware - new legislation obliges you to declare and/or remove alien invasive plants when selling.

Photo: supplied Home owners beware - new legislation obliges you to declare and/or remove alien invasive plants when selling.

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WHEN selling or buying a home or property, there is always a list of items to tick off - lawyers, banks, notification for change of address - and so on. Now it is likely that an extra item will need to be added to that list: declaration of alien invasive plants on the property and/or their removal.

A home was recently sold in Kloof. The sale went smoothly, until it was discovered by the new owners that there were alien invasive plants growing in the garden. What these particular sellers were responsible for was either the removal of the alien plants or to notify the buyers of this need.

What property sellers need to be aware of is that a new legislation is currently being negotiated. If this is passed, sellers will be required to advise buyers of the presence of alien species on the property with the view to avoiding any possible legal action. This legislation is virtually guaranteed to be passed as the Department of Environmental Affairs is taking the pandemic of alien plants in South Africa very seriously.

“Home buyers and sellers need to know their rights,” says Gill van Wyk, a local alien invasive plant expert.

“People who do not declare Category 1A and 1B invasive plants to a potential purchaser and then remove them before the sale of their property, will be fined when/if this law is passed.”

The type of plants categorised as 1A and 1B in the Act are, amongst others, Mexican Sunflower, Schefflera, and Litsia (see www.durbaninvasives.org.za www.sanbi.org and www.invasives.org for more).

“Housing complexes have frequently been landscaped with invasive aliens as they grow easily. However, they are now required to reassess the species of plants in their grounds,” says Van Wyk.

When removing alien plants, a list of suitable replacement species and advice for quick-growing replacement plants can be found either at local nurseries, on the SANBI website (see address above), or you can contact Gill van Wyk at shakleton1@telkomsa.net or 071 403 0320. Gaylene Allen.

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