Japanese Knotweed is the garden pest that could leave you with a lot more damage than your average garden weed.
What is Japanese knotweed?
Japanese Knotweed is an invasive plant which originates from Asia. The plant is known for being fast growing and rhizomatous, meaning it can grow from fragments, allowing it to spread throughout the UK and Europe.
Japanese knotweed is noted to cause structural damage to buildings due to its underground root (rhizome) system which can weaken foundations, walls, and drains.
This rapidly spreading weed is something to be mindful of when it comes to being a homeowner as buying a home with Japanese Knotweed present will leave you with the burden of controlling and eradicating it, which can be both time consuming and expensive.
The main issues that Japanese Knotweed present homeowners with are:
- Physical damage to buildings and land
- Devalued property
- Difficulties in insuring your property
- Additionally, it can result in civil and criminal liabilities for homeowners or occupiers
Who has a claim?
This weed is of importance to keep under control as the advancement of it onto neighbouring land could result in proceedings being issued against the owner or occupier for private nuisance.
Owners of affected land could potentially seek compensation for the loss of enjoyment or amenity, often leading to the devaluation of their property. Additionally, owners of affected land may seek the costs of removal, and an injunction against re-infestation and/or requiring action to control the Japanese Knotweed.
Likewise, if a homeowner buys a property with an infestation and they were not advised as to its existence, there may be grounds for a claim for misrepresentation against the seller if they have failed to disclose their knowledge of Knotweed being present.
How will I know if I have Japanese Knotweed?
Buyers are often notified about Japanese Knotweed on a property by the Estate Agent or by the Sellers themselves. Estate Agents are required by law to honestly present properties to buyers, which includes being upfront about Japanese Knotweed affecting land. Homeowners are also legally obliged to fairly present their property to potential buyers. Look out for question 7.8 of the TA6 Property Information form as this is the standard Japanese Knotweed question.
In an ideal world you will buy a property knowing all the good, bad, and ugly about it, however, this is unfortunately not always the case.
In one case where a neighbour had Japanese Knotweed growing into the Claimants Garden, the Claimants were successful in gaining a mandatory injunction for the neighbour to treat the Japanese knotweed on her land. Additionally, the neighbour was ordered to pay the claimants costs.
In another case where a developer had failed to disclose the presence of Japanese Knotweed at the time of sale to the buyer, the buyer was successful and awarded £52,000 in damages and £8,433.97 in interest.
Whilst the presence of Japanese Knotweed in your garden is not an offence nor is it a notifiable weed, allowing it to spread to neighbouring properties or to sell without sharing knowledge of an infestation may cause rise for civil matters.
How Whitehead Monckton can help
Whether you are a homeowner unaware that your garden had Japanese Knotweed when you purchased the property or a neighbour who is worried about it trespassing onto your land; our Dispute Resolution team has experience to help in these disputes.
You can contact us on 01622 698000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for further information about our services.