Japanese Knotweed has been described by the Environmental Agency as “indisputably the UK’s most aggressive, destructive and invasive plant”. It can destroy dreams by rendering your home or investment worthless and leave you in a state of despair.
With that in mind, one must ensure that when purchasing land or property affected with Knotweed that they do so diligently.
Why instruct us for your Japanese Knotweed compensation claim?
That’s because we already have a track record of success with these type of claims.
Natalie Forshaw, the member of our property dispute team responsible for these negligence claims, has just recently won £250k compensation in a case against a negligent surveyor, who despite being paid to conduct a survey, didn’t advise his clients that there was rampant Japanese Knotweed in the garden.
Why is Japanese Knotweed so bad?
Not only is Japanese Knotweed destructive (it can destroy concrete) but it also grows at a rapid rate and is extremely difficult to eradicate, hence why some lenders are reluctant to lend on properties affected by it.
Is Japanese Knotweed a native plant?
No, Japanese Knotweed was brought to the UK from Japan circa 1825.
What does it look like?
Identification depends on the age of the plant; new leaves tend to be dark red and between 1cm and 4cm in length. Young leaves tend to be green with dark red veins running through the middle and the more mature leaves are green, heart-shaped and are approximately 12cm in length.
The stem of the plant tends to resemble bamboo and when mature will be hollow.
The flower of Japanese Knotweed is white and the plant tends to bloom between August and September.
The root (“Rhizome”) has an “earthy” brown exterior and a golden/ orange interior.
It is advisable that you seek the assistance of a specialist to assist with identification.
What are the risks?
If you purchase or acquire land or property affected by Japanese Knotweed, then you’ll be responsible for any and all liabilities associated with it. This could include the immediate cost of removal, repair and loss in value to your land and to any neighbouring land affected by encroachment from your land.
A good example of this liability can be found in the recent case of Williams and another v Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd  in which the Court of Appeal confirmed that where Japanese Knotweed encroaches onto landowners land, there’s no need for physical damage to be present for an actionable claim in private nuisance.
This case is a good reminder of what we must do when we have the necessary knowledge of the presence of Knotweed but fail to do all that is reasonable to prevent encroachment to neighbouring land.
Japanese Knotweed and Selling Your Property
Unfortunately, it can be extremely difficult to sell land or property affected by Japanese Knotweed, this is because there aren’t many lenders out there willing to take the risk. That means that the “pool” of prospective purchasers can be somewhat limited.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that it is best to keep quiet about this plant, because if you know of the presence of Japanese Knotweed but deny knowledge of it in pre-contract enquiries, then you could be found liable for misrepresentation. Honesty is always the best possibility.
Buying Land or Property with Japanese Knotweed Present
If after purchasing you become aware of the presence of Japanese Knotweed on your land then you may have a claim against the surveyor who carried out your pre-purchase inspection and repot, the seller or even your new neighbour.
What can I claim for?
The kind of compensation your claim can cover include the following;
- Removal of knotweed from your property
- Make good any damage to your property
- Compensation for the financial loss, if any, in the market value of your property.
Your Next Steps?
First off, try not to panic! If you’re selling and have just discovered that you have Japanese Knotweed then please take action. Contact a specialist who will be able to assist you in a planned programme of works.
If you’ve just bought land or a property affected by Japanese Knotweed, then you simply need to speak to one of our dedicated specialists who have experience in successfully bringing claims against those who have made a mistake or deceived you. Call us today on 01722 422300 for a free no obligation consultation.
No win no fee for Japanese Knotweed compensation claims?
Here at Bonallack and Bishop, no win no fee (also called conditional fee arrangements) is available not only for personal injury claims, but also for other litigation cases – and that can include negligence claims in relation to Japanese Knotweed.
Click here to read more about how No Win No Fee Claims work.