Japanese Knotweed settlement secured for £32,500
First introduced to the UK in the 19th Century from South East Asia, Japanese Knotweed is a common and highly invasive weed. Japanese Knotweed is particularly common along railway embankments and abandoned/poorly maintained plots of land and, if left untreated, can spread quickly to neighbouring land and property leading to stress, inconvenience and reduction in property values for those affected by its spread. Banks are often unwilling to give mortgages for properties affected by the weed which can only be treated and removed by specialist contractors at significant cost; unauthorised planting and/or removal of the weed can also constitute a criminal offence.
Early in 2018 Angelus Law were contacted by our client Mr V, a builder by trade who lives in South London. Mr V had noticed small stems (or ‘stands’ as they are known) of what appeared to be Japanese Knotweed growing in the garden of the terraced house in South London which he had owned since 1986. Mr V believed the weed had spread from a neighbouring piece of land and asked Angelus Law to investigate his options.
Angelus Law instructed experts in the management and removal of Japanese Knotweed to inspect Mr V’s land, identify the Japanese Knotweed, identify the source of the infestation and to give their opinion on the best way of treating and removing the weeds from Mr V’s property.
Our experts confirmed that the stands on Mr V’s land were Japanese Knotweed which had spread to his land from a neighbouring plot owned by the local authority. The infestation within the next door property was extensive, estimated to be well over 5 years old and showed some signs of pre-treatment (which strongly suggested that the local authority was aware of the problem).
Due to the distance between the weeds and Mr V’s property, the experts considered the Japanese Knotweed on Mr V’s land to come under the most severe category on the RICS assessment rating. Thankfully, there had not been any structural damage to Mr V’s property, however, the experts recommended a 5 year herbicidal treatment plan which would cost Mr V over £5,000.00 to pay for.
Angelus Law then instructed an expert RICS property valuer to consider what effect this would have on the value of Mr V’s property. The expert confirmed that the property had suffered a significant loss in value in excess of £20,000.00.
Angelus Law sent a detailed Letter of Claim to the local authority alleging that the spread of the Japanese Knotweed from their land to Mr V’s constituted a private nuisance which they were obligated by law to rectify. We argued that in addition to covering the costs of treatment, the local authority should provide an insurance backed guarantee and compensate Mr V for the loss in value his property would continue to suffer as a result of these issues.
Whilst the local authority initially denied any liability to Mr V, we were eventually able to negotiate a settlement of £32,500.00 for Mr V without the need to take his case to Court.