We have lots to thank the Victorians for, but not the introduction of a perennial weed that can cause structural damage, cost a significant amount of money to rectify, and blight the sale of a house.
Property lawyers have been aware of the issues of Japanese Knotweed for many years. Indeed, I have noticed recently that policies are available from title indemnity insurers to cover this risk.
It is not just the saleability of a property which might be affected, but claims from neighbours, based on private nuisance.
However, a decision at the end of 2018 demonstrated there was even more to fear for a property owner who does not keep the weed under control. Bristol City Council, acting on behalf of seven affected homeowners, prosecuted MB Estate Limited for failing to get rid of the plant in the garden of a house.
This is believed to be the first prosecution for Japanese knotweed nuisance under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 (ASBCPA 2014) and will no doubt open the gates for similar actions.
The company was fined £18,000.
If your property is affected by Japanese knotweed, and you are concerned on how this might affect a sale, or what your liabilities may be generally, we can advise.
We may also be able to assist if you have purchased a property and the seller did not disclose to you the presence of such weeds.
Please email me if you think this issue may affect you and you need some help.