The law around Japanese knotweed

We are often asked by worried customers whether they are breaking the law by having Japanese knotweed growing on their land.

The straightforward answer is no, but if you allow it to encroach onto a neighbouring property, then you are leaving yourself wide open to a criminal prosecution that could become very expensive indeed.

There is various legislation in place that regulates and controls the disposal and planting of knotweed, but people are often surprised to learn that it is not an offence to have knotweed on your land and it is not a notifiable weed, therefore the local authorities do not need to be told of its presence. 

It is when knotweed spreads from one parcel of land to another, that landowners put themselves at risk of prosecution through private nuisance legislation. In other words, by allowing Japanese knotweed to spread from your land to theirs, you are interfering with, disturbing or causing an annoyance to your neighbour and their right to enjoy their property. 

This was reinforced just last year, when Network Rail were forced to pay damages to two homeowners in south Wales for allowing knotweed to encroach from a nearby railway line into the gardens of the claimants’ homes. They were compensated not only for the cost of treatment but also for the residual diminution in the value of their properties.

If you’re selling a property that has been affected by Japanese knotweed, even if it has been successfully treated, you are obliged to answer truthfully on the TA6 Property Information form completed by sellers as part of the conveyancing process, which includes a direct question about the plant. Failure to do so could leave you at risk of a compensation claim from the new owner once the infestation is discovered. 

The longer Japanese knotweed is left unchecked, the more established it will become and the harder it will be to treat. It is possible to remove Japanese knotweed in winter using our Resi Dig-Out™ or DART™ methods, so there’s no need to wait until spring when the plant is in leaf.

For help and advice on any Japanese knotweed related problem, call us now on 01932 868 700.

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