A landmark Appeal Court ruling means that homeowners who are blighted by Japanese Knotweed growing on neighbouring land, will now have legal redress.
Network Rail was taken to court by two Welsh homeowners, Stephen Williams and Robin Waistell,
Both homeowners sued the rail company after claiming that it had not taken sufficient steps to deal with the fast-growing plant which had become so overgrown that it had extended underneath their properties and also affected the view from their windows.
Mr Waistell, claimed that the Japanese Knotweed towered above his bungalow and had led to a massive reduction in the value of the property – essentially making it unsaleable.
Initially, a County Court awarded both homeowners damages in February last year but Network Rail appealed the decision.
Now the Appeal Court has also sided with the homeowners, agreeing that the Japanese Knotweed was an ‘actionable nuisance’ and this decision could now pave the way for similar cases to be brought.
Andrew Skinner, a Partner with Palmers who specialises in boundary disputes, said: “Many mortgages and insurance providers may impose restrictions if Japanese Knotweed is found to be growing near a property and is not being treated.
“In addition to being unsightly and difficult to control, there are concerns amongst some experts that the roots and rhizomes of the plant – which can grow up to 20 cm a day – can cause structural damage.
“Because treatment for Japanese Knotweed is potentially expensive and may need to be repeated for a period of up to 5 years, some landowners have been shirking their responsibility to the detriment of their neighbours.
“The ruling by the Appeal Court should mean that homeowners can now take legal action if a neighbour is not taking the appropriate steps to stop Japanese Knotweed encroaching onto their land.”
For help and advice on matters relating to Japanese Knotweed or any other concerns relating to boundary disputes, please contact us.