Japanese knotweed is a highly invasive weed that can cause significant damage to property.
If you have Japanese knotweed on your property, you could be facing some serious legal and financial implications.
The good news is that there are steps you can take to mitigate the damage caused by Japanese knotweed, and our guide will teach you everything you need to know about the implications of Japanese knotweed.
Although knowledge of the feared Japanese knotweed is rapidly increasing, many still aren’t aware of its legal and practical repercussions, which have long been the scourge of property owners’ lives.
This article explains Japanese knotweed in detail, why it’s a problem and offers solutions in an effort to get to the bottom of the problems it causes.
What is Japanese knotweed?
Japanese knotweed, a weed that resembles bamboo and is indigenous to East Asia, was brought to the United Kingdom in the 19th century.
The plant will grow aggressively and invasively each year in the early summer, reaching heights of up to 7 feet. The plant poses a serious threat to the structural integrity of buildings since it can grow through nearly anything in its path, even concrete.
The plant will die back during the winter and remain concealed until the next summer. If not properly disposed of, a single small piece of Japanese knotweed can lead to the establishment of a brand-new colony due to its exceptional capacity for dispersal.
Therefore, care must be used when attempting to eliminate Japanese knotweed, as cutting it back is unlikely to do so; instead, it will probably just spread the plant’s seeds further.
Always engage a Japanese knotweed removal specialist, and dispose of any cuttings properly, for effective knotweed eradication.
Although Japanese Knotweed can grow anywhere, issues generally arise at properties that abut commercial lands such as railway tracks and building sites.
Why is Japanese knotweed an issue?
Although there is no legal requirement to remove or report Japanese knotweed found on your property, doing so could result in civil and criminal penalties if it spreads.
Japanese knotweed invasion onto a neighbour’s land might result in responsibility under a private nuisance claim in terms of civil liability. The Court of Appeal has expanded the scope of this obligation, making it possible to be held liable even in the absence of any physical damage that the plant may have caused.
Additionally, omitting to disclose the plant’s existence while selling a house may constitute mis-selling or making false representations, and if it is disclosed but your lawyers failed to fully explain the situation to you when you were buying a property, they may have acted negligently.
It is illegal for anybody to “cause to grow” Japanese knotweed in the wild, making it a crime. Because of this, even if there is no requirement to get rid of Japanese knotweed, you risk getting in trouble with the law if you intentionally release or permit the release of the plant into the wild. Which has a range of punishments from a fine to a six-month jail sentence.
Due to the severe harm it can inflict, the presence of Japanese knotweed on your property also raises a number of practical concerns. Lenders typically require action if the plant is detected within 23 feet of the property, which can have a negative impact on a property’s value, insurability, and prospects for a prospective buyer to obtain a mortgage.
What can you do about Japanese knotweed?
If you suspect that you may have Japanese knotweed on your property or are worried that your neighbour may, you should first get professional assistance on how to get rid of the plant.
Due to the plant’s uncontrollable nature, you should use qualified Japanese knotweed specialists to remove it.
Although removing the plant is not inexpensive, the alternatives—potential legal and criminal liability—are much worse than the cost of doing so.
How can Knotweed Removal Tips help?
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