Financial & Legal News

What to do if you have a Japanese knotweed claim against you?

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A Supreme Court case focusing on Japanese knotweed claims and what happens when it encroaches into a garden may pave the way for defended knotweed cases, as the court has ruled that no damages should be awarded to the house owner.

It had been claimed that the invasive plant had wiped nearly £5,000 from the value of a home.  Japanese knotweed was growing on land adjoining the terraced house and garden when the property was bought in 2004.

Japanese Knotweed Claims Defended in Court

In (Davies v Bridgend County Borough Council) the council argued the claim was ‘fatally flawed’.  The authority stated that any loss in value was caused by the ‘non-actionable presence’ of the plant ‘which occurred “well before 2004”.

When judgment was initially found in favour of the homeowner the Council appealed to the Supreme Court.  They ruled that: ‘The main issue is one of causation, namely whether the residual diminution in value was caused by the defendant’s breach of duty in private nuisance.’

‘The diminution in value had occurred long before any breach by the defendant. Accordingly, the application of the “but for” test in this case eliminates the defendant’s subsequent breach of duty as a causative factor.’

‘The diminution in value would have occurred in any event so that there is no causal link between the defendant’s breach of duty and the diminution in value claimed.’

Defending Japanese Knotweed Claims

Cases of Japanese knotweed and its impact on property have hit the headlines after a couple of high-profile cases.  There is a fear knotweed affects property prices, mortgage lenders are put off by the weed and have been known to retract offers once it has been discovered.

Pearson Solicitors were recently successful in defending a Japanese knotweed claim by proving our client had no previous knowledge of the invasive plant until a letter from their local council and therefore only had a duty to treat it from this date onwards.  The Japanese knotweed had encroached onto the neighbouring property before that date, before our client was aware of it and before he had a duty to treat it.

It was also noted that there is knotweed in another garden nearby and so the Claimant cannot prove that it had in fact come from the Defendant and not from other neighbouring property.

How can we help?

If you receive a Japanese knotweed claim against contact our expert litigation solicitors on 0161 785 3500 or email for legal advice on defending a claim. 

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

Written by Asa Cocker


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