When a neighbour ignores Knotweed

What to do when a Knotty neighbour ignores Knotweed

What incentive can you give a neighbour who is reluctant to control Japanese Knotweed? PBA are often asked just this and our recommendations are discussed in this article

It is acknowledged that the threat of Japanese Knotweed can be greater if it is growing in your neighbours land rather than your own. The reason is that you are reliant on the neighbour; they must correctly treat the Knotweed to ensure that it is eventually eradicated. So what happens if your neighbour is unaware of the problems this alien invasive weed can cause?

Well, the situation is not good. There is little that legislation can do even though Japanese Knotweed is legislated against in the Wild life and Country side act 1981. This legislation is unclear and woolly in interpretation, dealing primarily with "Knotweed growing in the wild". Furthermore Japanese Knotweed is not cited under any legislation requiring it to be notified. Councils are only required to treat Knotweed on their own land. So could you provide your neighbour with an incentive get the Knotweed removed?

Several actions can be taken if the normal neighbourly channels of communication fail. If there is a general reluctance, it is important to make your case clear and the list below should help. If Knotweed has spread to your property and damage is already done then your insurance company may be willing to get involved. Equally you may be entitled to legal advice through your property insurance policy. If this fails get a solicitor to write a letter and then get an invasive weed specialist to advice on the cost to implement a treatment program. Send both documents to the neighbour. If this does not work then the only course of redress is the small claims court. You will essentially be making a private nuisance claim against your neighbour and the cost of taking such action must be considered. Finally a qualified surveyor who is a member of the RICS can assess the impact of Knotweed infestation on value of the property.

We suggest that you make sure that the neighbour understands what the true implications are of allowing Japanese Knotweed to continue to grow. Our point by point guide is as follows:

  • Japanese Knotweed is like an iceberg. The Environment Agency state that its roots can extend 7 metres from a visible plant and will travel 2-3 metres deep. Knotweed spreads by its fast growing root system which can easily migrate under garden walls from one property to another
  • Japanese Knotweed is opportunistic and will exploit and undermine structures. If allowed, it will eventually cause structural damage.
  • Insurance companies don't cover for damage caused by invasive weeds.
  • Insurance companies will seek to recover monies from neighbours where it can be proven that it was the neighbour's infestation of Knotweed that has caused damage on their client's property
  • Knotweed waste is classed as controlled waste and currently costs £72.00 per tonne in tax to remove before any real costs for excavation and removal have been spent
  • Knotweed will destroy tarmac and other hard surfaces

The presence of Knotweed can have a detrimental effect the value of your home even if it is present in neighbouring land. Mortgage lenders are reluctant to lend on such property and if they do they require a robust treatment package provided by an accredited specialist.

PBA Solutions are invasive weed specialists and can help home and property owners with disputes regarding Japanese Knotweed. We can bring together property surveyors and solicitors who are experienced in such matters and provide expert witness services.

Contact PBA Solutions

For more information on how PBA Solutions can help you or your community remove invasive weeds such as Japanese knotweed, email info@pba-solutions.com or call us on 0203 174 2187.

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