Find a Japanese Knotweed Solicitor
£10,000 – £20,000
Typical claim compensation
- Case can be run as ‘no win no fee’ Yes
- Money used to cover cost of treatment and more Yes
- No risk if the case does not win Yes
Get a free assessment of your case from a japanese knotweed lawyer. Simply submit your case and a knotweed expert will review it for you, for free.
Japanese knotweed is an invasive plant which can encroach on property from neighbouring land. Despite being easy (although expensive) to treat, it can jeopordise mortgage applications as banks are cautious to lend against properties with an ongoing knotweed problems. This in turn makes it harder to sell property, as most purchasers rely on a bank loan rather than cash.
Knotweed ought to be flagged by a surveyor at the time of property purchase. This gives home and landowners a potential claim against surveyors who fail to spot it.
As japanese knotweed is invasive, it may begin growing into your land after you moved in. In this case, obviously a surveyor would not have not known about it, however it is still possible to get the cost of removing the knotweed paid for by whoever’s land is invading your property.
Less often, a property seller will know about the existence of knotweed but keep quiet about it entirely during the sale. This also gives homeowners a potential claim against the property seller. Speak to a knotweed solicitor for free for more information.
The amount of compensation you can win for a knotweed case depends on what you’re claiming for. Sometimes people just want a sum of money to fix the problem and put it right, which depending on the extent of the problem, could be a few thousand pounds upwards. In other cases, people want compensation for the loss of value to their property (as there is a risk that knotweed may always return). In this situation, compensation awards can be in the tens of thousands or more.
Knotweed removal – typically £1,000 – £3,000+
Loss of property value / land utility / amenity – typically £10,000 – £20,000 +
If you have a good legal case that is worth enough money, it should cost you nothing to run a knotweed compensation claim from start to finish. This is because a good solicitor will run your case on a ‘no win no fee’ basis, where, once your case has been settled or won, they will charge the other sides their hourly rate as part of the deal. If your case loses, your lawyer does not charge you in this arrangement. On top of this, a good lawyer will insure you from the other sides’ legal fees if your case lost through “ATE insurance”. These ATE insurance packages are often free upfront too, and will only charge you when your case has won by deducting a few thousand from your award. In short, those with a good knotweed complaint do not need to worry about funding it, or about risk if the case loses.
Generally lawyers will only do this for cases worth over £10,000 however. If a knotweed compensation case is worth less than this, it will probably be sent to the small claims track. If a case is sent to the small claims track, your lawyer cannot make the other side pay your legal fees, even if you win. This means you would need to pay them, and this might cost more than the amount you win in court!
Recent case law from the Court of Appeal as well as the county courts have increased the scope of liability for knotweed disputes. This does not necessarily mean that every knotweed case has a good chance of winning. Typically the defendant in knotweed cases are organisations who should seek legal advice from their advisors as soon as they receive a complaint. To get in contact with a knotweed defence solicitor click here.
Frequently asked questions about japanese knotweed
If your neighbour has Japanese knotweed on their property, they are generally under no legal obligation to remove it from their own garden. However, if the knotweed starts to encroach onto your land, you usually have a legal claim in private nuisance to get damages (also known as compensation). It might also be possible to get an injunction to force them to treat the knotweed before it begins infecting your land, if this is likely to occur.
If it does spread, the law usually holds them liable to cover the cost of eradicating the weed, as well as compensation for loss of value to your property price.
Therefore it is in everyone’s interests to get the plant eradicated as soon as possible – which will make the cost of treatment cheap for your neighbour. Using a knotweed solicitor is only sensible where the neighbour is not acting responsibly or cooperatively to fulfil their legal obligation.
If you are selling your house, you have to disclose japanese knotweed on the TA6 (property information) form. Following changes made in early 2020, it is inadvisable to put ‘no’ on this form unless you are absolutely certain there is no risk of there being knotweed. If it subsequently transpires there is knotweed, you would be at risk of a civil suit for compensation.
If you are not selling your home to anyone, nor disposing of the knotweed, there’s no legal obligation either to declare the presence of Japanese knotweed on your land, nor to remove it. However, if it begins to encroach onto your neighbours’ land, they might have a legal claim against you for private nuisance. The earlier you have the knotweed removed, the cheaper it’ll be.
Yes, under three circumstances it is possible to claim compensation for knotweed on your land:
1) Where it has grown onto your land from neighbouring land;
2) Where a surveyor failed to spot it at the time you purchased a property;
3) Where the seller of the property failed to tell you about it, and knew about it
In addition to the above, where the seller of the property certified on the TA6 disclosure form that no knotweed existed but knotweed did exist, it may be possible to obtain compensation from them.
Japanese knotweed is a problem for most people for two simple reasons. First, it lowers the value of your property, which if you intend to sell or re-mortgage it, has obvious repercussions. Second, left untreated, it can lead to expensive legal liabilities if it goes onto a neighbour’s land. The law of private nuisance holds landowners liable for failing to contain hazards on their land which go onto affect others.
If you want to sell a house with Japanese knotweed, the best thing is to have it removed permanently before you put your house on the market. This is because most mortgage providers won’t lend on a property unless certain criteria are met, making it harder for you to find a buyer. To get around this, you need to do two things:
(1) Work with a suitably qualified professional (e.g. someone accredited with the Property Care Association and/or the Invasive Non-Native Specialists Association) on a paid treatment plan to remove the Japanese Knotweed.
(2) Once treated, get an insurance-backed guarantee of at least 10 years.
Don’t attempt to remove it yourself, or just ignore the problem and hope no one notices when you try to sell the house.
The cost of having knotweed removed can often be paid for by someone other than you. Get in contact with us to find out more.
In deciding whether to buy a house with Japanese knotweed, there’s no hard rule that you shouldn’t buy it, but we recommend taking several measures to protect yourself. Pay for a professional Japanese Knotweed Survey and Management Plan report – this will lay out any damage caused by the knotweed and the costs of removal and resolution.
Ideally, you should ensure that the seller has the knotweed professionally removed as a condition of sale, with a 10 year, insurance-backed guarantee. Do not simply let the seller try to remove it themselves! If, however, they don’t want to pay for a professional, you should negotiate a price reduction on the sale, reflecting what you’ll have to invest to have the Japanese knotweed removed professionally once you’re the owner.