Property owner fined £18k for not remediating Japanese Knotweed
Japanese Knotweed growing on a property based in Bristol has been the cause of a property firm being indicted with a hefty fine. The Japanese Knotweed affected 7 properties and Bristol City Council prosecuted MB Estate Limited which owned the offending property.
The presence of the Japanese Knotweed was not highlighted in house surveys undertaken by the owners of the affected properties, even though the plant was thought to be reaching 8 foot. Unfortunately for the buyers, they were unaware of the adverse effects Japanese Knotweed could cause on their properties and it was only when one homeowner Googled the plant that the severity of the situation became clear.
When the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 came into effect, it was only then the local council were able to take action against the property management firm. The firm had various opportunities to take steps to remediate the invasive weed and unfortunately did not take adequate steps to prevent the legal action to be taken against them.
With cases such as Waistell v Network Rail making headlines recently, it has set a precedent for other homeowners who are affected by the troublesome weed that there are cautions in place to ensure encroachment does not occur.
What should you do if you find Japanese Knotweed growing on your property?
If you are looking to buy or sell a property, you will most likely have heard of Japanese Knotweed. Although it is not illegal to allow Japanese Knotweed growing on your property but it is illegal to allow it to spread – what is your responsibility when it comes to invasive weeds?
Japanese Knotweed is extremely invasive and can cause structural damage if it is left untreated – due to this, most mortgage lenders will not release funds against the property if there is any indication of a growth nearby. If you are looking to sell your property, it may prove useful to ensure you have a management plan in place before putting the property on the market.
DIY methods to remove Japanese Knotweed are not recommended as most mortgage lenders will not accept methods which have not been conducted by a qualified contractor. You may end up paying a lot more than what you need to! Qualified contractors are also able to offer guarantees on their work, which means if the Japanese Knotweed does come back, the property will be protected.
What the Waistell vs Network Rail case means for you…
We have all heard about the landmark Japanese Knotweed case of Mr Waistell v Network Rail, but what exactly was the precedent which was set following the hearing?
Japanese Knotweed was typically used by Network Rail to stabilise railway embankments in the past, and due to this, most railways in Britain are dotted with stands of the invasive weed. Unfortunately for Mr Waistell, his property backed onto one such area. Although there was no Japanese Knotweed growing on Mr Waistell’s property, it was in such close proximity, so as that his solicitors were able to argue that it was interfering with “quiet enjoyment of the property”. This shows us that if there is a premise for Japanese Knotweed to spread onto your property, you have some legal standing.
If you do find yourself in a situation where there is Japanese Knotweed growing within close proximity, we would always advise initially getting in touch with a Japanese Knotweed remediation company as they will be able to come out and conduct a survey for you to get a more detailed insight into the situation at hand.Following the survey, the company should be able to provide you with a management plan to eradicate the Japanese Knotweed. Depending on the extent of the Japanese Knotweed, you may not be prepared to pay for these costs, and this is when getting in touch with a legal professional will come in handy.
If you think there is Japanese Knotweed growing on a neighbouring property or site, please feel free to get in touch with us on 0800 1337 444!
Neighbours with Knotweed – a guide to avoid disputes
Your home is your castle.
And if you are particularly house proud, you will know that the outside of your home is just as important as the interior. So what should you do when you notice Japanese Knotweed growing in the property next door?
Ideally, you will get in touch with the neighbour initially to see if there is an eradication plan in place. Once you know the status of the offending plant, you should be able to then decide your next steps on how to proceed.
If there is a management plan in place, there’s no need to worry as the neighbours are adequately dealing with the problem. If not, there a few options you can explore:
Arrange for a Japanese Knotweed professional to come out and assess the situation: by doing this you are able to determine as to whether or not the Japanese Knotweed will affect your property directly. They will then be able to advise of any recommendations they may have with regards to your property.
Get in touch with the Environmental Agency: if the Japanese Knotweed has spread over into your garden, your neighbour is liable to pay for the costs of remediation. This is because although it is not illegal to have Japanese Knotweed growing on your property but it is illegal to allow it to spread, and by doing so, your neighbour may be faced with a fine of up to £2,500.00 plus the remediation costs!
Take out your own management plan: with your neighbours permission, it may prove easier to take out a management plan yourself for the remedial work on their property – this would be the best situation if you are looking to sell your property, as many mortgage lenders will refuse to allow funds against a property which has Japanese Knotweed growing within 7m of the boundary. This is obviously a last resort and you may need to decide whether or not the sale of the property is worth the treatment cost.
If you think you may have Japanese Knotweed growing on your property, speak to the experts! Get in touch today!
A P35 Expert Report is a legal document which is produced in court. It includes all of the information about your particular case of Japanese Knotweed. You would normally need a P35 Expert Report when Japanese Knotweed has crossed a boundary or has caused some liability for one of the parties. This would include a neighbouring property being devalued due to the Japanese knotweed being present on a neighbouring property. This, therefore, might mean that to take your case to court, you need expert documents to prove liability. All our P35 Expert Reports are PCA compliant and in accordance with PD 35 and CPR 35 regulations. This ensures that we provide the most accurate and helpful information in your court case. We work in conjunction with solicitors all over the country to ensure that their clients are provided with an accurate and impartial account of any Japanese Knotweed issues.
What do we do?
Our duty, as the experts, is to provide the court with the correct information required in our field of expertise. As such, our reports contain all of the information the court will require when reaching a verdict and we treat each case with the utmost care and comprehensibility to ensure the desired result is achieved. We are available to answer any questions which may arise, either from yourself or the court, ensuring a full and informed view is given to the members of the jury. Being one of the few companies in the UK that can deal with P35 Expert Reports AND is PCA accredited means that we will be held accountable to the standards set by the PCA, to ensure that we meet your expectations and more! If required, we can also appear in court as the expert witness to answer any questions. We have a full list of our qualifications and accreditations here.
What is included in our reports?
We can work on a joint or single party basis and will ensure that you receive your P35 Expert Report within 48 hours of us going out to the site. This quick turnaround will be fundamental in arguing your case! As our experts have years of experience and knowledge, we will be able to answer any queries you may have throughout the entire process. We work diligently on all cases to ensure that you have valid and comprehensive information to present to the court.
The reports are written solely by ourselves, so you can be sure that the content has not been influenced by the opinions of any external parties. This is crucial as the court will require a source which is completely informative and unbiased. If this is not the case, then the report will be declared as void.
Landlords are being advised to familiarise themselves with the dangers of the troublesome weed. Japanese Knotweed affects around 5% of all properties in the UK. It has the potential to cause structural damage to buildings and walls. This means around 1,250,000 properties are currently affected by Japanese Knotweed!
Japanese Knotweed is estimated to be responsible for £170m worth of property repairs every year. The plant is that harmful it can cause damage to concrete, tarmac and even river banks. Its roots can grow up to three metres in depth and by seven metres in direction. The is no 6-mile stretch exempt from the weed. If you own a property, whether it be residential or commercial, it is worth having a site survey just to ensure that your property is safe from possible damage.
Spotting the Weed
Initial signs that Japanese Knotweed could be present in your garden will take the form of red and purple shoots, often shooting up in the spring. These are accompanied by rolled back leaves, which often spread and grow at a quick pace, up to 10cm a day in the summer. In the winter, the weed does not die, it remains dormant and has brown stems which are hollow. To see more examples of the notorious weed click here.
Japanese knotweed is a fast-growing, invasive weed. It is relatively attractive to the eye and especially attractive to insects. Japanese knotweed can remain dormant for over twenty years, but once it begins to grow, it can spread at a length of 1.2 metres per month. It develops a series of underground roots and shoots, referred to as rhizomes, which can grow out for several metres from the original stand. It is characteristic by its hollow, purple stems and heart-shaped leaves. If you would like to know what Japanese Knotweed looks like in the Winter, carry on reading!
Japanese Knotweed in the winter
Japanese knotweed displays certain characteristics in the winter to make it more recognisable to the public. As we move into winter, the leaves of Japanese Knotweed will fall from the plant and the canes will die off. The canes turn brown and have a dark orange centre. The canes stay standing throughout the winter months and can occasionally be seen amongst new stands in the summer.
What do I do if I think I have Japanese Knotweed?
If you think you have Japanese knotweed on your property- do not touch it. It can cause serious damage to your property and the surrounding environment, and the attempted removal of it can have serious environmental and legal implications. If you aren’t sure, and need professional advice on identifying Japanese knotweed, please contacts us.
Japanese knotweed is a fast-growing, invasive weed, It is rapidly becoming one of Britain’s most invasive weeds. Japanese Knotweed can remain dormant for over twenty years, but once it begins to grow, it can spread at a pace of 1.2 metres per month and up to a whopping 10cm a day. It develops a series of underground roots and shoots, referred to as rhizomes, which can grow out for several metres from the original stand. It is characteristic by its hollow, purple stems and heart-shaped leaves. If you need more information on this, we have a page dedicated to helping our clients to identify Japanese knotweed.
Why Should I Attend Your CPD Course?
CPD stands for Continuing Professional Development and is a requirement in most industries. Anyone who is a member of a professional body is likely to have CPD requirements laid out to them. There is usually a set amount of mandatory hours required to complete annually. CPD exists to help people manage and record their own development on an ongoing basis, allowing the individual to reflect and review what they have learnt.
Japanese Knotweed Expert is proud to be a member of the CPD Certification Service. They are the leading institution for CPD accreditation, operating a strict course approval process.
As a result of our 20 years experience in the invasive weed industry, we are now offering a CPD course in which we educate you, the learner, on how to identify Japanese Knotweed. This course is immensely useful for a wide range of professionals, including but not limited to surveyors, solicitors, builders, architect and estate/letting agents.
Further information regarding our CPD course or any other services can be found on our website. If you have any questions please contact us on 0800 1337 444.
Earlier this year, Japanese Knotweed Expert held its inaugural ‘Train the Surveyor’ event for property surveyors. This training session was designed to help professionals learn more about Japanese Knotweed: from identifying it, all the way through to the treatments involved in eradicating it.
The feedback we received following our first session was overwhelmingly positive, and we were certain our course was good enough to merit an accreditation – so we made it happen!
We are immensely proud to announce that we are now officially CPD certified, which means that time spent attending our ‘Train the Surveyor’ event can be used towards annual mandatory training hours for a range of professionals.
Look out for details of our next ‘Train the Surveyor’ session, and if you’d like to register your interest, then get in touch!
Summer is finally here, and the sun has started to shine – bliss! You will have noticed that your gardens are flourishing due to the warm weather – but how do you know if you have Japanese Knotweed growing on your property?
Summer is probably one of the easiest times to spot Knotweed. In the early spring you would have seen red or purple shoots appearing through the ground, which would have turned into bamboo-like canes. By now, Japanese Knotweed will be fully grown and therefore easier to spot. The mature stems are hollow and have a distinctive purple speckle, with the leaves growing in a zig-zag pattern.
As we move into late summer, clusters of creamy white flowers will start to appear on the plant. These flowers are nectar rich, so you may identify the presence of Knotweed by noticing more insects in your garden.
If you think you have Japanese Knotweed on your property and need professional advice on identifying Japanese Knotweed, please contact us.