The Court of Appeal has handed down judgment in favour of two homeowners in a legal battle relating to Japanese Knotweed.
The homeowners owned adjoining semi-detached bungalows in South Wales. Japanese Knotweed, notorious for its fast ferocious growth and ability to grow between slabs of concrete, was present on nearby land owned by Network Rail. Japanese Knotweed is very disruptive and can take years to eradicate.
In 2015 the homeowners began private nuisance claims against Network Rail arguing that the presence of Japanese Knotweed on Network Rail’s land caused loss of amenity in respect of the two bungalows by reducing their respective values.
In handing down Judgment in the homeowners’ favour, Sir Terence Etherton, master of the rolls said that Japanese Knotweed and its roots (or Rhizomes) can be described as a ‘natural hazard’ and are a ‘classic example of an interference with the amenity value of the land’.
The upshot for conveyancers and homeowners alike is that care should be taken when completing the Law Society Property Information Forms, particularly where Japanese Knotweed is present within seven metres of a property.
Lawyers dealing with the case have warned that ‘untruthfully answer ‘no’ or ‘don’t know’ to the relevant question on the property information form may enable the buyer to seek to rescind the contract or claim damages in respect of the reduction in value of the property.
If you are buying or selling a property and wish to seek advice please contact our Property Department in r Bicester on 01869 252244 or Oxford on 01865 244661.
Source: Law Society Gazette