What legal implications are there for landowners with Japanese knotweed?
By The JKL Team

What legal implications are there for landowners with Japanese knotweed?

Under UK Law, Japanese knotweed is legally classed as a controlled plant under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (EPA 1990). Landowners face potential legal action for professional negligence if they fail to control Japanese knotweed, affecting property transactions and land development.

There are three issues for landowners:

  1. Legal prosecution and fines
  2. Private nuisance claims
  3. Diminution in property value

Legal issues and fines

Landowners such as property builders or private estates have a ‘Duty of Care’ to ensure knotweed does not spread from their land. It is their responsibility to ensure that Japanese knotweed is either controlled or removed, the consequences of not taking either of these actions are heavy and could lead to prosecution or a fine of up to £5,000.

Landowners must have demonstrable evidence that they have undertaken every possible action to prevent spread. This can be in the form of a Knotweed Management Plan, or evidence of excavation and removal.

Private nuisance claims

If knotweed is allowed to spread onto neighbouring land by the landowner, this can be deemed as a ‘Private Nuisance’ in a court of law. The neighbour can take action (a ‘private nuisance’ or ‘encroachment’ claim) against the landowner for potential damage to property from the underground rhizomes and impacting the land’s commercial value.

Diminution of property/land value

The stigma attached to the presence of knotweed remains. Knotweed must be declared when selling and that may result in a lower valuation provided to market. Whilst a lot of lenders are relaxing their policy on knotweed there are still a significant amount who simply won’t agree to a mortgage, or will offer a much higher rate.

Avoid dispute and legal action

Being proactive and having a survey carried out by a professional contractor is the best way to mitigate risk of the issues outlined above. Book a survey today and find out if you have knotweed – or not!

If you’ve been affected by knotweed on your land and would like some legal advice contact the team. We can also get you connected to our preferred partner on Land Remediation Relief (LRR) which is a valuable tax payment you may be eligible for.