The effect of Japanese knotweed on property has been well documented over recent years with images of the plant growing through concrete foundations and destabilised buildings. Knotweed is a highly invasive and fast spreading weed. It is extremely difficult to eradicate and normally requires specialist treatment.

Another case appeared in the media this week announcing that Network Rail has lost an appeal over damages awarded to two homeowners after Japanese knotweed encroached on their land in Bridgend County.

Stephen Williams and Robin Waistell won a claim against Network Rail which owns the land behind their homes in Maesteg. Mr Waistell was awarded £15,000.

There is a growing area of case law in respect of claims against rail companies, for knotweed which has escaped from railway embankments into gardens bordering them. Given that railway embankments are often overgrown and poorly maintained they have become a breeding ground for the weed.

However, it’s not just land bordering railways either. Knotweed can be found in various places throughout England and Wales.

Many property owners are generally unaware of the presence of knotweed on their property. This can often be discovered when a property owner comes to sell their property and the presence of knotweed is revealed by a prospective purchaser’s survey. At this point many purchasers will pull out. This can be devastating for the seller.

Until recent years Japanese knotweed was little heard of. When selling your house you will be required to fill in a Law Society Property Information Questionnaire. The questionnaire now includes a specific question asking if Japanese knotweed is present.

A buyer should have a good look around the property and neighbourhood. The weed spreads quickly and can easily infest your garden if a neighbouring property is infected. The costs of total removal can also be very expensive.

If you are considering selling your property then think ahead and start an approved eradication scheme, prior to putting the property on the market.

For further advice, contact us on 01792 468684 or email


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