Court Grants Damages For Japanese Knotweed Infestation

13 Aug 2019

The recent case of Williams v Network Rail Infrastructure [2017] has set an important precedent when dealing with Japanese knotweed. Property Litigation Lawyer at Osbornes law, Shilpa Mathuradas, comments on the case and what it may mean for those suffering with Japanses knotweed.

The facts of the case

The claimant, Williams, was an adjoining freehold owner of a semi-detached bungalow in South Wales. The Claimant’s property abutted a railway embankment which was owned by Network Rail. The embankment was infested with Japanese knotweed which had invaded the Claimant’s land.

The claimant brought his claim as a private nuisance claiming that the knotweed had effected their foundations and was therefore having a detrimental effect on his ability to sell his property.

Their first argument was that the knotweed represented an encroachment onto their land. This argument failed on the grounds that although there had been encroachment there was no direct evidence that the knotweed had damaged the foundations

The second argument was that the presence of the knotweed on the defendant’s land was an interference with the quiet enjoyment or amenity value of the claimant’s land as it affected his ability to sell his property at market value. The court was persuaded by this argument and agreed that the knotweed on the defendant’s land was causing a blight on the claimant’s property.

The Court’s decision

The court did not grant the claimants an injunction requiring the defendant to eradicate the knotweed on its land. Instead the claimants were granted damages for the following:

  • The cost of knotweed surveyors, treatment programmes and insurance backed guarantees.
  • The residual diminution in value of their properties after the treatment had occurred
  • General damages for loss of amenity and interference with quiet enjoyment

This case has been significant in determining that the Japanese knotweed is an actionable nuisance even before it causes damage to the neighbouring land because of the effect it has on the value of the neighbouring land.

Click here to read Shilpa’s previous article Japanese knotweed-  knot in my backyard.

To speak with Shilpa about any property issue you can contact her by calling 020 7485 8811 or by requesting a call back online.


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