Housing association pays homeowner £32.5k after weed invades garden

A resident has been compensated £32,500 after a plant – classified as one of the worst weeds in the world – invaded his garden.

The property owner, who feared a bank might refuse a mortgage on the property, sued Notting Hill Genesis housing association after the Japanese Knotweed spread from a neighbouring site.

A builder in the borough contacted lawyers two years ago after spotting the species – which spreads so quickly that planting it can be a criminal offence – on the land of the terraced house he had owned for 32 years.

The owner – referred to as Mr V, of Denham Road, Peckham, told the solicitors, Angelus Law, he thought the weed had spread from a neighbouring piece of land.

Angelus Law instructed experts in the management and removal of Japanese Knotweed to inspect Mr V’s land, identify the source of the infestation and to say the best way of treating and removing the weeds from Mr V’s property.

The experts confirmed it had spread from a neighbouring plot owned by the housing association – where the knotweed was more than five years old.

It showed signs of pre-treatment – which strongly suggested the housing association had been aware of the problem.

The distance between the weeds and Mr V’s property suggested the knotweed was the most virulent kind.

There had not been any structural damage to Mr V’s property, but the experts recommended a five-year weed killer programme costing more than £5,000.

A valuer from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors said the invasion had knocked £20,000 from the value of the house.

Angelus Law told the housing association it was obligated by law to rectify the problem and compensate Mr V for the loss of his home’s value.

The housing association initially denied any liability, but in the end agreed a settlement of £32,500.00 without the need for court action.

Japanese Knotweed, first introduced to the UK in the 19th century from South East Asia, is common along railway embankments and poorly maintained land. If left untreated, it can spread and hit property values.

Banks are often unwilling to give mortgages for properties affected. It can only be treated and removed by specialist contractors.

Notting Hill Genesis has ben contacted for comment.

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