Q&A - Network Rail's Japanese Knotweed is depriving me of taking COVID stamp duty holiday advantage

Q:    When the government announced the COVID stamp duty holiday on property purchases, values in my area rose and I decided to take advantage of the situation and move.  However, when I got a valuation, the estate agent noticed that from my upstairs windows he could see Japanese Knotweed growing on adjoining land.

The agent said this could affect the value of my property and cause a potential buyer to be refused a mortgage. He said I should find out who owned the land and contact them about treating it. Having discovered the land is owned by Network Rail I contacted them, but so far I have got nowhere in getting them to deal with the problem. Do I need to see a solicitor?

A:    Network Rail have already been ordered by the court on at least one occasion to pay compensation to homeowners affected by the potential spread of Japanese Knotweed from land owned by them.

All landowners have a legal responsibility to ensure that Japanese Knotweed growing on their land does not encroach onto neighbouring land. If they fail to take measures to prevent any spread, they face being issued with a community protection order. Failure to comply with such an order can result in a hefty fine.                  

Your estate agent was quite correct when he said that mortgage lenders are starting to refuse loans on property where there is evidence, or a potential threat, of Knotweed. It is also possible that the value of property where it exists, or where there is a danger of it spreading from elsewhere, could depreciate. Taking on a large organisation like Network Rail is however no easy task, so seeking advice from a solicitor would be a wise move. If you have neighbours who are potentially affected also, you could see if they wished to join you in seeking to resolve the problem.

Article 26/10/2020

This question has been answered by Rod Waters, a Senior Solicitor with GHP Legal.  If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients.  In accordance with government guidelines, most of our lawyers are currently working remotely which means you may not now receive a response as promptly as you may expect. Please kindly bear with us and we will respond as soon as we are able.

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