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On discovering that the numerous, over powering weeds growing between my brick wall (built at the same time as my house in 1930's) and my neighbour's wooden fence are Japanese knotweed that could damage foundation etc and devalue my property, there is also one of them growing in my garden. I sent a letter to the housing association who are the registered owners of this 'council' property (though I have no idea of the correlation of the council/government regarding this property to the housing association) as advised by www.environetuk.com:

'I am requesting that you take appropriate action to eradicate the Japanese Knotweed on your property and on mine. If you do not then I will be left with no option but to refer this matter to my solicitor to bring a claim in private nuisance against you.'

The reply from the association claimed that the strip of land in question was part of my property. www.environetuk.com referred me to www.japaneseknotweedclaims.com (who state there is a no win no fee policy) who in turn referred me to their legal people: www.excellolaw.co.uk, who after reviewing all info suggested I have a free survey carried out by www.knotweed.co.uk. The report stated that the offending weed is certainly on the neighbours/housing association property. The solicitor at www.excellolaw.co.uk wrote up 'onboarding' documentation which I was to sign, but on reading that despite a 'no win no fee' offer, I will be responsible to pay all disbursements that would be required to bring this case to court, which would amount to at least £900, therefor I am unable to take this case any further due to lack of funds.

Are there any suggestions on how I might be able to proceed?

pansyface

Getting involved in legal battles over land and associated responsibilities is a recipe for disaster. The only people who come out of it smiling and rubbing their hands with glee are the lawyers. Get access to the affected land (shouldn't be a problem since it has been deemed to be yours) , lay your hands on chemicals to kill the knotweed and do that. Kill it and save yourself a load of dosh and angst.

Hi pansyface, thank you. If it really was a no fee no win offer, would have been worth going ahead as there is no real question that it is their land though.

If I were to treat the jk myself (what should I use for this) I wouldn't have a 10 year guarantee to offer potential buyers of my house. Or would I simply deny any knotweed have ever existed on or near my property, though I'm guessing that any potential buyer's surveyor would be able to spot a small sprouting of the stuff?

fidgetbones

Spray it with glyphosate. Let it go brown, cut out stems and burn on site in an incinerator. It will probably regrow in which case repeat every time it pops up..

PS also to get to the weeds I would have to take down their high wooden fence.

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Hi fidgetbones, the house would still be devalued even if I took that approach? I would have to remove their wooden fence to cut out the stems, if you mean from the ground? And I didn't know it was legal to treat myself without informing the council, and also not legal to incinerate jk myself?

pansyface

I can't help you with the finer points of lawyers' offers. I have learned to keep as far away from them as possible. It makes for a simpler and happier life.

Japanese knotweed can be killed. Any garden centre worth its salt will be able to advise you. The stems need to be cut and the poison poured into them (they are hollow) for best results.

Under no circumstances deny that you know/knew about its existence. You could end up accused of making a fraudulent statement if you came to sell your house and didn't mention it. It's on record that you have approached the housing association about it.(Those lawyers again would never let you alone.)

fidgetbones

A long lance to wave over the fence would be useful, but as it goes down into the roots, concentrate on stopping it spreading. Anyway, haven't they already said that land is yours, then so is the fence. Ask the tenants if you can go round to spray it.

fidgetbones

So long as it is eradicated, I don't see what the problem is. Just cutting it down and selling the house in winter, so the new owners have a nasty surprise in Spring, would be a problem if you don't tell them. 

fidgetbones

You must incinerate on site. It is illegal to transport jk to the tip, as it just spreads it.

Hi pansyface, I doubt that it's on any record that I approached the housing association about it. Doubt that they informed any one else, will be in a file of theirs or in the bin.

Currently about 11 feet high. Would it suffice to cut it off above my brick wall which is about 4 feet high and pour poison down the stems at that height?

Hi fidgetbones, I think the idea is that the land up to and consisting of the jk is mine, but the fence is theirs : )

I thought it was against the law to cut it down without professional and council knowledge. I certainly don't mind burning it in my garden.

 

pansyface

Again, I don't know anything about "the law". If you set about killing it and make it your life's work to kill it and succeed in killing it then it's dead. No law needed to say so, it just is.

You could have a go at pouring poison down a four foot stem if you have a narrow funnel and a steady hand. Give it your best shot. You'll have to keep at it, especially come the spring time.

Hi pansyface, I think I might need an professionals 10 year guarantee for it to hold any water that it was successfully under control. Otherwise the stance would be you had it, treated it, but it can come back at any time.

pansyface

Well it's on record there at least. and surveyors are all in cahoots, just like lawyers. Your card is marked. You can't deny you know about it.

Write to the housing association's chief executive. Tell him/her that as his/her employees say the land is yours you intend to take matters into your own hands and deal with the knotweed yourself. Demand access to the property, if you need access, and take dated photos of every stage of the process. Send the chief executive photos by email. He/she will soon get a large boot placed under the rear end of some jobsworth lower down the line.

Here I speak from experience.

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The access to the property is open, via their drive which goes into the  back of the property. I can access on my side as long as I don't have to get down to the roots as only about 1foot between my brick wall and their wooden fence.

So when I spray/pour poison (did anyone say which poison) down the hollow stems, I should take dated photos then?

Should I write to the exec before or after I've treated the plants?

 

By the way, has anyone heard about the parasites Aphalara itadori, an insect native to Japan that only eats the sap from Japanese knotweed. Currently being trialed in few areas in UK by Cabi.org.uk? Trials started approx 2010 and won't be introduced to all UK until determined safe to flora and fauna, which won't be for anther few years.

My land deeds and the professional surveyor from www.knotweed.co.uk was certain it was their land.If I put that question to them they would simply state it's my land up where their wooden fence is.

This house was terraced until bomb took out next door, so extends beyond boundary which is confusing the poor little dears.

pansyface

I'd write now.

Take photos at every stage, before, during after, long shots, close ups, the lot. The thing about photos is you can never have too many.

When the housing assoc took over the properties from the lical authority they will have been given all the information about the land. They know what's what. The thing is, whatever the facts, legal action is not something that you want to get embroiled in. The nearest you want to get to any sort of action is irritating the hell out of the chief exec. That way, they take the action and you sit and wait for it to take effect.

 

I suppose if they really feel I own the land, they would try to sue me. Perhaps they will convince themselves I do.