A NUMBER of West Cork homeowners who are in fear of the destructive Japanese knotweed devaluing their properties have contacted a law firm.
Jody Cantillon of Cantillons Solicitors on the South Mall in Cork city is working with around 20 property owners, several of whom are based in West Cork, who want to know what they can do legally to protect themselves from a neighbour’s weed.
‘We have also been contacted by people who have been unable to sell their property, because when an engineer carries out the pre-purchase inspection, knotweed is noted. Given the cost in treating and removing the infected soil, no purchaser will buy the property,’ said Jody.
Jody is currently involved in a case involving a Munster house owner which is before the High Court.
‘Our client’s neighbour had Japanese knotweed on their property and they failed to appropriately treat the plant and remove it,’ he explained. ‘Ultimately, it spread onto our client’s property, resulting in damage which may cost up to €100,000 to repair. Our client’s ability to enjoy the use of their land has been wiped out. Further, it would be very difficult to sell the property in its current state,’ added Jody. He pointed out that courts in the UK have imposed sanctions on landowners where the weed, which originated on their land, had caused damage and loss.
Jody advises that if a person has a concern about the weed, they should start by writing to the owner/occupier of the land. People can also seek indemnity if the problem is on their land but was not of their making.
‘It is a costly situation to rectify, but it’s more costly if you’re sued,’ he warned.
Last May, The Southern Star reported on 51 social houses at Beechgrove in Clonakilty which were in jeopardy due to the presence of the highly invasive and massively destructive knotweed.
Residents in the nearby Woodlands Estate off Fernhill Road were concerned after they found large Japanese knotweed plants growing on the site.