A landlord in Wales has set a cat among the legal pigeons after winning a landlord Japanese knotweed compensation case in the Court of Appeal.
Its three judges have agreed that Marc Davies, 38, must be paid just shy of �5,000 by his local authority Bridgend council which, it was established, had allowed knotweed to spread from a local cycle track it owned onto the graden of the landlord's property in the village of Nan-y-Moel in the Ogmore Valley, which is tenanted.
In a landmark decision that could open the gate to more claims against local authorities and other land owners, the Court of Appeal has ruled that Davies is entitled to compensation for the '�blight' affecting his property following the weed's invasion of his garden.
The Court of Appeal judges, which have now overturned two earlier decisions by lower courts that did not go Davies way, concluded that although work had been completed to remove knotweed from the site '�as best as it can be' by the council, there had been a '�residual' diminution in value of the property, also called '�blight', to the value claimed.
Tom Carter (pictured), the barrister who represented Davies, has confirmed this is an important decision, saying: 'It confirms that a homeowner who suffers a loss in the value of their home from the stigma left by Japanese knotweed even after it has been treated can recover damages for that loss.'�
Large sums are involved despite the small compensatory sum '� it has cost Davies' local authority, Bridgend Council, some �300,000 in legal costs thus far.
Read more about Japanese knotweed
The decision also highlights the huge problems that knotweed presents namely that once land has been contaminated by the plant and its rhizomes, the remedial measures needed to make any alterations to that land including in this case just gardening in it, can cause disturbance and cost.
This is because, in many cases, the entire topsoil has to be removed and disposed of to clear the land of the weed.