A COUPLE are suing their neighbours for £250,000 after claiming garden weeds have grown so wild they're unable to open the back door.
Christopher Clarke and Louise Kaye say "rampant" Japanese knotweed is wrapped around the foundations of their £1.6million home in posh Kensal Green, north London.
And they're taking Talha and Minha Abbasi to court for compensation after claiming the invasive plant first ran wild on their land.
Mr Clarke, director of cycling charity Club Peoloton, claims the weed has climbed through the back door of the detached house and surrounded the property.
He and Ms Kaye, who bought the property in 2014 for £1.15m, allege roots have also tunnelled under their border from the house next door – wiping hundreds of thousands of pounds from its value.
But Mr and Mrs Abbasi say they're not responsible for the knotweed.
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They claim the plant must have been on the land when they bought it for £166,000 in 2016.
Japanese knotweed can cause severe damage to buildings and infrastructure if left unchecked.
It can make it significantly harder for homeowners to secure a mortgage or sell their home.
And once the weed is established, it's so difficult to get rid of that experts treat cuttings as licensed hazardous waste.
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Barrister Andy Career, acting for Mr Clarke and Ms Kaye, said the couple are claiming damages for "nuisance for the encroachment of Japanese knotweed".
Central London County Court heard their home has been devalued by up to 15 per cent because of the infestation.
They've also been "unable to obtain mortgage finance" on the property because of the knotweed, it was heard.
The couple had an infestation on their own land when they moved in – but after becoming aware of it, they had it professionally eradicated in 2015, it was said.
Just two years later, an expert allegedly told them there was knotweed on their neighbours' land that "posed an imminent threat of damage".
They urged the Abbasis to hire experts to dig three metres into the land while propping up both houses in order to get rid of the weed altogether.
However, the couple instead employed "general contractors" who didn't properly deal with the issue, it was heard.
A lawyer wrote to the Abbasis in 2016 informing them of the problem and urging them to get it dealt with.
It was claimed that "despite various assurances", no steps were actually taken to treat the problem.
But Tom Carter, for Mr and Mrs Abbasi, told the judge there had been an issue with knotweed since at least 2012.
"This means that it encroached before the defendants purchased the land," he said.
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"The defendants contend that they cannot be responsible for any losses which the claimants may prove, because those losses were incurred before any duty or breach by the defendants."
The judge is expected to give a ruling on the case at a later date.
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