Japanese Knotweed

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Japanese Knotweed Mortgage – Mortgage Co

What is Japanese Knotweed and how does it factor into the housing market?

Japanese knotweed or Fallopia Japonica is a non-native invasive plant species that originates from Japan. This aggressive weed was brought to the UK by a scientist in the 19th century, mainly for ornamental reasons for members of high society.

By the early 19th century, control measures were introduced because the dramatic spread of the plant was causing issues, in many cases causing subsidence and properties were needing underpinning. It exploits the gaps in masonry and brickwork and could, in certain circumstances, damage walls.

Can you get a mortgage on a property with Japanese Knotweed?

It is possible to obtain a mortgage if Japanese Knotweed is present, but some lenders will not approve mortgages where there is Japanese Knotweed on the property. It can sometimes depend on the distance between the plant and the property, but there are in excess of 30 lenders that will not lend when Japanese Knotweed is in the vicinity. 

Is it illegal to sell a house with Japanese knotweed?

It is illegal to cause the spread of Japanese knotweed. Causing it to spread may include cutting or digging it up incorrectly. To determine the legality of actually selling a property with Japanese Knotweed in the vicinity, you would require the assistance of a lawyer.

There are likely to be questions on the vendors’ forms and contracts to determine whether there have been any issues with the plant on their property, with potential repercussions should they fail to disclose it.

Is Japanese Knotweed difficult to get rid of? 

It’s not something you can do yourself and you would need a specialist company that deals with invasive species to remove it.  A specialist company will be able to provide confirmation that the Japanese Knotweed is being treated, how it’s been treated, and that it’s been backed by usually a ten year insurance guarantee.

Many lenders will provide a mortgage but they will be looking for information stating how many treatments have been carried out, how many treatments are outstanding if payments are up to date and what insurance backed guarantees are available.

To purchase a property that has Japanese Knotweed what would you need to ask?

Under normal circumstances the estate agent and lender would be aware of such issues and whether they’ve been treated. Treatment can be, in some cases, four or five years in length, so you would expect that your lender would know that it’s been treated. 

The seller should usually tell the estate agent about the Japanese Knotweed treatment and which year they are up to with the treatment plan or whether there is a guarantee available. The estate agent also has a legal obligation to put that information on the property particulars.

Do surveyors check for Japanese Knotweed as standard?

Ordinarily, they would look for Japanese Knotweed in a survey, if it’s a very large plot of land, it might be difficult to check every boundary of the property and neighbouring properties, but if it is not in the property specifics, the chances are a surveyor will find it as part of their standard survey.

Do you have to disclose Japanese Knotweed?

If owners are aware of it, they will need to disclose it when they put the property on the market. It might be easier to contact an invasive weed management company before putting the property on the market so that you can provide certification of treatment.

Is Japanese Knotweed a problem when you’re buying a house?

If there is a Japanese Knotweed problem on the property, you should ensure that there is an invasive weed management report on the property. 

You can feel more confident if the issue has been treated or it is in the process of being treated, and the payments to the treatment company cover the full four or five year treatment. A report on the severity of the Japanese Knotweed would also be helpful.

How do Mortgage Lenders decide whether to lend on a property with Japanese Knotweed?

Many will lend based on the report that you’ve got, which is categorised in four categories by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. Four is the most severe and one the least severe. 

Normally it can cause issues if the Japanese knotweed is within seven metres of the boundary of the property. Certain lenders will only lend in category one or two and some lenders will lend in all four.

How can The Mortgage Co help when it comes to Japanese Knotweed?

As Mortgage Brokers who are experienced in helping clients to purchase properties with Japanese Knotweed and therefore are aware of which lenders will lend in these circumstances. 

As Mortgage Brokers who are experienced in helping clients to purchase properties with Japanese Knotweed, we are therefore aware of which lenders will lend in these circumstances.

We also have contacts within a local invasive weed management company, so can easily ascertain whether your chosen property could cause an issue to lenders.

Our existing knowledge in this area can save you the time and money of researching which lenders will or won’t accept your application. 

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