FAQ’s - Knotweed and Mortgages

What is a Knotweed Mortgage-Compliant Programme

A Mortgage-Compliant Programme from PBA Solutions is for customers who require lending in relation to a property sale, re-mortgage or development where Japanese knotweed has caused a lender to halt proceedings; MCPs are specifically designed to meet mortgage lender requirements and get the sale process moving again.

With our MCP comes the availability of a 5 or 10 year independent IBGs against knotweed re-growth, an Escrow account facility, a detailed report on the infestation, with a scaled plan drawing of knotweed locations and a formal Knotweed Management Plan (KMP) written by a qualified consultant. The report will also detail the scheduled treatment and monitoring programme. Monitoring the property after the treatment program has finished is a requirement of the insurance provider.

MCP stages

How much does a Mortgage-Compliant Programme cost?

The cost of a typical MCP will vary but a typical example is set out below.

  • MCP survey, detailed report and Knotweed Management Plan
  • Contract set up, provision of 10 year Insurance Backed Guarantee, Escrow setup.
  • Three years of herbicide treatments
  • Two years of post-treatment monitoring
  • Cost: £3k (ex vat)

The example above should be taken as a guide only as a number of different factors will influence the total cost.

How long does it take to get the survey report and KMP?

We aim to survey the subject property as quickly as possible and, from the point of survey being completed, production of the report and KMP will normally take up to five working days. We try to be as responsive as possible, but please bear in mind that during the spring and summer we are dealing with hundreds of different cases.

What is an Escrow?

Escrow accounts are third-party bonded bank accounts. In the MCP scenario, an Escrow is used to fund the treatment programme up front. Lenders like Escrow accounts because they know the money is safely held away from the contractor, the treatments are all pre-funded and the funds can only be used for one purpose (in this case, the knotweed treatments). The Escrow we use also provides cover during the treatment programme, so that another specialist company will complete any outstanding treatments in the event of PBA being unable to do so.

With all our control programs we undertake to treat the whole infestation and not just the growth within your own property. Free access and acceptance by all property owners for PBA to treat knotweed is required. Additional areas of infestation and access problems may incur extra charges.

How long does a MCP last?

The length of Mortgage-Compliant Programmes vary with the size and complexity of the job in hand but a typical programme gives you three or four years of treatments, two years of monitoring and then five or ten years of guarantee. Some treatment programmes have to be longer, with five or six years’ duration being the extreme.  In most cases, altogether a customer with a MCP will receive between ten and fifteen years of treatments, monitoring and guarantee cover.

Insurance Backed Guarantees with PBA Solutions

Many clients and also mortgage lenders need additional reassurance that once a Japanese knotweed treatment or removal programme is complete, the area affected will be covered by a bespoke guarantee. Many insurance companies will not insure against damage caused by invasive weeds. As Japanese knotweed specialists, PBA Solutions can provide a product that has been designed to meet the demands of the banks and building societies.

PBA Solutions uses an IBG specifically developed for PCA (Property care Association) accredited invasive weed specialists and their clients. As part of our quality assurance procedure, the IBG provider reviews every Knotweed Management Plan prior to issue of the IBG. This enables PBA Solutions to provide high quality guaranteed Japanese knotweed solutions, including competitively priced policies for all of our customers.

What cover does the IBG provide?

Our five and ten year Insurance Backed Guarantees cover our customers against the unlikely reoccurrence of Japanese knotweed growth after a treatment programme is complete. Furthermore, this product will pay for an alternative PCA accredited company to complete the work, as contracted, in the unlikely event that PBA Solutions cannot.

A Point of Caution

There are, of course, imitators offering expensive products from well known high street insurers. The purpose of an IBG is simply to protect the consumer if things go wrong with the specialist contractor. If the policy is expensive it is often because the insurer knows the contractor and their work to be high risk. Our recommendation is to use a PCA accredited company - such as PBA - so that you invest as much in service as you do in the guarantee!

When does the IBG start?

The IBG kicks in after the treatment programme and the two years of monitoring are completed. You will, however, receive documentation at the start of the mortgage-compliant programme that shows that an IBG has been provided, so you can keep your lender happy.

Is there any protection during the treatment programme?

Yes indeed. Our Escrow account facility is a funding system with a warranty included. If the original contracted specialist cannot meet their obligations to you, the Escrow provider can be called upon to find a suitable alternative contractor to finish the treatment programme to the specified standard. The Escrow also provides third party dispute resolution. Using the Escrow facility not only protects our customers but also ensures that their IBG is not compromised if anything happens to the contracted company.

Do I have to buy an IBG?

You’ll most likely need an IBG if you are selling, or remortgaging, your property. This is because most lenders now demand IBGs as part of the package. However, if you want something simpler and you’re in no rush to move, PBA Solutions offers a standard two year company guarantee on all contract treatment programmes. Just phone or email us and ask for details.

Which lenders like to say ‘Yes’?

Nearly all of them, nearly all of the time! Things have moved on over recent years; lenders are now far more likely to say yes (if you have the MCP documentation to show them) because they know that a PCA accredited company will take on the risk of the treatment programme and do a good job.

Why should I choose PBA Solutions?

We’re not in the business of rubbishing the competition because we know people will make up their own minds. PBA stands out as a specialist company that is rooted in experience but with its eyes on the future. We’re always trying to improve our methods and practice and we always put our customers’ needs first. We won’t try to scare and we don’t do the hard sell, because we know we don’t have to. We’re not the cheapest out there; cheap things don’t work well. We know we’re not expensive, because expensive is something that’s not worth the money you paid.