What you need to know about Japanese knotweed and mortgages

Japanese Knotweed | 11th September 2020

Let’s talk about Japanese knotweed and mortgages. Getting a property sold or purchased that has or has had Japanese knotweed can be a mind field. Japanese knotweed mortgage lenders may seem like an impossible pairing but it does not need to be a major hurdle if the real issue of knotweed is understood. Japanese Knotweed seldom causes property damage but contaminates land and Japanese knotweed remediations costs can be high. Even the Government have looked and are seeking a more pragmatic approach to the problem.

At PBA we endorse this and have realised that a pragmatic approach to knotweed is needed.  Using an experienced Knotweed professional prior to putting such a property on the market will greatly help you navigate through the problem of Knotweed ensuring buyers, agents, solicitors and brokers/lenders get the real facts before they get the fake news about knotweed.

japanese knotweed and mortgages

Japanese knotweed mortgage problems

As we all know mortgage lenders don’t like risk. For them, anything that may impact a property value such as Japanese knotweed will impact property values. The reality is that over 95% of buildings with knotweed will not ever be damaged by this invasive weed.

Yes that right the reality is a bit different in that the real problem is that knotweed contaminates land, is expensive to remove and can easily spread to neighbouring property which if allowed may result in a legal dispute. So knotweed management is very important, lenders do need to be cautious but for the right reasons!

So currently the Halifax and many other leading lenders follow RICS recommendations. They have Risk categories which will have implications for a property:

Category 1Knotweed is found in a neighbouring property, more than seven metres, or an empty space like a railway bank or wasteland.
Category 2Knotweed is within seven metres of your property but not within it.
Category 3 It is within the boundaries of the property but is within seven metres from a living space.
Category 4It is within seven metres of the property and causing damage to walls, paths or foundations.

You will need our professional help if a property falls into category 3 &4 but to be honest you will also need help for category 1&2 property so you can ensure that a less serious problem does not get any worse. You will also find that many lenders will want knotweed dug out and removed to landfill if it very close to the dwelling.

While there is pressure to review the RICS stance it is important that knotweed is either controlled with herbicide or removed especially when it is close to a property since it is this space that will be the hardest to remediate and the most used area of a garden and the part of the garden that is most likely to be subject to redevelopment even if that is landscaping. So the irony is that the reasoning behind the RICS advice while differing wildly from the reality, does result in consumers getting the correct outcome.

Unfortunately, Lenders are not the only ones grappling with this problem since Japanese knotweed has been, perhaps wrongly tarnished as a plant that will cause property damage and this alone causes property with knotweed to be devalued. As we have already indicated the real issue with knotweed is contamination and the potential for knotweed to encroach from one property to another and the legal implications this can have. So watch this space, views and opinions will change over time but the reality is that knotweed is a problem plant and not one that should be ignored.

Japanese knotweed mortgage lenders

Different lenders evaluate risk according to their lending appetite. It is therefore critical that you look at the market to find an appropriate lender. Sellers have an obligation to disclose any known property issues and knotweed is one of them, see here.

Therefore if you are considering buying a property with Japanese knotweed then it is very important that you choose a lender that is able to help you.  A useful link for checking this can be found here. However, we have partnered with an experienced Mortgage Broker that is more than able to help. See below.

Japanese knotweed mortgage advice

Buyers are strongly advised to talk to an experienced mortgage broker who understands knotweed. They will approach the best lenders who are most likely to accommodate all the buyer’s needs.  We have collaborated with Tim Rainey an experienced Mortgage Broker who has the first-hand experience with Japanese knotweed and Mortgage lenders. His ability to negotiate with lenders is, in our experience second to none and we know he has assisted many of our clients in obtaining a mortgage on a property with knotweed.  So, if you would like to talk to Tim please complete the form via the link below to request a callback.

Mortage Enquiry

Japanese knotweed removal

When considering a property with knotweed it is worth considering the options that are available for dealing with this invasive plant. Japanese knotweed removal is expensive but is it the closest you will get true knotweed eradication. On the other hand, a much cheaper alternative is to herbicide treat Japanese knotweed. This can be done over several years and costs around £2-3000 in most cases. An excavation would normally start at around £5000K. Herbicide stops knotweed growing but if you want to excavate or re-landscape the area that has or has had knotweed growing then the land will need to be excavated by a competent invasive weed specialist who can guarantee their work. The type of Japanese knotweed control being offered by a seller as part of a property sale is, therefore, an important consideration and one that has financial implications.

There are steps to follow so Japanese knotweed control is mortgage compliant these can be found here.

Japanese knotweed survey

If your buying or selling property, PBA offer a range of knotweed survey and reporting options. For sellers, we even will inspect a property for free when we are in the area. If your buying a property and would like to have a survey done we offer a survey and findings reporting service that is covered by our Professional Indemnity Insurance. We currently are covered for £5m which is a lot higher than many of our competitors.

If you need professional help from a PCA accredited, award-winning, invasive weed specialist look no further. PBA Solutions specialise in knotweed and residential property,  and for more information about Japanese knotweed and mortgage lenders. Call us on 01202 816134 or complete our enquiry form below.

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