UK homeowners are facing one of the biggest problems in recent memory: Japanese knotweed.
What are you meant to do if your house has a problem with the pest? How does this Japanese weed affect your chances of getting a mortgage?
This post is going to show you everything you need to know on how to comply with Japanese knotweed legislation.
By the end of the article, you’ll know if you’re still eligible for a mortgage even with the weed present.
Why Is Japanese Knotweed Dangerous?
Japanese knotweed is a highly invasive perennial plant which causes untold harm to thousands of properties and sites each year in the UK.
Without proper containment, it can cause a lot of damage. Especially when clearing up land with knotweed on it.
If it ever gets as bad as on the right, you will have a big problem.
Its stems are strong enough to break through paving during its growth, causing noticeable breakages.
The roots can grow to 7m in length. If they get under your house, it can do serious harm to the foundations and bring down entire walls.
The longer it goes untreated, the more it spreads and the more land the roots start to cover.
It can take a while to remove the infestation from the property if not treated correctly.
If you are looking to buy a home, the problems can last for a very long time.
Mortgage lenders are not comfortable lending to buyers if it continues to grow.
Who is responsible for containing Japanese Knotweed?
If it’s on your land, you must deal with it.
According to the UK government, you must prevent Japanese knotweed on your land spreading into the wild.
This specific legislation comes from within Schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. There is a number of laws that have been passed in order to control the spreading of the pest.
If you have any soil that is contaminated with Japanese knotweed, you could be directly responsible for causing ecological damage.
Technically speaking, you are under no legal obligation to remove it from your property.
However, the danger with Japanese knotweed is that it has a remarkable ability to spread rapidly.
If any of contamination lands on a neighbour’s land or any public property, you could be prosecuted or given a community protection notice. This comes directly from the UK government.
With this in mind, if you have any Japanese knotweed on your property, we highly advise you call us ASAP to prevent criminal charges being brought against you.
In the words of the Property Care Association:
If landowners take all reasonable steps, and exercise all due diligence to avoid spreading the plant, then they will be better protected against prosecution.
In order to reduce the potential of fines/prosecution, landowners should have a management plan for the Japanese Knotweed on their property and be able to show that they are following it, e.g. they have hired a PCA approved consultant and/or contractor to manage the plants appropriately.
If you’re unsure either you or your prospective property has it or not, read this article on Japanese Knotweed identification.
Getting A Mortgage On Japanese Knotweed Infested Property
For those of you that are looking to buy your dream home, Japanese knotweed could be responsible for declining your mortgage application.
The presence of the weed on the property significantly decreases its value.
Sellers have legal obligations to disclose any signs of Japanese knotweed. Under consumer protection regulations, estate agents must also inform potential buyers of its presence.
If you are thinking about buying a house that has the pest present on the property, you must have it eradicated as soon as possible.
Until it has been fully removed, lenders may refuse to progress your application. There must also be proof the weed has been eradicated, such as certificates from professionals.
It’s even possible for some lenders to refuse mortgage applications if any neighbouring property has the presence of Japanese knotweed, even if yours is unaffected.
Mortgage Lenders’ Position
During the buying process, a surveyor will scout out the land and make sure it is fit for purpose.
If they notice any signs of Japanese knotweed, they are required to inform the mortgage lender. This is potentially fatal news for your application.
Individual mortgage lenders will have their own polices on whether they will even lend to you.
Banks and other lenders will take into consideration how severe the invasion is before deciding on your application.
Barclays will not offer you a mortgage until a specialist has been to the site and carried out an assessment.
Leeds Building Society, on the other hand, will outright refuse an application if Japanese knotweed is present.
From a seller’s point of view, it becomes even more difficult to sell property. Because lenders won’t lend, the only solution is to accept cash offers.
This highlights just how important it is to have Japanese knotweed completely removed from the premises.
We Are Removal Specialists
We are an industry leader in Japanese Knotweed removal.
Here at Japanese Knotweed Specialists, we have a number of highly effective Japanese Knotweed treatment, including the use of herbicides to eradicate it completely.
As part of our plan, we include an Insurance Backed Guarantee to give you an extra level of protection.
Once our surveyors have confirmed the severity of the infestation, we can identify the best solution for your property.
As soon as it has been removed, we can provide you with the all-important evidence you need to ensure your dream of owning a home becomes a reality.