Mortgage refused because of Japanese knotweed?
Is Japanese knotweed preventing you buying or selling property due to Japanese knotweed?
Mortgage lenders including the high street banks will refuse to lend money in the form of a mortgage where their surveyor identifies the presence of Japanese knotweed on the property. Refusal has also resulted where no Japanese knotweed is present on the site, but is on adjoining land. Surveyors employed by the banks are instructed to look out for Japanese knotweed, and whilst they may on occasion miss it, our experience shows they usually do identify knotweed correctly.
Banks refuse mortgages because the plant can cause significant property damage, and can devalue the property. This affects the loan to value ratio and reduces the value of the security held by the bank.
The good news is that we do have several residential solutions with an insurance backed guarantee (IBG) underwritten by LLOYD's OF LONDON that satisfies most lenders. The methods range from herbicide treatment programmes using foliar spray, or in some cases stem injection, to physical removal methods such as Resi-Dig-Out™. For much larger areas our commercial Xtract or Dig and Dump solutions may be appropriate.
If you are a buyer or seller with hugely different perceptions of the scale of the knotweed problem (and can't agree on apportionment of costs) you may find our Survey and Japanese Knotweed Management Plans of use. These can be commissioned by buyer, seller or jointly, to ensure a completely impartial view is given by a professional firm, able to undertake the eradication work, and provide a guarantee that can be assigned to the new owner upon completion of the sale.
If you are a vendor trying to sell property infested with knotweed
You should employ a professional firm specialising in the eradication of Japanese knotweed as soon as possible. If you put a property on the market that is affected by Japanese knotweed the chances are that any buyer you find will pull out, incurring you in abortive fees and unnecessary stress. If you are lucky enough to find a buyer who does not need a mortgage you may well find some last minute negotiations to reduce the offered price due to the Japanese knotweed problem.
You should not try to hide the problem by cutting the knotweed down - a good surveyor will still spot it and any trust between buyer and seller will be lost. The Law Society's TA6 form will ensure that the buyers' solicitors will ask whether the property is or has been affected by Japanese knotweed, and if you knowingly give false information, you could be sued by your buyer for misrepresentation. Also be aware that you should notify your Estate Agent as the presence of Japanese knotweed is considered a "material fact" in the official guidance to Consumer Protection Regulations.
If you are a prospective buyer of property infested with knotweed
You may have set your heart on a property and have now been told by your mortgage company that knotweed is present so they will not lend. The banks have taken a strong stance and you should not underestimate the potential problems you might acquire if you are able to complete on the purchase. Since we know we can eradicate knotweed, if you think the property is right for you in every other respect, then the presence of knotweed should NOT deter you from buying the property.
We can carry out a site survey and produce a Knotweed Management Plan in accordance with RICS Information Paper 27 so that you are aware of the liabilites you are taking on, and the costs for guaranteed eradation. We would normally suggest you speak to the vendor and agree who is going to pay. It is important that the buyer has confidence in the knotweed specialist and the proposed method as it is the buyer who will have to live with the problem if eradication is not achieved. For this reason we would suggest that the buyer discourages the vendor to find a solution that may be cheap and ineffective, and not in the long term interests of the owner of the land.
As the mortgage cannot be advanced until the knotweed problem has been solved, we usually enter into contract with the vendor, with the guarantee element being assigned across to the buyer at exchange of contracts or completion.
Learn more about Japanese Knotweed...