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Mortgage Dilemmas & Japanese Knotweed

Why is Japanese Knotweed such a problem?

Although many people will say that Japanese Knotweed is aesthetically appealing due to its green leaves and the pretty flowers that grow in spring/summertime, it is actually widely considered as the most invasive, non-native species of plant within the UK & Ireland today.

It was originally introduced into Britain as an ornamental garden plant over 150 years ago. It has no natural pesticide and is able to grow unhindered in poor soil conditions. This, along with its ability to spread from one tiny enzyme and its aggressive growth pattern has resulted in it spreading rapidly throughout the UK at an alarming rate. Many people think that Japanese Knotweed only grows in rural areas, however, this is untrue and it is now often found in many towns and cities across the country.

In its fully mature state, it can grow up to 8’- 9’ and it will suppress the native vegetation around it. It creates a rhizome network (root system) several metres both vertically and horizontally beneath the surface, making it extremely difficult to remove and control the spread of it unless you use a qualified Knotweed specialist like ourselves who has the expertise and qualifications to effectively treat it.

Mortgages & Buying a Property With Japanese Knotweed

The problems associated with having Japanese Knotweed on or close to your property are often exaggerated and misleading, however, the vast majority of mortgage lenders do have the stringent protocols in place when there is mention of Japanese Knotweed on a Home Buyers report.

This is despite a recent study conducted jointly by Leeds University and AECOM which claims that there’s no evidence that Japanese Knotweed causes significant structural damage. In truth, the mere existence of the weed is likely to be an issue during a property sale / purchase when mortgage applications are involved.

Japanese Knotweed is listed on schedule 9, part 2 of The Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981, making it an offence under section 14(2)(a) of the Act to ‘plant or otherwise cause it to grow in the wild’. Due to its invasive and potentially destructive growth, mortgage lenders are always very wary and take great care to evaluate its existence before agreeing to lend money on a property. Japanese Knotweed won’t grow through solid concrete or sound structures, however, it does have the capacity to cause damage to poorly constructed and old outbuildings, drains, paths, underground services and poorly laid concrete surfaces.

A Japanese Knotweed Management Plan by a qualified specialist is normally required if you are applying for a mortgage on a property where there is evidence of Japanese Knotweed before a mortgage lender will agree to lend you the funds on the property. They will have strict guidelines to follow and it will increase the time it takes for a mortgage to be agreed.

Every mortgage lender in the UK forms their own policies when assessing applications where Japanese Knotweed is present on or close to the property for sale and most of them have very stringent protocols in place. There are certain lenders in the UK who have adopted a pragmatic approach where they will stipulate that at a minimum, a Japanese Knotweed Management Plan has to be put in place by a suitably qualified contractor like ourselves. They also normally state the plan needs to be supplemented by an Insurance Backed Guarantee (IBG), as a precursor to a mortgage application being considered.

Japanese Knotweed Management Plans (JKMP)

South Wales Knotweed Removal are certified Japanese Knotweed Management Plan (JKMP) Surveyors and we provide a detailed document to show how we, as your Knotweed contractor, will use the appropriate methods of treatment bespoke to the property or site to control or remove the Knotweed. A Japanese Knotweed Management Plan includes information relating to the severity of the weed on-site, an evaluation of the control options available, a detailed assessment of the risks associated with any control methods and advice on biosecurity. The Japanese Knotweed Management Plan is then updated by us annually following treatment & evaluation. You can find out more about our Japanese Knotweed Management Plans here. Our plans are supplemented with a 10-year Insurance Backed Guarantee (IBG). Our Japanese Knotweed Management Plans ‘stay’ with the property which means it will transfer to any new owners within that 10 year period, irrespective of how many times the property exchanges hands.

Our Japanese Knotweed treatment methods are all endorsed by the Environment Agency Codes of Practice and the industry trade body (The Property Care Association). We are fully qualified through the industry trade body, The Property Care Association (PCA).

No property or site is the same and our experience enables us to adapt and tailor a treatment method to suit you as our customer and the property or land where it is growing.

The Property Care Association (PCA) is the UK’s leading trade association for property care representing specialists within areas such as, damp treatment, domestic ventilation, woodworm/timber decay, structural waterproofing, invasive weed control (including japanese knotweed) and flood restoration across the UK. They are the industry voice for the sectors they represent and they work closely with their members, government departments, academic institutions and other industry bodies with the aim of promoting best practice and protecting consumers.

We will consider a staggered payment schedule for any work that does not involve a 3rd party, for anyone who may require evidence of prepayment in full from the outset (mortgage lenders as an example).

Selling Your Property with Japanese Knotweed

If you think, or know you have Japanese Knotweed on your property, we strongly recommend that you adopt a proactive approach. By having it treated by a suitably qualified professional like ourselves as early as possible when positive identification has been confirmed will reduce the likelihood of it spreading and you will be taking proactive action to control and manage it which can be shown to prospective buyers.

When you are selling a property which has Japanese Knotweed the Law Society’s TA6 property information form requires the seller to state whether the property is affected by Japanese Knotweed. If not answered truthfully, the buyer can come back to you and either rescind the contract or claim damages from you.

As a Japanese Knotweed specialist we have been involved in several disputes, where a previous owner has deliberately concealed any physical evidence of Japanese Knotweed at the property as well as lying about it on the TA6 form. In all cases, the new owners have sought redress and been successful.

If you are considering selling your home then we would advise you to have any japanese Knotweed treated by a specialist like South Wales Knotweed Removal.

We are highly experienced in the control, management and removal of Knotweed and understand the weeds growth patterns and tendencies as well as the best methods of control and removal for every different property and site. We have successfully treated Japanese Knotweed (and other invasive plant species) for properties and sites in Wales, South Wales, the South West and the M4 corridor as far up as Shropshire and Birmingham. Customers are at the heart of what we do and we provide a first-class service at a very competitive cost, with positive outcomes.

If you are interested or considering purchasing a property with Japanese Knotweed you should ensure the property has a Japanese Knotweed Management Plan, supplemented by a 10-year guarantee by a specialist like South Wales Knotweed Removal. Providing there is a treatment plan in place that also has a 10 year independently written Insurance Backed Guarantee (IBG), by a fully qualified & reputable contractor then you should not be concerned.

Be pro-active as opposed to reactive. It will undoubtedly pay dividends in the long term!

Contact us today to find out more, we can answer any questions you may have about any of our services. We can arrange for a free no obligation site survey at your property to identify if you have Japanese Knotweed or to advise you of the best treatment method.

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