If you are looking to arrange a mortgage, the property’s condition significantly impacts the affordability and suitability of mortgage offers you receive. One of the biggest challenges to a mortgage applicant is when Japanese Knotweed is found at the property, but we can help with your Japanese knotweed mortgages needs.

What is Japanese Knotweed?

Japanese Knotweed first came to the UK in the 19th century. It is a highly invasive plant, having evolved to deal with volcanic land, rocky areas, ashy deposits, and a challenging climate in Japan. The conditions are more palatable in the UK, resulting in Japanese Knotweed having a potentially significant impact here.

The plant was popular in the 20th century, featuring prominently along railway embankments and areas where the soil needed stabilising.

How expensive is it to remove?

You will find removing Japanese Knotweed is very expensive, sometimes costing tens of thousands of pounds. Also, many homeowners have experienced situations where they thought they eradicated Japanese Knotweed from their property, only to see it return.

Why is Japanese Knotweed an issue that affects mortgage applications?

Japanese Knotweed is noted for causing structural property damage, and the aggressive behaviour of the plant’s roots is known to cause cracks in brickwork, drains, and tarmac. Japanese Knotweed can also overgrow, rising by centimeters each day, and it is known for the plant to reach over 2m tall.

The potential danger and impact of this plant has limited a property owner’s chance to extend the property or limit a lender’s ability if they must sell the property in recovering mortgage debt. Therefore, lenders view Japanese Knotweed as a significant risk, which influences their decision to offer a mortgage when the property is affected by this issue.

Each lender will have their thoughts on dealing with Japanese Knotweed. An experienced broker will advise you on which lenders are more likely to assist you and which lenders will have serious concerns about offering a mortgage where Japanese Knotweed exists.

What do lenders consider with Japanese Knotweed mortgages?

All lenders consider potential risks involved with property, focusing on issues that would lead to a drop in value. Lenders instruct a survey to be carried out, and this report will detail the extent of a Japanese Knotweed infestation and the risk for them.

There is also a risk assessment framework for Japanese Knotweed followed by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), which places the risk into four categories.

  • Category 4 is when the Japanese Knotweed falls within seven metres of the property and is already causing damage to elements such as walls or drains.
  • Category 3 is when Japanese Knotweed falls within seven metres of the property but the damage is minor.
  • Category 2 is when Japanese Knotweed is not found in the property boundary, but is known to be close-by, within at least seven metres of the property boundary.
  • Category 1 is when Japanese Knotweed is not found on the property but is known to be close-by and is more than seven metres away from the property boundary.

A property classed in Category 3 or 4 is advised to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.

Lenders decide on mortgage applications where Japanese Knotweed is an issue considering the RICS findings and will often seek evidence of the matter being treated or resolved.

Unsurprisingly, many lenders will only offer a mortgage for a property with Japanese Knotweed with an interest rate they approve of or where there is a suitable level of equity associated with the property.

How to explore your Japanese knotweed mortgages options with The Money Hub

Call the Money Hub Limited on 0203 725 5830 and speak to one of our highly specialised and dedicated Mortgage Advisors or you can complete an enquiry form which will allow you to schedule a call time.

DISCLAIMER: These articles are for information only and should not be construed as advice. You should always seek advice prior to taking any action.