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Japanese Knotweed Mortgage

Does the property you want have Japanese knotweed? Get the right advice here.

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By Pete Mugleston   Mortgage Advisor

Last updated: 11th February 2019 *

Many borrowers come to us because getting a mortgage with Japanese knotweed is causing problems with their application, and they are either trying to find the best lender, or have approached the wrong lender and been declined.

If you’ve had a mortgage refused due to Japanese knotweed, then talk to one of the advisors we work with, they’re experts when it comes to Japanese knotweed and mortgages, even if you’ve had bad credit.

In this article we’ll cover:

Definition of Japanese knotweed

Japanese knotweed is a tall fast growing Japanese plant, it has bamboo like stems and can grow white flowers, the leaves of the Japanese knotweed when mature are green and flattened at the base.

Why do mortgage lenders have a problem with Japanese knotweed?

As it grows so quickly and can spread rapidly, knotweed can overtake a garden and soon cause damage to the property, with issues such as the roots blocking drains and even damaging foundations if left untreated.

Such damage can seriously affect the value of the property, which is why some mortgage lenders are more restrictive with a Japanese knotweed mortgage.

Getting a mortgage with Japanese knotweed

If the question is ‘can you get a mortgage on a property with Japanese knotweed?’ - then the answer is yes.

Every lender will require a professional mortgage survey to assess the knotweed and property in general, and they will judge the extent to which the knotweed causes (or will cause) a risk to the property.

Then they will determine suitability based on their own policy for Japanese knotweed mortgages, where some are much more flexible than others.

To find the best options available to you today make an enquiry and talk to one of the brokers we work with who are experts when it comes to Japanese knotweed mortgages.

How lenders assess the risk Japanese knotweed may pose

Many people ask us ‘Can Japanese knotweed stop you getting a mortgage?’ The answer is - it all depends on the severity of the problem and the lender.

All lenders are different and will view the Japanese knotweed on its risk categories, there are generally 4 categories:

  1. Japanese knotweed is not on the property but can be seen on a neighbouring property, which is more than 7 metres away from the boundary.
  2. Japanese knotweed is seen on a neighbouring property, but is within 7 metres of the boundary.
  3. Japanese knotweed is present in the boundaries of the property, but is still more than 7 metres from a habitable space (you may need to have further investigations completed by a qualified or experienced person).
  4. Japanese knotweed is within 7 metres of the habitable space and/or causing serious damage to outbuildings, drains, paths and boundary walls (With this fourth category, a further investigation would be required by an appropriately qualified and or experienced person).  

So how can I get a mortgage with Japanese knotweed?

Many borrowers have issues obtaining a mortgage because the risk category of the Japanese knotweed doesn’t fit the lender they have approached.

Here are some of the risks and how they may affect your mortgage application.

Risk Category

Description

Chances of Mortgage Approval

1

Japanese knotweed is not on the property but can be seen on a neighbouring property, which is more than 7 metres away from the boundary.

More likely to be approved at higher Loan to Value (LTV) as deemed lower risk.

 

Concern from some lenders, but still quite possible.

2

Japanese knotweed is seen on a neighbouring property, but is within 7 metres of the boundary.

3

Japanese knotweed is present in the boundaries of the property, but is still more than 7 metres from a habitable space (you may need to have further investigations completed by a qualified or experienced person).

Possible but likely to require a specialist survey before lending is formally approved.

4

Japanese knotweed is within 7 metres of the habitable space and/or causing serious damage to outbuildings, drains, paths and boundary walls (With this fourth category, a further investigation would be required by an appropriately qualified and or experienced person).

Possible but likely for repair work to be carried out before approval. Perhaps condition of mortgage offer is added for work to be completed, or even a retention held by the lender at the point of the mortgage completion, to be released once repair work is signed off.

Japanese knotweed mortgage lenders

As mentioned, many lenders will decline an application where the property has knotweed on or near the boundary. 

The good news is that there are some lenders who have a completely different policy to those who are more specialist and approve knotweed mortgages regularly, and the brokers we work with know who they are.

How to remove Japanese knotweed if you can’t get a mortgage

If Japanese knotweed is stopping your mortgage application from going through, one possible solution is to remove the knotweed using specialists who carefully ensure its total removal and destruction (more expensive), or (cheaper) run an ongoing treatment plan over 5 or so years.

The costs to remove it can vary depending on how much there is in the area you’re looking to remove it from. There may also be requirements from the lender that the provider of the service offers a knotweed guarantee for the mortgage to be approved.

Is there help to deal with Japanese knotweed available?

The Property Care Association (PCA) has looked at whether mortgage lending decisions relating to the presence of Japanese knotweed are currently based on sound scientific evidence of its effects on the built environment, and what guidance for the sector currently exists.

Since the PCA formed the Invasive Weed Control Group in 2012, they have maintained the position that the plant is not a destroyer of buildings, and that it should just be regarded as any other type of property issue.

Members of the Invasive Weed Control section of the PCA are qualified and regulated in Japanese Knotweed management and are said to deliver efficient, effective and reliable treatment.

The (PCA) has created its Invasive Weed Control Document Library. This includes guidance notes, information leaflets and a Code of Practice - all available for free download - to help people affected by Japanese knotweed.

This information can be downloaded here and there is also a short PCA video guide to dealing with Japanese Knotweed.

If you’re still unsure, have a chat with one of the brokers we work with, they’re experts when it comes to securing mortgages for properties with Japanese knotweed and can give you the right advice.

Is it possible to get a Japanese knotweed mortgage on a buy to let property?

Typically the surveyors report will echo the residential lending policy if applying for a buy to let mortgage on a property with Japanese Knotweed.

Normal rules for BTL lending will apply in terms of increased (usually) deposit and a different measure of affordability based on the rental income of the property. You’ll find more information on Buy to Let here.

Can I get a mortgage on a commercial property with Japanese knotweed?

This can vary lender to lender again, but yes there are lenders that would consider commercial mortgages on property with Japanese knotweed.

This will be dependent on the risk category mentioned above, as it case by case the specialists we work with would be able to establish what options may be available for you.

Commercial mortgage lenders can be a little more restrictive and the use for the property can have an additional impact.

Talk to an expert on getting a mortgage with Japanese knotweed

The brokers we work with are experts when it comes to Japanese knotweed mortgage solutions, and can help you examine all of your options.

If you have any questions want to speak to a friendly expert for the right advice, call Online Mortgage Advisor today on 0800 304 7880 or make an enquiry here.
 
Then sit back and let us do all the hard work in finding the broker with the right expertise for your circumstances.  – We don’t charge a fee and there’s absolutely no obligation or marks on your credit rating.

Updated: 11th February 2019
OnlineMortgageAdvisor 2019 ©

FCA disclaimer

*Based on our research, the content contained in this article is accurate as of most recent time of writing. Lender criteria and policies change regularly so speak to one of the advisors we work with to confirm the most accurate up to date information. The info on the site is not tailored advice to each individual reader, and as such does not constitute financial advice. All advisors working with us are fully qualified to provide mortgage advice and work only for firms who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. They will offer any advice specific to you and your needs. Some types of buy to let mortgages are not regulated by the FCA. Think carefully before securing other debts against your home. As a mortgage is secured against your home, it may be repossessed if you do not keep up with repayments on your mortgage. Equity released from your home will also be secured against it.

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