Advice for anyone who's buying or selling a house, flat or commercial property that has Japanese knotweed within the property boundaries (or nearby)
If you find out that you have Japanese knotweed on or near your property, don't panic - it's not the end of the world!
Many people don't even know they have Japanese knotweed in their garden until they put the property on the market and the invasive weed is noticed by either the estate agent or building society surveyor.
If a potential buyer requires a mortgage for a property with Japanese knotweed, their lender will send a surveyor to check the property. They may report that there is knotweed on or near the property.
Should the surveyor find evidence of Japanese knotweed, the lender may put the mortgage application process on hold until a specialist company with the correct qualifications is called in to determine whether or not the plant truly is Japanese knotweed. (In some cases, it may be something else - see Plants That Look Like Japanese Knotweed.)
We at Taylor Total Weed Control have visited countless properties to check for Japanese knotweed. If no knotweed is found, the mortgage process can go ahead as normal; if we confirm that Japanese knotweed is present on or near the property then action must be taken, but it is still possible for the buyer to get their mortgage and for the sale to proceed.
Getting a mortgage with Japanese knotweed
Lenders will generally grant mortgages on properties affected by Japanese knotweed on the condition that a suitably qualified company (acceptable to the lender) can put an appropriate treatment programme in place. The treatment plan will usually be spread over a period of 5 years, with a 5 or 10 year insurance-backed guarantee to back it up.
Do not believe what you read on the Internet - treatment programmes and guarantees do NOT cost tens of thousands of pounds! But you must try to find a reputable, qualified contractor who can offer an insurance-backed guarantee.
Your friend's brother who does a bit of landscaping or works for the council may say he can deal with your Japanese knotweed problem, and he may even be qualified to treat the plant with the appropriate herbicides, but if he cannot provide an insurance-backed guarantee that is acceptable to the lender then all that work and money will be wasted.
If you know that Japanese knotweed exists on a property you are selling, please do not try to hide it, ignore it or treat it yourself. If you try to dig it out and it comes back after a year or two, you can be sued.
Before selling a property, you must now confirm in writing whether you are aware of any Japanese knotweed on the property. The options are:
- Yes, there is Japanese Knotweed on or near the premises
- No, there is not Japanese knotweed on or near the premises
- Don't know
If you know you have knotweed and are considering selling, it may be prudent to already have a treatment programme in place (complete with insurance-backed guarantee) so that you can tell potential buyers that there is already a PCA-registered company carrying out Japanese knotweed treatment on the property. The treatment programme can be transferred to the name of the new owner once it the property has been sold.
This information is provided by Rob Higgins of Taylor Total Weed Control. Rob is a PCA registered invasive weed surveyor - if you think you've got Japanese knotweed on your property, call Taylor Total Weed Control on 029 2039 7554 to arrange a survey.
Contact Taylor Total Weed Control
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