How Japanese knotweed can affect your mortgage (+3 tips)

What is Japanese knotweed?

Japanese knotweed was introduced into the Uk as an ornamental shrub but soon began destroying properties by destroying tarmac, destroying other plants, blocking or breaking drains etc.

Japanese knotweed can grow up to 7 meters high and 3 metres deep and due to its very destructive nature it can reduce a property value immensely.

What does Japanese knotweed have to do with mortgages?

Due to its nature as a property wrecker, Japanese knotweed can drastically reduce a properties value, grow into neighbouring properties and cause damage which you may be liable for and hence mortgage lenders tend to steer clear of properties with japanese knotweed for these reasons.

The damage a japanese knotweed could cause to a property will reduce a lenders appetite for it as the cost of repairing the damage might put a borrower in debt and worse off devalue the property if the damage becomes substantial.

This ofcourse means the asset a lenders mortgage is based on might be worthless.

For these reasons most lenders will decline a mortgage application if japanese knotweed is found during a property survey or in a neighbouring property from the property you want to buy.

The mortgage lender will request a full evaluation of the property and assurances that the japanese knotweed is gone and at least by 7 metres away from the property before they lend.

The mortgage lender will also want a minimum term (e.g 10 years) insured guarantee from a suitable professional japanese knotweed eradication specialist.

Each lender has their own policy on Japanese knotweeds so it is best to speak to an established mortgage broker to get suitable advice on what the mortgage lender will most likely accept on a property with Japanese knotweed.

So yes, you can get a mortgage with a property infested with Japanese knotweed but this will vary based on the eligiblity of each mortgage lender.

Your conveyancer may request you to take out indemnity insurance to help the mortgage complete if the property has a history of Japanese knotweed.

The indemnity insurance will provide protection for you and could cover the cost of any legal defense against neighbours, the cost of a survey report and cost of treatment and eradication of the japanese knotweed.

How to Treat Japanese Knotweed

Treatment for Japanese knotweed can be incredibly expensive.

You should report Japanese knotweed as soon as you find it and inform your neighbours so they might assess their properties too for any signs of the japanese knotweed.

Home insurance which includes Japanese knotweed will be very useful in scenarios where the japanese knotweed continues to persist and would have cost you thousands in eradication costs.

Some mortgage lenders who lend on properties with a history of Japanese knotweed may choose not to give you a mortgage if you can’t find suitable building insurance which covers Japanese knotweed.

If you need financial advice and you live in the UK then you could contact the Money Advice service over the phone or via chat for impartial advice.

You can also contact the debt charity “Step Change” if you are in debt and need help.