Japanese knotweed affecting home loans

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The ‘Helensburgh Advertiser' has recently reported that according to industry experts, a number of mortgage lenders are refusing to grant home loans on some properties in the area found to have Japanese Knotweed.

A spokeswoman for Santander, which has a branch in the town of Helensburgh, has confirmed to the ‘Helensburgh Advertiser' that a home loan applications would be turned down if Japanese Knotweed is deemed to threaten the property. It is understood that lenders Lloyds and Barclays may also turn down home loan applications on this basis.

Property experts on Japanese Knotweed affecting home loans

Paula Bailey, senior negotiator at Allen and Harris estate agents in Helensburgh said the firm has seen sales fall through as a result of Japanese Knotweed affecting properties, particular on the Gareloch and Rosneath Peninsula.

She also said in some cases it could only take a "small spur" of Japanese Knotweed for an home loan application to be refused.

Paula went on to comment: "It does affect property sales and unless something is done to alleviate the problem it will affect more in the future. We have had a lot of disappointed clients where, in some cases, houses are found to be unmortgageable.

"Homeowners can eradicate the problem, which involves treatment over a long period of time, but they should try and tackle the problem as soon as possible. I would encourage homeowners to look for it and treat it at the earliest opportunity."

Graham Forbes, senior valuer at Slater Hogg in Helensburgh, said he is aware of mortgages being refused in the area because of Japanese Knotweed and says it is something that property buyers are sellers should look out for.

He said: "We have not had issues with this but I am very conscious of this happening in the area. Japanese Knotweed is particularly serious right across the Rosneath Peninsula, as well as in Cardoss."

Graham mentioned that sellers who do not eradicate Japanese Knotweed before putting their houses on the market should expect a lower asking price.

Santander comment on  Japanese Knotweed

A spokeswoman for Santander said: "Due to the invasive and destructive nature of Japanese Knotweed, if it is found in close proximity to the property we would need to assess whether or not a mortgage could be accepted.

"If the surveyors report shows evidence that Japanese Knotweed threatens the structure of a building, then a mortgage application would be refused. The refusal of mortgage applications if Japanese Knotweed is deemed a threat to the property is standard across the industry and not only applicable to Santander."

Local residents on Japanese Knotweed

Kilcreggan resident Lorraine Fraser was unaware of what trouble lay in wait for her when she bought her home in December 1999.

She said: "The first indication I had that something may be afoot was a summer some years later when I was tired of looking at the unsightly and rather large bamboo like structures on the banks near the house and not knowing what they were I decided to pull them out.

"Still not sure of the exact nature of the plant, I spent the next few years religiously pulling out each new growth and burning it each year. After several years, I eventually contacted Wise Knotweed Solutions, a specialist Japanese Knotweed removal specialist, who thankfully will be able to start work to eradicate the problem soon".

Home loans approved after  Japanese Knotweed treatment

The good news however, is mortgage lenders say they will approve a home loan application if Japanese Knotweed on a property is removed and the homeowner obtains a Japanese knotweed warranty from reputable specialist contractor.

Les Meikle - Japanese Knotweed Specialist

Les Meikle, Managing Director of Wise Knotweed Solutions and its parent company Wise Property Care commented: "As awareness of the Japanese knotweed grows in Scotland and the UK, I can foresee more legal enforcement where Japanese knotweed crosses into adjacent properties and land. It is for this reason we have now launched our new 'Wise Knotweed Solutions' division to help Scottish property owners eradicate their Japanese knotweed infestation and provide Japanese knotweed warranties that may assist the sale of the property".

More information on Japanese knotweed

For more information about Japanese Knotweed, click on any of the links below. Alternatively, for help and advice, call 0808 231 9218 or contact us online using our online contact form.