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Does Knotweed mean no mortgage?

THE QUESTION

I've seen a house with knotweed which is 8 metres from the house and is level 3. Do mortgage providers lend on properties with knotweed?  If not, could I get a bridging loan, excavate the knotweed and refurb the house then refinance?

THE ANSWER

Several issues here, so let’s deal with them 

  1. Mortgageability - Japanese Knotweed is one of the biggest no-nos for mortgage lenders, because of its potential ability to undermine the foundations of a property.  Its current 8 metres proximity to the property won’t be 8 metres for long, given its propensity to spread.  It’s highly unlikely that you would be granted a mortgage, especially at the time of year when it is in full growth mode, April to August, which can be up to 20 cm per day in some cases.
  2. Eradication of Japanese Knotweed is controlled and only possible through licensed contractors.  Excavation or chemical treatment are the options.  With excavation a depth of 3 metres is required as well as 3 metres in every direction from the furthest point of infestation. This usually makes excavation impractical and treatment is favoured. This is a 5 year programme at a cost of £1,000 per 10 sq.m.
  3. Bridging loans are entirely possible and we have brokered several over the years for this precise purpose.  Bridgers just want to know how you are going to repay them.  This allows treating the problem and then getting a mortgage once the treatment has taken place. 
  4. Japanese Knotweed affected properties make a great bargain purchase.  It normally frightens off the majority of would-be buyers.  So a massively under asking price offer can sometimes be accepted, depending on the level of the seller’s motivation.  Check how long the property has been up for sale, the longer it has remained unsold, the greater the chance the seller will accept a lower offer - sellers get exponentially more motivated, the longer they cannot sell their property.
 
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