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Knotweed - honest opinions please

(24 Posts)
PookieSnackenberger Thu 18-Jan-18 18:34:36

Is it possible to put a mortgage on a property with Knotweed? I'm buying with cash but want to place a mortgage on the property following refurbishment and I can't afford to have cash tied up in an unsaleable, unmortgeagable property. Is this a potential issue for and owner occupier mortgage and a btl mortgage?

The knotweed has been identified, removed and treated and special fencing has been installed. There is a schedule of works in place until 2020. I'm not sure how long the work is guaranteed for but I need to check guarantee. It is also not clear whether the Knotweed invaded the property or originated from it so I'm concerned about the potential for claims if it originates from the garden attached to the property. It's a leasehold flat and costs are shared between 4 properties.

Is this a major issue that I should walk away from or is it easy to manage. Any opinions gratefully received.

scaredofthecity Thu 18-Jan-18 18:41:07

We were advised to walk away from a house that had knotweed. But it would only have done us for a few years and then we'd have had to move and may have had problems selling. Whoever bought it in the end got a good bargain though, it went very cheap!

Eminybob Thu 18-Jan-18 18:45:34

If it has been treated and there is a schedule of work you may be ok.

I have only seen one case of JK, which was an existing mortgage customer who wanted to raise more money against the property. The valuation flagged up knotweed (which was not there when the original mortgage application was done, and the customers didn’t know about)
The valuer declined the valuation, however said that if treatment started and schedule of further treatment in place etc etc he would reconsider.
Customers declined to go ahead with the application, but it was worth knowing what the valuer would accept, as I had previously assumed that it would be a straight decline.

(I’m a mortgage consultant at a major high street lender btw)

mando12345 Thu 18-Jan-18 18:57:57

I would walk away unless it's a massive reducing on asking price which you could then reflect when you sell.

Sensus Thu 18-Jan-18 18:59:18

Yes, it is. I sold a property with knotweed, last year.

Similar to Eminybob's response, we had to arrange, pay for and provide proof of a suitable programme of treatment (which will usually continue after the property is sold - it takes multiple visits over a number of seasons/years to eradicate the stuff).

Sunnyshores Thu 18-Jan-18 18:59:50

Investing/buying property is uncertain enough in todays market, I wouldnt buy a property that had anything dubious or unusual about it. Unless you could offset that risk with a huge profit or were going to stay there forever.

MikeUniformMike Thu 18-Jan-18 19:00:22

It's not that difficult to get rid of. I had it and it took several applications of glyphosate over about 6 years to get rid of it.

3luckystars Thu 18-Jan-18 20:31:06

I wouldn’t have anything to do with it, besides trying to getting rid of it, You might find it very hard to sell.

I wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole.

senua Thu 18-Jan-18 22:26:43

Japanese Knotweed is bad enough but if you also throw in "It's a leasehold flat and costs are shared between 4 properties" then it sounds like the basis for lots of disagreements.
I'd steer clear.

Eminybob Fri 19-Jan-18 07:12:28

God I don’t even see the leasehold flat thing, I was focussing on the JK.
Yeah lenders don’t like leasehold flats, or could be declined on basis alone.

whiskyowl Fri 19-Jan-18 08:25:36

There is huge hysteria about knotweed. Yes, it is a resilient plant. But it is not a bloody triffid intent on destroying humanity. It is not bombproof, it can be destroyed. Provided you have a proper barrier and a good company with strong glyphosate to inject into it, it's totally doable.

lalalonglegs Fri 19-Jan-18 08:34:41

Lenders don't like leasehold flats confused? About 99% of flats in England are leasehold - even those that own a share of the freehold are still governed by the terms of their leases.

Pookie - if I were to look at a flat with JK, I would want to know how recently it had been treated and how long the subsequent treatment had been in place (and whether that treatment plan had been upheld). I would want to see certificates from the treatment company and I would probably ask the management company what the costs of treatment until 2020 would be and see if I could knock the share from the flat I was interested in off the asking price.

usernotfound0000 Fri 19-Jan-18 13:00:13

We're in the process of buying as new build, JK was identified on the site, it has been treated and there is a 10 year certificate in place. Our mortgage has just been approved (our property was not actually near the knotweed but lots of other people have already moved in to areas affected with no issues).

MikeUniformMike Fri 19-Jan-18 17:09:10

JK will grow through concrete. If they banned glyphosate it would be a bugger to get rid of, but it isn't that bad.
My neighbours have it but they don't understand how it grows so they cut it down instead of killing it. Their neighbours have it too. I will speak to my neighbours later in the year.

StylishMummy Fri 19-Jan-18 17:17:47

I work in mortgages and don't know of any lenders that'll consider it. It's usually a straight decline as soon as the survey comes back. Very very hard to permanently get rid of

Eminybob Fri 19-Jan-18 18:23:18

Lenders don't like leasehold flats confused? About 99% of flats in England are leasehold - even those that own a share of the freehold are still governed by the terms of their leases.

You are absolutely right, sorry I was getting myself confused with freehold flats.

PookieSnackenberger Tue 13-Feb-18 19:32:37

I thought I would update as it might help someone else in the same situation.

In the end I pulled out as although, in theory, there are lenders who will lend on a JK property when you start making enquiries it's a flat no. As a rule of thumb it seems that JK within 7 metres of a property (RICS category 4/5)is a big fat no. Even when treated and with an insurance backed guarantee and even when it is a relatively small amount.

Not sure what to do about the huge fees I've incurred. I did two viewings (one where the JK fence was being fitted I later found out!) but the Estate Agent made no mention and the declaration was never stated, just bundled in with paperwork. All evidence was removed when my surveyor attended. It was picked up by my solicitor but obviously I am liable for all his fees up to this point.

Mrsmadevans Tue 13-Feb-18 20:30:57

The stigma of having Knotweed stays and buyers would be worried about buying a property I think, also how easy would it be to resell if you needed to .

Mrsmadevans Tue 13-Feb-18 20:35:10

OP I am glad you pulled out , I think you must be sickened by the costs to you but if you had bought it how much would you have lost then my dear. I don't know what you can do if anything to recoup them but try posting on the legal board someone may be able to tell you there .

GardenGeek Tue 13-Feb-18 20:45:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

GardenGeek Tue 13-Feb-18 20:46:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Ohyesiam Tue 13-Feb-18 21:04:24

I think glycophosphate will be banned in the future, good knows what perle with do then.

MammaAgata Tue 13-Feb-18 21:14:41

I don’t watch daytime TV as a rule as I’m generally out at work but whilst off work once due to a knee injury I watched homes under the hammer (or some such nonsense). It was only watching this that bought home to me the true horrors of JK. A family bought from auction a house with this in the back garden (concrete yard to be precise) and it cost nearly the purchase price of the house to eradicate the knotweed with associated endemity insurance to sell on. Nightmare. You did a sensible thing by pulling out of the purchase, it isn’t parsley.. grin

PookieSnackenberger Tue 13-Feb-18 23:42:25

@MammaAgata

It isn't parsley! PMSL! That will always make me smile whenever I use parsley now. Every cloud has a silver lining grin

That last picture of a knotweed triffid growing through an UPPER window is forever etched in my mind! The building actually looked like that too.

I'm pretty gutted to be £1K plus down with survey, searches and solicitor fees etc. but that's life (and the grossly annoying British house buying system). As Mrsmadevans says it's the losses further down the road I was nervous of. I couldn't get a single mortgage company to say they would lend and although I didn't need a mortgage initially, I needed to place a mortage on it at some point in the near future.

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