Q. I am currently in the process of buying my first home a pretty little house in a gorgeous location. However having had a survey carried out last week I have just heard that my Lender is refusing to lend on the property given it has Japanese Knotweed growing in and around the garden! I am nothing short of shocked as I simply cannot purchase this house without a mortgage. Do you think they are over reacting and it would be worth switching lenders?
A. You should actually be delighted that your surveyor spotted the offender growing in and around the garden despite the fact that you can no longer proceed with the purchase. You have in fact had a very lucky escape. Japanese Knotweed is incredibly invasive, it can grow four inches (ten centimetres) in a day from April to October and a tiny root can establish itself as a plant in just ten days. Apparently solid structures such as tarmac and flooring in houses are no barrier to its growth and the weed also creates a risk of flooding if leaves clog waterways. If you allow Japanese knotweed to grow onto other people’s property you could be prosecuted for causing a private nuisance. There are various companies that specialise in the removal of this fierce nuisance and some offer insurance too. There are some Lenders that are a little more relaxed about lending on properties with Japanese Knotweed as long as there is an INNSA (The Invasive Non-Native Specialists Association) guarantee in place, but you would need to consider the possible ramifications of purchasing such a property. There have been reports of extensions being erected and having to be torn down as a result of prolific growth of the troublesome weed despite treatment prior to the build. In essence this is an extremely troublesome little offender and if you do decide to switch lenders to see if you can find someone that will be willing to entertain a property with an issue such as this then do make sure you take into consideration the consequences of purchasing such a property. Speak to treatment experts and go to www.gov.uk where you will find further advice on treatment and disposal of invasive, non-native plants like this.