Japanese knotweed, the fast-growing bamboo-like plant that can break through concrete, is predicted to subside over the next two decades. The plant can cut up to 20% off of the value of a property and be a reason for lenders to decline mortgage applications. The mortgage lenders usually need proof of treatment that will get rid of the plant completely. Each lender will have their own policies on the issue of Japanese knotweed – they will take in a number of factors before they make a decision.
Japanese knotweed costs UK homeowners and businesses around £166 million a year in treatment costs and property devaluation (check the levels of Japanese knotweed in your area here). But the stricter mortgage policies on the plant means more homeowners are likely to tackle the problem with a professional treatment plan. Even if an individual purchased a home without a mortgage, the seller is still legally required to disclose this information.
Nic Seal, founder of Environet UK, a Japanese knotweed removal specialist, said: “The problem of Japanese knotweed has only been confronted by lenders in the last decade, meaning that firms are currently still dealing with a huge backlog of affected properties. However, the normal churn of around 4.5% of UK properties coming to market every year, means that by 2040, the vast majority of UK housing stock will have been sold at least once and any knotweed infestations should have been tackled.
“While new cases of knotweed will, of course, arise in that time, and knotweed will continue to encroach on our homes from public land, railways and roadsides, the rapid spread of the weed across the UK will be under control by that point.”
What does Japanese knotweed look like?
Japanese knotweed looks a lot like hollow greenish-purple bamboo shoots when fully grown. But when it’s only just starting to grow (around March) it’s a reddish colour. The leaves are fairly easy to identify – they’re shaped like spades and can grow up to 15 cm. They’re dark green in the summer, yellow in the spring and, during the autumn, they start to produce little off-white flowers.
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