A bank has refused an application for a remortgage because a Japanese Knotweed plant was discovered in the homeowner’s garden.

David Williams applied to borrow £83,000 on a remortgage of his property but the surveyor said that the building is ‘unsalesable’ thanks to the knotweed.

The plant looks like bamboo although it is not closely related; it grows incredibly quickly and can even push through concrete. It has been known to damage buildings and is very expensive to remove at around £100 per square foot. It cannot be cut back either; this often results in faster, thicker growth because the plant can grow from a tiny splinter.

42 year old Mr Williams commented:

‘It’s crazy. It is an intensive weed but an element of common sense has got to be applied. All I’ve got is half a dozen sticks of knotweed not two foot out of the ground. If I had a survey in the winter I would have been OK because it only comes up in the spring and summer. How can that be?

‘It just makes a farce of it.’

Mr Williams wanted to borrow 20% of his £400,000 property value but the Santander surveyor report stated the building:
‘is not considered suitable for mortgage purposes as Japanese knotweed was discovered in the curtilage of the property’.
It may surprise many to know that knotweed can now be found all over the United Kingdom, having been introduced from Japan originally as a garden plant for ornamental purposes.

Santander is not the only mortgage lender that will now refuse a mortgage if knotweed is in a position to threaten a property. A next door neighbour could have it growing in their garden and if it is deemed to present a threat, then a mortgage application could be difficult.

A Santander spokesperson said: ‘If the weed threatens the structure of a building then a mortgage application would be refused.’

One Response

  1. Exactly, and apparently the Japanese knotweed was only a tiny amount too! I think people need to be aware of how serious a little infection in the garden can be.

    There are environmental friendly procedures as alternatives to chemical treatments. such soil steaming and ensuring that the stem is either destroyed, burnt or dried out before disposing of to avoid further contamination. However, the solutions to Japanese knotweed removal should only be put into place by experienced professionals.

    People could always eat it all in time for the surveyors?

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