The RICS Japanese Knotweed and Residential Property information paper, which is supported by the Council of Mortgage Lenders and the Building Society Association, has been published to help lenders and surveyors accurately assess the risk caused by Knotweed and sets out clear advice on how to identify, assess and treat it.
Surveyors and lenders can refer to the information paper and use one of the four outlined classifications to measure the extent of the risk and the threat it poses to the property. Tier one is the lowest, when the plant is 7m or more from the property; tier four is when the plant is within 7m of habitable space such as conservatories and garages.
This move will help to ensure consistent assessment and reporting of the plant to banks and enable lenders to establish a clear lending policy for loan applicants.
Philip Santo, RICS Residential Professional Group, commented:
"There is a real lack of information and understanding of what Japanese Knotweed is and the actual damage it can cause. Without actual advice and guidance, surveyors have been unsure of how to assess the risk of Japanese Knotweed, which can result in inconsistent reporting of the plant in mortgage valuations.
"RICS hopes that this advice will provide the industry with the tools it needs to measure the risk effectively, and provide banks with the information they require to identify who and how much to lend to at a time when it is essential to keep the housing market moving.
"Japanese Knotweed is renowned for striking fear into the hearts of homeowners across the country with many vendors being left stranded, unable to sell their property, as lenders have been reluctant to provide loans on properties potentially affected by the plant.
"Knotweed, which can grow up to 3m in height in just 10 weeks – taller than a British red telephone box – is notorious for causing damage to pavements and walls and spreading up to 7m in a season.
"Home owners and occupiers with Japanese Knotweed can eradicate the plant by hiring dedicated contractors who treat the plant with specialist chemicals. With roots as deep as 3m, it can take treatment over several seasons to kill it effectively.
"Many contractors provide their clients with certification to demonstrate that the Japanese Knotweed has been effectively treated and no longer exists on or close to the property to reassure future buyers and lenders."
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