The plant became more of a problem when some lenders reviewed their policies and a number of loans on Japanese Knotweed affected properties were declined. This changed the status of Knotweed from a "difficult to solve" problem to one that could result in property sales falling through.
In fact, although the plant can be difficult to control, with correct treatment, it needn’t be a life sentence for a property. Since the mid 1970s challenges posed by building movement and asbestos have presented assessment problems that were largely resolved and assimilated into the lending process. There is no reason why the assessment of Japanese Knotweed cannot follow a similar route and RICS is consulting on this in order to develop best practice guidelines.
RICS is inviting responses from RICS members, lenders and Japanese Knotweed treatment experts. The consultation runs until 9 December 2011 and can be found here: https://consultations.rics.org/consult.ti/japaneseknotweed/consultationHome
Philip Santo, RICS spokesperson, said: "When assessing market value, valuers must take account of a variety of factors and the presence and effects of Japanese Knotweed is just one of the many considerations that may affect value. While this invasive, non-native plant can be difficult to control it should be recognised that timely and persistent treatment programmes can minimise its impact.
"A standard risk assessment framework is being proposed to help valuers to provide more informed advice to their clients and to enable lenders to adopt more consistent and balanced policies. As the treatment industry develops and matures it is hoped that Japanese Knotweed will soon become just one more consideration in the complex valuation process. The RICS consultation aims to canvass opinion in order to help make this happen."
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