RICS consultation into property's knotweed nightmare
Thursday 1st December 2011
Property's nightmare plant is being put under the spotlight. The thuggish Japanese Knotweed is the stuff of horror films, as it can grow through concrete and walls to blight a property in the eyes of lenders and insurers.
Now the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors is consulting on a new information paper which aims to help valuers and mortgage lenders consider the implications of a Japanese Knotweed intrusion when undertaking valuations of residential property in the UK.
A number of mortgage applications have been declined where Knotweed has taken its hold on properties.
In fact, says the RICS, although the plant can be difficult to control, with correct treatment it needn’t be a life sentence for a property.
It points out that 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. It says there is no reason why the assessment of Japanese Knotweed cannot follow a similar route.
RICS is inviting responses from members, lenders and Japanese Knotweed treatment experts. The consultation runs until December 9.
Philip Santo, for the RICS, 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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