Can a plant stop you getting a mortgage?


Can a plant stop you getting a mortgage?

Did you know there could be a threat to you securing a mortgage lurking in the garden of the property you want to buy? Here, we take a look at poisonous and invading plants, and specifically the ones that could be deal-breakers when trying to get a mortgage.

Japanese knotweed - a growing pain

There are a number of poisonous and invading plants that can be health hazards, but Japanese knotweed (fallopia japonica) is the potential deal-breaker when it comes to getting a mortgage. Did you know some lenders won’t offer you a mortgage if the plant is flagged up in a survey?

This is because knotweed is almost impossible to destroy, and treating it can be extremely expensive. To give an example, it was estimated to have cost £70 million to clear it from ten acres of the land used for the London Olympics.

Should it stop you buying a house?

You may be tempted to walk away from a house with a problem such as knotweed. Even if you can get a mortgage for the property, it will require years of treatment, could cost you thousands of pounds and you may never get the plant fully under control.

There is also a chance that if you buy a property and don’t manage to get an invasive plant under control, it could damage neighbouring properties, spread to nearby farmland and be a hazard to local animals. You may be legally responsible for this and you could even be fined and prosecuted. Similarly, if you buy a property and your neighbour hasn’t controlled their knotweed, they too may be liable for any damage to your home.

Ultimately, it is your choice whether you think a property is so good it’s worth tackling a problem like Japanese knotweed. If you are in the process of house hunting, look out for invasive and dangerous plants including giant hogweed, Himalayan balsam, Rhododendron ponticum, and New Zealand pigmyweed. While these are treatable, they may also be costly to resolve and require specialist treatment. You could therefore make a lower offer to reflect the extra cost.

It is best to get a detailed survey to find out how big a plant problem you have. If the plant is growing close to the property, it may pose a greater risk of damage and be harder to treat. If it’s located further away from the house, you may still need to hire a professional to get it under control and make sure it doesn’t put your home in harm’s way.

A guide to poisonous plants

Other things to look out for in gardens include poisonous plants that pose a risk to your health. If you are viewing a property near wetlands, rivers or woodlands, look out for plants you are not familiar with. In your garden, wear gloves to protect yourself from any irritants and don’t be tempted to eat unusual plants. If you do suffer any type of reaction after coming into contact with a plant, it is best to seek medical advice.

Below are some of the most poisonous plants to be found in the UK:

  • Devils’ helmet plant or Monkshood
  • Deadly nightshade
  • Giant hogweed
  • Hemlock
  • Wolfsbane

For more helpful advice on the deal-breakers that could make you walk away from a new property, visit our blog.