Landlord mortgages kicked out over invasive weeds
Invasive weeds may affect approval for a buy-to-let mortgage. Read the guidelines to ensure you are treated fairly.
Buy-to-let lenders are wrongly turning down loan applications from landlords whose properties are under threat from invasive weeds, according to property management experts.
The Property Care Association (PCA) says mortgage lenders are rejecting applications when invasive weeds are found near a home and before contacting weed control specialists for expert advice.
The PCA argues this is contrary to advice from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
The plants at the root of the problem are Japanese Knotweed, Himalayan Balsam and Giant Hogweed. Giant Hogweed sap can cause blisters and a rash on the skin in sunlight, while the roots of the other two can damage buildings.
Stephen Hodgson, the PCA chief executive, explained that if the weeds are properly treated by a qualified professional, they aren't a risk to buildings.
“Mortgage lenders should follow the guidance from the RICS. Japanese Knotweed control specialists cannot see how lenders can continue to justify rejecting mortgages where weeds are considered dangerous to the structure of a building without seeking the views of suitably trained specialists.
The line taken by a few lenders seems unnecessarily harsh and ignores the recommendations set out in the RICS guidance paper.”
The PCA, a trade body for property management companies, has drawn up guidelines for dealing with the weeds.
The guidelines include tips on how to identify invasive weeds and what steps to take to manage or eradicate them.
The group also warns landlords that local councils and government agencies have new powers to deal with property owners who fail to control invasive weeds.
New rules that took affect from January 2015 mean landlords ignoring weed control orders can have anti-social behaviour orders and fines of up to £2,500 imposed against them by magistrates.