Friday, 18 November 2016

Japanese Knotweed : Knot Disclosing to Lenders

This week three lenders followed HSBC's lead* in using the CML Handbook Part 2 to set out their conveyancing instructions relating to Japanese Knotweed.

What should otherwise be a simple ”yes-or no” to question 5.4.4  instead stands as just the latest example of how lenders can utilise Part 2 of the CML Handbook to heap more complex and onerous disclosure obligations on their conveyancing panel lawyers.

But, since nothing is ever simple when it comes to CML Handbook Part 2 compliance, the question “Does the lender want to receive environmental or contaminated land reports?” is the jumping off point for lenders to shoehorn in obligations that encroach upon what would normally expect of a surveyor.

In-fact up until recently the answer that Coventry Building Society, Godiva Mortgages and ITL gave to the aforementioned question about sending reports to a lander was a simple 'No'

These lenders have now changed their answer to :

Generally no.

In relation to Japanese Knotweed:

You do not need to make the society aware of Japanese Knotweed in the following categories

1. Japanese Knotweed was not seen on this property, but it can be seen on a neighbouring property or land where it was more than 7 metres away from the boundary.
2. Japanese Knotweed was not seen within the boundaries of this property, but it was seen on a neighbouring property or land. Here, it was within 7 metres of the boundary, but more than 7 metres away from habitable spaces, conservatory and/or garage of the subject property.

You will need to advise the society if you become aware of Japanese Knotweed in the following categories, you will need to provide specific details of which category the Japanese Knotweed falls into, the examples listed below are likely to be unacceptable to us

3. Although Japanese Knotweed is present within the boundaries of the property, it is more than 7 metres from a habitable space, conservatory, and/or garage. If there is damage to outbuildings, associated structures, paths and boundary walls and fences, it is minor.
4. Japanese Knotweed is within 7 metres of a habitable space, conservatory and/or garage, either within the boundaries of this property or in a neighbouring property or space and /or Japanese Knotweed is causing serious damage to outbuildings, associated structures, drains, paths, boundary walls and fences and so on.

Confused by the said wording? I too was tied up in knots.

*March 2004

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