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On Thursday 1st October members of staff from across our offices were invited to a National Association of Estate Agents conference in Bristol. The day was a great opportunity to meet other members of the NAEA from across the South West and to expand our knowledge particularly with talks on anti-money laundering and Japanese Knot weed.
It was reassuring to know that we are closely following the recommended procedures when it comes to anti-money laundering. As many of you may know this subject has been highlighted in the media recently with Channel 4 producing a documentary ‘From Russia With Cash’ for which showed an insight into how any suspect buyers should be appropriately handled. In the documentary, London was described as being the money laundering capital of the world with the National Crime Agency estimating that hundreds of billions of pounds is laundered through the UK each year. It is company policy to check the identification of all of our vendors before marketing takes place, and also that we verify where a buyer’s funds are coming from, raising any suspicions we may have with immediate effect.
The information given to us on Japanese Knot Weed was certainly more of an eye opener, as we have been fortunate enough to not deal with many properties for which this is an issue. For those of you who don’t know how to spot the weed, look out for the following characteristics: shield shaped leaf, zig-zag shape to stem, 12ft growth between Spring and Summer, woody, hollow stems, white flowers in August and deciduous.
Japanese Knot Weed is spread via root growth and the movement of soil. This could be via burrowing animals, erosion by river banks and flooding, fly tipping, importing soil, or general gardening in that area! The root system will spread by 50cm in each direction every year.
Impacts of Japanese Knot Weed:
- Nil/low valuations for mortgages
- Can damage buildings by growing between foundations etc
- Delays to developments/construction
- Neighbour disputes + legal action
- Can come up through pathways and driveways even if they have been tarmacked or concreted over
There is generally a 3.5% reduction in the value of a property is Japanese Knot Weed is present.
Treatment can cost between £4k-£10k and this can be either through chemical herbicide methods or physical excavation – but make sure you go to a reputable company as mortgage Lenders will only lend if they have an appropriate insurance backed guarantee.
It is possible to get Japanese Knot Weed indemnity insurance for £65 which will cover repair costs to damaged property, treatment survey costs and legal expenses for 10 years.
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