Nice work if you can get it?

Renting a house in France. A curious affair, where every landlord wants someone to move in within a week, and yet standard notice to leave a rented property is 3 months.

Our particular rented house was in need of a DPE report (diagnostic de performance energetique), or energy efficiency rating. The landlady didn’t know where to find someone to do the report so I said I would find out for her and pass on the details. “Beware of charlatans” shouted her husband from the background.Two phone numbers were found on the internet, and prices were noted. A day or so later, an appointment was fixed.

The goatee bearded chap that turned up, looked like he should have been playing a tea-chest bass in a skiffle band, in the latter half of the Fifties, complete with shabby tweed jacket and pointy shoes. Definitely not your stereotypical building surveyor. Coming in to the house with the landlady, he then launched in to a speil about what it was he was going to do and why it was important. And by the way, “who is writing me the cheque?”.

Spiel and payment sorted, he got out the Leica laser distance measure from the pouch on his belt. Moving swiftly around the room, he tapped on the walls, muttering ‘placaud’ to himself. The ‘expert’ noted the sizes of all the rooms. If any furniture was in the way, he just measured at an angle, after all, it’s all the same isn’t it? With that, he thanked us and was gone. Under 10 minutes for a full DPE survey, €100, thank you very much.

Not once did he mention the single glazing, or look in the cave/ garage (which covers the entire area of the house) or even ask about insulation in the roof space. Beware of charlatans with goatees, and DPE reports.