Working as I do in other people’s houses and properties I come across things that are a little strange. Sometimes they are one off occurrences, sometimes they form part of a theme. Here are some weird EPC experiences that I’ve had in my seven years of being a domestic energy assessor.
It’s an unfortunate truth that I have to do surveys in properties that are in probate. In other words the previous tenants have passed away. Some have been stripped bare but others are still fully furnished and left as if someone has just popped out to the shops.
In 100% of probate cases (this is NOT an exaggeration in my experience) someone has always been in and taken the TV, whether the house is empty or the rest of the furniture is still there.
I remember one house where the chap who lived there had recently died after living alone for many years. I walked into the dining room to find that it was unusually dark for the middle of the day. I discovered that this was because patio weeds (your run of the mill weeds that grow in between paving slabs) had grown so high they had gone past the height of the patio doors, blocking out all of the light.
This wasn’t the oddest thing. In the kitchen one of the trees from the back garden had a branch which had broken the kitchen window. Not only that, the branch was growing (and had been for many years) across the kitchen ceiling, sprouting new branches in some cases and venturing into cupboards.
Very sad that he had no-one to take care of it for him.
It’s the nature of the job that I have to go into a lot of places that are unoccupied. It can be quite spooky, especially in older places which naturally creak and groan as you wander about.
I was once in a flat that I knew the occupants were out at work for the day. As I would normally do, I opened up all of the doors to get an idea of the layout of the property before commencing with my floor plans.
The last door was to the kitchen. I opened it up and stepped in. I shouted (screamed if I’m honest.) A man was running towards me from the other end of the kitchen. I ducked down and backed out, slamming the door behind me quickly, heart beating hard.
Nothing happened, all was quiet on the other side of the door. No footsteps, no shouting. I called, “Hello”, my voice shaking.
I slowly turned the handle and glanced in. I had another initial shock and my heart leapt back into my throat as I glimpsed the man still running towards me, but in exactly the same position as before.
I took another look.
It was a life-size cardboard cut out of Robbie Williams.
Yes, of course some house’s pet rules aren’t as strict as others, but that’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about the animals that aren’t pets. Those that scurry, scratch and occasionally flap. The unintended occupants of properties that most official occupants aren’t even aware of.
In the most cases you can find these in cellars and lofts, the evidence of them at least.
I went into one property where I was warned that they used to have mice and rats in the loft. When I tried to lift the fairly innocuous looking loft hatch I found that it weighed a ton. I eventually managed to heave it up. When I glanced around in the loft I found that the entire place was covered in at least 3 inches of rat or mice droppings. So solid, you could walk on it.
Still that was better than the 200 year old property where I was warned there could be bats in the loft. When I opened the hatch, splat. Face full of bat poo.
This one has happened on numerous occasions. People staying in bed whilst I work around them. A few of them are teenagers where their parents have answered the door and they simply refuse to get out of bed. This is fair enough, it is only 2pm after all…
However, on occasion, it’s the grown ups who surprise. On multiple occasions I have had the door opened before the occupants have climbed back into bed.
One time a lady answered the door before climbing back under the covers. When I went into the bedroom to measure up, her and her partner were both fast asleep. It was a strange shaped room where I had to stretch across the pair of them in order to plant my laser measure. At one point my face was a few inches from the man’s face, and I wasn’t sure if he knew I was even there.
Could have been awkward if he’d woken up.
I do have people who insist on following me into every room and every outside area as I work. I don’t entirely blame them. I am fully accredited, insured and criminal record checked in order to do the EPCs, but I am still a stranger wandering round their house and their precious possessions.
One particular elderly gentleman did this to me in a small terraced house with a ridiculously steep staircase. He followed me into every room, going up and down the stairs.
I do the assessment in a particular order which means that I don’t do things room by room. I could come into a room multiple times for multiple reasons and I could be up and down the stairs numerous times over the course of a survey.
This poor old chap had diligently followed me up and down the stairs at least five times during the survey and even came halfway up the ladder as I went into his loft.
It was only after I’d finished and was saying goodbye that I noticed the framed picture in the hallway. It was a framed letter to him from the Queen. The shattered fella in front of me was at least a century old!
These are some of my weird EPC experiences. Let me know if you’ve had any?!
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