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Homeowners in France warned on insulation work scam

Homeowners in France are warned to be alert to poor quality home improvement work by unqualified builders - especially for low-cost, energy-saving wall insulation - which can lead to expensive repairs.

Housing agency L'Agence Départementale d’Information sur le Logement (ADIL) has said that since late 2018, it has received an increase in complaints from homeowners about complications linked to insulation work.

These complaints were especially linked to work costing “only €1”, meaning that it was ostensibly done as part of the government’s plan to encourage homeowners to make changes to improve the energy consumption of their property.

The symbolic €1 grant was put in place by the ecology minister. The scheme is intended to enable individual homeowners to replace certain old boilers, and improve wall and attic or roof insulation - thereby reducing the amount of energy wasted - for a low cost.

The scheme came in to force in April 2019, and is set to last until December 31 2020.

Yet, the ADIL has now said that this has led to a spike in homeowners reporting bad work as part of the  €1 scheme. These botched projects must then be repaired or entirely re-done, at a high cost to the homeowners in question.

The agency said that homeowners must verify the professional qualifications or accreditation of any builders offering to do such work, and check that they - or the company they work for - is listed as “Reconnu Garant Environnement” ou RGE.

This means that they have been approved to perform this kind of work at the necessary standard.

The list of all qualified companies with the RGE stamp can be seen on the website.

The ADIL also reminded homeowners that the State would never contact individuals for housing work by cold-calling, and advised individuals to do their own research, and to ensure the worker's location, skills, and website are legitimate.

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