February 26, 2024

Prevent

Recommendations to prevent property renovation frauds in France

Home renovation cons are turning into progressively widespread in France, particularly as the govt boosts and extends schemes for eco-welcoming jobs. Below is how to avoid acquiring stung. 

Why are ripoffs growing?

The governing administration has claimed it will pledge €5 billion to the MaPrimeRénov scheme to support house owners make eco-helpful renovations to their houses in 2024.

This extra funds and the predicted uptick in people today on the lookout for undertaking offers, indicates that scammers have stepped up their efforts to defraud owners.

Read more: What is France Rénov’ assist plan – can I use it to renovate my dwelling? 

“The rise in fraud is a scourge that can limit the success of general public grants,” Romain Villain, Taking care of Director of Heero, a enterprise specialising in renovation funding options, advised Money.

Nonetheless, he claimed that the chance of cons should really not “deter individuals from utilizing [government schemes], or from carrying out electrical power renovation work”, as extensive as folks are mindful of the challenges and know how to location a fraud if they see a single.

Suggestions features:

1. Choose an permitted strength auditor

Ahead of carrying out any perform on your assets, it is proposed that you get a whole vitality and environmental assessment completed. This will display you particularly in which enhancements can be manufactured.

Make guaranteed you choose a diagnostician who has the Reconnu garant de l'environnement (RGE) label. You can obtain a listing of accredited experts on the france-renov.gouv.fr website. The assessment need to cost around €500-€1,000.

Opting for somebody - even if they surface qualified - who is not on the list opens you up to fraud and difficult advertising. 

Some unscrupulous diagnosticians may pretend to be auditors, with the sole reason of offering you high-priced machines after the evaluation. They may possibly even discover ‘faults’ with your assets that ‘require’ their equipment - of class! - to correct these kinds of as a heat pump company locating that your residence has a challenge that only their heat pump can solve. 

For apparent reasons, this is to be averted.

2. Secure your MaPrimeRénov specifics

You are encouraged hardly ever to give your MaPrimeRénov' account access codes to a organization or permit everyone to carry out the formalities of making use of for the income on your behalf. 

“Apply for renovation support personally, so that the grants are compensated immediately into your lender account,” advises Mr Villain at Heero. 

This can support avoid scammers who present to do the ‘difficult software work’ for their purchasers, and implement on your behalf, just before pocketing the dollars. They may possibly even do the work, and some can even display accreditation from the Agence nationale de l'habitat (ANAH), but you under no circumstances see your share of the grant. 

By the time you realise, the ‘company’ who applied for you may have been dissolved by the scammer, creating it difficult to get your income again.

Similarly, buyer affiliation 60 Millions de Consommateurs highlighted a situation in which a female was approached by a organization who mentioned she would only have to have to shell out €3,000 for the set up of a warmth pump, and that she essential to open a financial loan in advance for the perform to begin. The organization claimed that she could pay off the mortgage in complete when her MaPrimeRénov money arrived by. "But the money hardly ever arrived," she said. "Nonetheless, I nevertheless have to maintain on paying out back again the financial loan. Just after studying online, I discovered that the firm was a sham." Instead, the organization experienced pocketed her grant to spend for the work at first, installed the heat pump haphazardly, and then disappeared.

People are also warned to be warn to the situations of other styles of financial loans such as écoprêt à taux zéro.

This mortgage is conditional on the eco-friendly function staying finished, and you will only begin to pay out the loan back again after the supply of expert services. Nevertheless, Corinne Lamoussière-Pouvreau, lawful expert at the Institut nationwide de la consommation (INC), claimed: "But stay informed. Some consumers are occasionally pressured into signing a doc in which they say that the function has already been done. This implies that your constructing enterprise will be able to pocket the bank's funds in advance, even if no function has started out at your residence."

Always take care of your MaPrimeRénov' application, account, and funds you.

3. Verify the making get the job done very carefully

The renovation function performed in your house have to match and comply with the criteria set by ANAH to make sure that you receive the suitable MaPrimeRénov' grants. 

The contractors should be knowledgeable of the required requirements, these kinds of as a particular amount of windows, or the bare minimum thickness of insulation. If the function does not comply, you may not get your grant, and you will have to pay out for the entirety of the operate. 

If essential, you can inquire for an advisor from Mon Accompagnateur Rénov to verify that the function is compliant before your builder leaves to make sure that they are accomplishing a top quality job - and that you will receive your income as planned.

Rip-off defense

The government is aware that frauds are possible to increase up coming yr. As a result, it has mentioned that it will double the range of staff members doing work on vitality renovation reviews at the fraud place of work in 2024 (the Course générale de la concurrence, de la consommation et de la répression des fraudes, DGCCRF).

The government and fraud business have also worked to apply an ‘anti-rip-off filter’ on any internet site that appears to be malicious or fraudulent when it arrives to property renovation.

The federal government is also established to increase and tighten checks on applications for extensive, expensive renovations, to keep away from the worst frauds. 

Related article content

French grants lined 30% prices to switch my aged oil-fired boiler
A lot of homeowners nonetheless ‘better off’ with France's new regional tax program
MaPrimeRenov: How to declare grant for electricity updates in French house

Suggestions for insulating a basement to prevent freezing pipes

Home Enhancement

Send your property improvement inquiries to [email protected]

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Q. We made the plunge and put in multi-zone mini-splits in all the rooms of our 1950 ranch. We have shut down our oil furnace but not drained our baseboard heaters. The basement, all underneath quality, has blown insulation in the ceiling. We do have pipes, each baseboard and potable water, in close proximity to external partitions. In 33 a long time, this basement has never ever gotten colder than 50 levels or so. Without having the furnace working and performing as a warmth source, how considerably ought to we get worried about freezing pipes? Need to we get temperature warning alarms and pipe heaters or go away the furnace working? Many thanks.

C.K.

A. Ordinarily, an unheated basement will remain involving 50 and 55 degrees, assuming there are no gaps to the exterior. Most frozen pipes materialize when they are within the exterior walls above the basement, not in the basement. What I would advise with the blown-in insulation in the floor bays higher than is to insulate the perimeter of the basement where by the foundation meets the framing. Most basement air leaks occur right here. We like to use closed-mobile icynene, but specified the modest sizing of the challenge, this may well not be useful. An simple substitute is to use 2-inch rigid insulation minimize into the flooring bays against the exterior and spray foam around the perimeter, sealing all the gaps. This is very efficient at air sealing a basement.

Pipe heaters are a Band-Assist on a problem that need to be solved correctly. There are economical alarm units that can ship telephone alerts if the temperature in the basement receives underneath 32. Customers can tie it into their phones. Again, any basement that gets to 32 levels has major challenges with infiltration. Considering the fact that you seem to be striving to lessen your carbon footprint, thoroughly sealing the basement space is an important stage. You could attempt the alarm for the first calendar year as a basic safety precaution.

Mark Philben is the job growth manager at Charlie Allen Renovations in Cambridge. Mail your questions to [email protected]. Issues are topic to enhancing.

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Keep Your Home Secure: 10 Tips to Prevent Break-Ins and Theft

Moving into a house can be exciting, but putting safety measures in place to keep it protected and getting started with home security systems or devices can feel a little daunting. The good news is there's so many budget-friendly home security options available right now from DIY monitoring to smart locks. Plus, burglary is becoming less common every year

But even with dropping rates, FBI data shows that burglaries occur in the US roughly once every 30 seconds. And it is a top priority to keep your family and property safe. To help with your home security checklist, we put together a straightforward guide of the 10 best, easiest and most affordable steps you can take to protect your home and deter would-be intruders from breaking in.

Read also: Don't Buy a Security Camera. Just Turn That Old Phone Into One

1. Secure your doors and windows

Locking your doors and windows is the first and easiest defense against home intruders, but how many of us are doing it consistently? Burglars are often looking for easy targets, and an unlocked door or window is just that. Even when you're home, it's good practice to keep them locked. And when you're leaving the house, double-check doors and first-floor windows to make sure they're all secured.

Some devices can also help you keep track of your entryways. Door and window sensors can track whether a door or window has been left ajar, and smart locks can be scheduled to lock automatically at certain times. Which brings us to our next tip.

2. Upgrade your door locks

Locking your doors and windows may not be enough if you don't have high-quality locks. First, make sure all exterior doors have a deadbolt, making it more difficult for intruders to break in. While you're at it, make sure your door frames and hinges are strong enough to endure an attempted break-in -- older doors or exposed hinges can pose an unnecessary risk. Finally, as mentioned above, you can upgrade to smart locks, which you can engage remotely.

Close up of a door with an August Wi-Fi smart lock. Close up of a door with an August Wi-Fi smart lock.

Smart locks work by pairing with your phone so you can enter without a key in hand.


Molly Price/CNET

3. Buy a home security system

Installing a home security system is one of the most effective ways to prevent intruders from entering and to alert you if there's been a break-in. Data shows that a home without a security system is roughly three times more likely to be broken into. If an intruder spots a security camera or a sign indicating you have a security system, they'll likely keep moving.

A Vivint camera situated outside the home. A Vivint camera situated outside the home.

Home security systems are one of the best all-around defenses against would-be burglars.


David Priest/CNET

Home security cameras are a great option to add another layer of home protection. Security cameras can alert you if there's movement in your yard or on your front porch, and door and window sensors will let you know if someone has entered or is attempting to enter your home. Depending on your security company, they may also alert law enforcement on your behalf.

Security systems also don't have to break the bank. There are plenty of affordable security cameras and great DIY security systems, in addition to stand-alone devices, out there that you can install yourself on a budget.

4. Keep your valuables hidden

Some burglars may scope out potential targets ahead of time, ensuring they hit houses where they can get their hands on valuables. As a result, it's best to avoid keeping your expensive items where intruders can easily see them as they pass by. For example, avoid leaving expensive tools or bikes out in the open, close your garage door, and don't leave expensive electronics, purses, jewelry, cash and other big-ticket items in front of open windows. You can also consider installing window treatments like curtains or blinds to keep out spying eyes. 

5. Install outdoor lighting

Burglars don't want to feel like they're on display when breaking into a home, and outdoor lights can help to do just that. Since these crimes are often ones of opportunity, outdoor lights may encourage the intruder to keep moving. Rather than keeping your outdoor light on all the time, consider investing in motion-sensor lights that illuminate the yard when they detect movement. The light will catch an intruder off-guard and potentially scare them off. 

And if you would like to take the extra step, there are plenty of outdoor security cameras on the market. From high-end devices to budget-friendly options, boosting your video-surveillance system can keep your loved ones and your property as safe as possible. 

Read more: The best LED floodlight to buy this year

6. Lock your garage

People put a lot of effort into securing their homes but often forget entirely about their garages. Unfortunately, that can be an easy way to gain entrance into your home. First, be sure any regular doors and windows to your garage are locked. Next, consider keeping your garage door opener in the house rather than in your car where someone could steal it. Finally, you should also keep the interior door from your garage to your home locked. That way, if someone does gain entry into your garage, they still can't get into your home. 

As with door locks, buying a retrofit smart garage door opener is an option. These devices allow you to check the status of your garage while you're away, control it remotely and schedule it to shut at certain times.

Close up of two spare home keys. Close up of two spare home keys.

Spare keys are a lifesaver if you get locked out of the house. But they can also make a burglar's job much easier.


Tyler Lizenby/CNET

7. Be smart about your hide-a-key

If you have a house key under your doormat or flowerpot on the porch, rethink its placement. Intruders know these popular hiding places for spare keys, and those are the first places they'll look. Instead, consider giving the extra key to a trusted neighbor or friend. If you must have a spare key outside your home, look for safer alternatives such as a concealed combination lockbox -- or at least a discreet and unexpected location far from your doorway. A little extra caution and mindfulness can go a long way in keeping your home safe. 

8. Make it look like someone is home

Most burglars don't want to enter your home when you're there. They'd rather find an empty home and be in and out as quickly as possible. Therefore, one of the best ways to prevent intruders is to make it look like someone is home at all times.

During the workday, this might include leaving an interior light or the TV on. When you're gone for a longer period of time such as a vacation, make sure to have a neighbor or family member collect your mail, since mail piling up can be a giveaway that the homeowner is gone for a while.

Smart lights can create an even more convincing effect: many can be programmed to turn on and off periodically to simulate a person being home.

9. Consider buying a safe

In a perfect world, intruders would never make it into your home, and so you'd never have to worry about your valuables being stolen. Unfortunately, even the best-laid plans can go astray. And on the off-chance that an intruder does make it into your home, you want to make sure they can steal as little as possible.

First, consider buying a safe or lockbox where you can keep things like cash, jewelry, important documents and other items you wouldn't want a thief to walk away with. As far as bigger items such as electronics, you can make them more difficult to steal by putting them in a concealed place when you aren't using them. Thieves want to be in and out of your home as quickly as possible, so even the smallest deterrent can help.

10. Deter theft on your front porch 

It's also important to remember home security extends to your front porch and that means protecting your delivered packages from porch piratesBillions of packages are delivered every year in the US alone -- especially during the holiday season -- and many of those delivered packages sit unattended for hours, attracting thieves. One recent study found that 43% of respondents reported having a package stolen in 2020, which is up from 36% in 2019. 

With porch piracy on the rise, there are several methods to keeping your items safe, such as investing in a porch lockbox or a mailbox sensor, a small device that attaches to your mailbox and notifies you when it's opened. You could also require a signature upon delivery to prevent your packages from sitting unattended until you get home. 

The bottom line

No one wants to become the victim of a home invasion. Implementing the tips on this checklist will help discourage and prevent burglars -- and keep your family and belongings safe. You can start small and pick just a couple of things on this list to focus on. Once you have those down, you can move on to other items on the checklist. Each small improvement you make will ensure your home and loved ones are that much more secure.