Former DEA Dawn shares her experience conducting an EPC on a deserted house in Birmingham.
I used to carry out assessments a few years back and there’s always been one that’s stuck in my mind.
It was an overcast day in November, with really strong winds and dark rain clouds gathering in the distance. I was in the east end of Birmingham, outside an old terraced house I was due to conduct an assessment for, but I couldn’t get the door to open.
It was strange because I could hear the click of the lock as I turned the key, but it just wouldn’t budge. Eventually I called the estate agent down, who gave it a few shoulder barges until it finally burst open. The mountain of unopened mail behind the door explained what the problem was as we battled our way into the deserted property.
The estate agent said he had to go back to the office, which was fair enough, but when the door closed I realised how dark it was inside and there was definitely a part of me that wished he had stayed. None of the lights worked as the electricity had been shut off, so I had to get my torch out to see where I was going.
When I shone the light around the room I could see that the house was still fully furnished, with crucifixes and pictures of the Pope covering the walls, which only put me more on edge. I could see by the calendar in the kitchen, dated 15 years previous, that it had been a long time since someone had lived in this house and I was starting to really get a bad feeling off the place.
As I walked up the stairs I could hear a weird swooshing and flapping noise, which I couldn’t work out what it was, and when I reached the top of the stairs I was greeted by the site of a large, dead rat which was interwoven into the carpet. Pretty disgusted, but determined to complete the assessment and get my fee, I stepped over the rat and proceeded down the hallway.
The whooshing noise got louder and louder as I walked down the hallway and into a bedroom, where I was greeted by bird poo everywhere. Literally there was a carpet of bird poo. And as I looked up I could see what had gone on: the pigeons had completely taken over the loft, to the point where the ceiling had caved in. It was just bizarre to just be stood in this pigeon palace, surrounded by feathers, dust and who knows what else. Meanwhile the birds just sat up there watching.
I hastily finished the assessment (I shudder to think how accurate the floor plan was) and practically ran out the house.