I am cautiously optimistic that spring is finally here, although I have not yet put away my winter coat!
As anyone who has lived in the Rockies for any amount of time knows spring storms can be treacherous. Hail damage can leave roofs, cars and yards a mess. Repairs take money and time and they bring out the fraudsters. Read the tips below on how to find the right people to repair your property. Take your time to research contractors and get at least three bids for your project, you will save a lot of time and money in the long run.
ROOF REPAIR THINK AGAIN AS HAIL SEASON APPROACHES
Spring and hailstorm damage go hand-in-hand, making it “high season” for contractor complaints. Given the numerous complaints law enforcement receives this time of year, now is the time to consider the steps to take for repairing a roof or property in the event you get hit with hail or storm damage. Consider the following:
The greatest number of complaints are against door-to-door contractors,
especially those who come knocking right after a hailstorm.
The most common complaint type is contractor nonperformance: the homeowner gives money up front to an untrustworthy contractor who may or may not begin the work and then disappears-closely followed by poor quality work and the headaches to follow.
If the loss to the homeowner exceeds the $7,500 amount for small claims court, they may have to risk hiring an attorney to file a lawsuit. Consumers may end up winning judgments that they can never collect.
Under the Colorado Mechanics Lien Law – C.R.S. 38-22-101, subcontractors and suppliers have the right to place a lien on an owner’s property if they are not paid by the contractor for the work they performed on the home. The law insures that subs/suppliers are fairly paid for the value they provide to a home as a result of their work.
Do your due diligence:
Door-to-door contractors are not necessarily scam artists, but doing business with one out of sheer convenience is risky.
Research all prospective contractors. Ask your insurance company for a recommendation. A roofing contractor is prohibited by law from waiving your obligation to pay your insurance deductible.
Review the business on the Better Business Bureau website. Things to look for include the length of time the company has been in business and the number of complaints the business has received. How the business handles such complaints is often revealing.
Check with the building department in your city or county to see if the contractor is licensed.
Get at least three bids. Many companies will not request any payment before work is completed.
Understand the contract before signing. The contract should have a start and end date, and a clause that indicates how disputes will be handled. Understand your obligation if the insurance company does not pay for something. Once the work commences, get all change orders in writing.
Get a signed lien waiver from the contractor when you make your payment to insure that all subcontractors and suppliers have been paid to avoid a lien being slapped on your home. (see Mechanics Lien Law, above)
Understand your rights under the Residential Roofing Services statute, C.R.S. 6-22-101. A roofing contractor must disclose their surety and liability coverage insurer and provide the homeowner with written notification that the roofing contractor shall hold any payment from the residential property owner in trust until the roofing contractor has delivered roofing materials or has performed a majority of the roofing work on the residential property.
Please heed this last warning: if someone comes door-to-door, do not let them in your house. If they ask you to accompany them to look at the project from the backyard, lock your door. Your new contractor may have a friend waiting for the “all clear sign” to get into your house.