Letter: Beware Bad Actors After Irma

In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, people are scrambling to rebuild their lives and homes. Unfortunately, bad actors can take advantage of honest folks during these moments of stress, when everyone is eager to get their lives back in order. There are resources available that can help homeowners avoid being taken advantage of during this challenging time.

First and foremost, homeowners should check the Florida Construction Industry Licensing Board’s web site, www.myfloridalicense.com, to verify that a contractor’s license is real and up-to-date before hiring any company to do work on your home.

When looking for a Florida licensed contractor, visit the Disaster Contractors Network, www.dcnonline.org, for a contractor in your area. For those not quite ready to make repairs, FEMA offers disaster assistance at www.disasterassistance.gov and can help people find emergency housing at www.femaevachotels.com.

Homeowners can also take advantage of a public-private partnership known as HERO Property Assessed Clean Energy to finance hurricane-resilient improvements and repairs with no upfront cost, allowing them to rebuild the right way and protect against future storms. HERO vets contractors and tracks their customer satisfaction records.

Finally, homeowners should not hesitate to report bad actors to the consumer price gouging hotline at (866) 966-7226. Honest players in the construction industry are here to help and will be happy to settle any concerns or disputes through the appropriate channels.

Lisa Pate, Executive Director, Florida Roofing, Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors Association (FRSA)