Thursday, March 16, 2017

North Texas State Rep. targets fly by night roofers with state certification bill

ROWLETT -- An effort is underway in the Texas House of Representatives to protect storm victims from roofers with big promises and shoddy work.

On December 26, 2015, a tornado left Joyce Ghormley's house with significant damage. Desperate to get their kids back home, she and her husband hired a contractor to do their roof and more. They say he was a friend of a friend.

"We thought this was someone we could trust, they’re local and we felt confident with using someone that we thought we kind of knew," she said.

Their instincts would be wrong, when two and a half months later, they say their $17,000 new roof had a faulty chimney, broken rafters, and cracks big enough to let daylight in.

"Honestly at one point we thought about just letting our house go," said Ghormley.

That meant more frustration on top of already serious stress, and their story is one of many.

State Representative Giovanni Capriglione serves parts of Tarrant County.

"I’ve just heard from countless constituents that have quite frankly lost their money and have had really bad workmanship when they’ve had their roofs repaired," he said.

This month, he introduced House Bill 3293, that would create a state certification for roofers.

"Texas is one of the only states that doesn’t have a roofer’s certification," he said.

Capriglione envisions a voluntary program, where roofers could say they are state licensed if they can show they’re certified to work in Texas by the Secretary of State’s office, have enough liability insurance and pay a small fee.

The big target is fly-by-night roofers who swoop in after storms. Ghormley’s roofer was local and she did settle with him out of court. But she supports any bill that could keep people who’ve had damage to their home, from losing more.

"Anything that would help a homeowner with feeling more confident that their work will be done correctly and they have some grounds for repercussion if it’s not, that’s definitely a benefit," she said.

In Texas, some cities and counties have their own rules about what type of contractors need licenses to operate.

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