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Legislation would stop 'storm chasers' from taking advantage of homeowners devastated by disasters

Legislation was signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo Monday to protect homeowners from roofing contractors or scammers, known as “storm chasers,” who prey on people after natural disasters damage their homes.

Posted: Nov 25, 2019 5:37 PM

Legislation was signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo Monday to protect homeowners from roofing contractors or scammers, known as “storm chasers,” who prey on people after natural disasters damage their homes.

Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon helped prepare the legislation, after many residents in her district recently suffered severe damage from the Halloween floods.

“Last month, our communities were hit by storms that caused serious flooding, and increasing changes in weather patterns will only bring more severe weather in the future,” Buttenschon said. “Homeowners faced with damaged property have enough on their plate without these ‘storm chasers’ conning them out of thousands of dollars and leaving them with shoddy work or uncompleted repairs that will cost thousands more to address. I want to thank the governor for signing this timely legislation into law to help ensure New Yorkers won’t have to worry about losing their hard-earned money to scammers and conmen.”

The law requires roofing contractors to enter into a written contract with property owners before any work can begin, and in an effort to avoid scams, does not allow the contractors to require a deposit.

It also prohibits roof workers from using insurance deductibles to enter into an agreement for services. The bill also intends to stop contractors from failing to perform or complete the work without justification.

In addition, the law gives homeowners, who are often elderly, more flexibility to cancel contracts if their insurance claim has been denied and stipulates that homeowners aren’t responsible for payments after a contract has been canceled.

"It is reprehensible that in the aftermath a natural disaster that bad actors exploit New Yorkers, especially our seniors, at their greatest time of need,” said Cuomo. "In enacting this legislation, we are protecting families and business owners from these unscrupulous con artists who prey on the vulnerable and leave even more damage in their wake."

Anyone who believes they have been contacted by an illegitimate contractor should contact the local police.

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