Hiring A Contractor After A Disaster
Authored By: Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, Inc.
When you have been impacted by severe storns, tornadoes, floods, wild fires or any type of disaster, you will be faced with hiring a professional contractor to make repairs or rebuild your home.
Here area a few things to remember when hiring a contractor. Do your homework and move forward with care.
- Call 405-521-6550 or visit http://cibverify.ok.gov/ and verify that the contractor is licensed and certified by the state of Oklahoma.
- Ask for proof of the contractor’s general liability insurance. A reputable contractor should be able to show you an insurance certificate. Usually, the insurance carrier can have a copy of the certificate sent directly from their agency, however, this may not be realistic during this time of disaster.
In Oklahoma, all jobs should be permitted and inspected. Here are local contacts to verify the contractorsubmitted the proper permits and inspection requests:
- Moore - 405-793-5051 or http://www.cityofmoore.com/building-inspections-and-permits
- Shawnee - 405-878-1616 or http://www.shawneeok.org/development/codeenforcement/default.asp#permits
- Contact the Public Protection Unit in the Oklahoma Office of the Attorney General to view the repairservice report of a particular contractor or to report any suspicious activity at 405-521-2029 or http://www.oag.ok.gov/oagweb.nsf/Consumer
- Ask for references and check those references.
- Check with the Better Business Bureau for any history of unsatisfied complaints at 703-276-0100 or http://www.bbb.org/us
- Check with the Central Oklahoma Home Builders Association at 405-848-1508 to verify credentials andmembership.
- Verify the company’s permanent business address is in this area and not from out of state.
- Take your time to fully understand your contract and the warranties that the builder will provide and the work to be performed. The contract should outline the scope of the work, the price, and at what points of completion payment is due.
- Be wary of low bids - lowest bid is not always the best. Do not feel any pressure from the contractor to make an immediate decision.
- Be wary of a contractor who wants full payment before the job beings or will only accept cash payments.
- Most important - the Oklahoma Bar Association is providing free legal review of all building and repair contracts for victims of the disaster. Contact them at 405-416-7000 or visit http://www.okbar.org