New York Signs Laws to Protect Homeowners Against ‘Storm Chasers’
NEW YORK CITY — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a law on Monday that aims to protect homeowners from storm-chasing roofing contractors and scammers.
The legislation (S1405/A7531) is meant to deter unsavory roofing contractors who swoop in after severe weather events and perform shoddy repair work or, in some cases, no work at all. The law will require roofing contractors to enter written contracts with property owners before any work can begin.
"It is reprehensible that in the aftermath [of] a natural disaster that bad actors exploit New Yorkers, especially our seniors, at their greatest time of need," Cuomo said. "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."
In addition to requiring a written contract, the new law does not allow contractors to require a deposit in excess of 50 percent of the contract amount before starting any work. The law also prevents contractors from using insurance deductibles as an enticement to enter an agreement for services.
The law even attempts to prevent contractors from abandoning or failing to perform the contracted work without justification.
"New York must always protect homeowners, especially after a natural disaster when they are most vulnerable to unscrupulous contractors," said Senator David Carlucci, who sponsored the new law. "Our legislation will hold contractors accountable and stop scams from ripping off homeowners."
Homeowners are also given more flexibility to cancel contracts within three days if an insurance claim has been denied. The law stipulates that homeowners aren’t responsible for payments after a contract has been canceled.
"Recently, many homes and businesses were damaged in the Mohawk Valley and across the state during the Halloween 2019 storm," said Assemblymember Marianne Buttenschon, who also sponsored the legislation. "This legislation will ensure that property repairs are being completed by legitimate contractors with the goal of providing quality, safe work for the property owner."
The legislation becomes effective 180 days after enactment.
Earlier this year, Texas passed a similar law that cracks down on roofing scammers by preventing contractors from waiving an insurance deductible.