Many local homeowners face another storm season with blue-tarped roofs after contractors took big deposits then closed their doors. And some said they were burned by two well-known state licensed roofers. Action 9's Todd Ulrich investigated what they can do now to get some of that money back.
“The house is falling apart,” said Bob Smith. He has been living under a blue tarp for 19 months.
Roofing contractor Carlson Enterprises collected a $7,000 deposit from his hail damage insurance settlement in 2016. But it never installed a new roof. “I had four different build dates which kept getting postponed,” said Smith.
Then Hurricane Mathew hit, and small leaks turned into a collapsed ceiling, causing thousands of dollars more in damages inside.
Smith was still waiting when Hurricane Irma ripped into his blue tarps. “You got my money, but I don't have a roof and I don't have money to put a roof on,” said Smith.
Action 9 found dozens of Carlson Enterprises customers were abandoned. The company's main office is closed and calls are not being returned.
That’s not the only roofing contractor haunting hurricane victims.
“It's pretty devastating. It really is,” said Melanie Bailey. She has blue tarps covering her home.
Bailey paid Wescott Roofing and Painting a $4,000 deposit. The company’s installation crew never showed up. “I absolutely want my money back so I can move on,” said Bailey.
Wescott Roofing is not returning Ulrich’s calls, and its voicemail suggests the company is closed.
Consumers can contact state regulators to investigate and there is a last resort. The Florida Homeowner's Construction Recovery Fund can cover some of your losses.
Homeowners burned by state-licensed contractors first need to win a civil judgment. If the company doesn't pay it, then they can file a claim.
Action 9 checked, and the fund has a nearly $4,000,000 balance and covers individual losses up to $15,000.
“I really don't know what to do at this point,” said Bailey.
According to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, complaints against roofers nearly doubled in the past year.
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