September is quickly becoming one of the soggiest months on record with many Northern Coloradans now dealing with leaky roofs, flooded homes and saturated businesses.
When returning to a home or office that has sustained water damage, the first thing to consider is the possibility of mold damage and then deal with the situation quickly and properly to lessen or mitigate the problem. If there is mold in your home it must be cleaned up and the water problem that caused it fixed to prevent further damage. Depending on the extent of damage, you may choose to do the cleanup yourself or call in the pros.
Also, if your heating, ventilation and air conditioning system was flooded, have the system checked and cleaned by a reliable service technician before turning it back on.
If you need to restore your home or business after water damage, Better Business Bureau® Serving Northern Colorado and Wyoming has the following suggestions:
Don’t sign anything you don’t understand. Ask a friend, relative, business person or attorney to review any contract you do not understand. If someone insists that you have to sign on the spot, find another contractor.
Hire only local contractors qualified in mold remediation and property restoration. Check with the Cleaning and Restoration Association and the Restoration Industry Association for a list of contractors and check out their BBB Business Reviews and customer reviews at wynco.bbb.org. Be sure to ask for references and call them.
Be suspicious of any contractor who contacts you out-of-the-blue or is going door-to-door to offer his or her services. Deal only with contractors you’ve asked to come out to your property.
Act promptly to minimize damage. Every insurance contract requires the policyholder to mitigate damages. Some examples include cutting off the water, moving contents (things inside your house) to a safe place and tarping the roof (but only if it can be safely done).
Don’t be surprised if the insurance check is issued to both you and the lender that holds your mortgage. Your contractor may require you to sign a statement acknowledging that the mortgage lien attaches to the insurance check. This is a common practice since Hurricane Katrina and helps to ensure the insurance check is used to restore the property.
Keep a copy of any contract you sign or any warranty papers your contractor might give you.
Don’t be in such a hurry that you make careless or emotional decisions. If you live in an area where there has been extensive damage, it may take awhile for local contractors to get around to you and you may be frustrated. That is understandable. But scammers understands this, too, and will attempt to manipulate these feelings of frustration to your detriment. Don’t be pressured into making a decision on the spot.
Be highly suspicious of any contractor who requires full payment upfront – you may never see him again! It is, however, OK to pay a deposit for certain jobs, provided it’s no more than one-third of the total cost. If you’re unsure what to do, check with a trusted friend, relative or your insurance agent.
If you have a complaint about a contractor or about the work done on your house or property, you may file a complaint at wynco.bbb.org in order to take advantage of BBB’s free dispute resolution services. You may also want to contact your state’s consumer protection agency or the Attorney General’s Office.
Start With Trust. For lists of BBB Accredited Businesses by industry and BBB Business Reviews, customer reviews and consumer tips and information, visit wynco.bbb.org.