Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and Legis. Denise Ford (R-Long Beach) on Monday urged victims of fraud by superstorm Sandy contractors to file complaints, and said they were considering new legislation to strengthen protections for displaced homeowners.
“We are here today to wage war on unscrupulous contractors,” said Curran, standing in front of an incomplete home one block from the beach. “Any resident who has been taken advantage of by a licensed or unlicensed contractor should know that they are not alone.”
Curran is asking all county residents who feel they have been victims to log complaints with the county’s Office of Consumer Affairs.
Homeowner Liz Treston, 57, said she is the victim of a contractor who for years has delayed completion of her Wyoming Avenue house. Treston, who uses a wheelchair, is unable to move back into her elevated home until it is completed. She lives in a rental apartment nearby because of the construction delays and has paid more than $200,000 to her contractor.
More protections for consumers are needed, Treston said.
“I appreciate the politicians stepping up, but it’s time for the laws to be changed,” Treston said.
Curran said the county maintains a database of fraudulent contractors that is updated online. She also said the county was creating a program that would require licensed contractors to complete continuing education courses.
The issue is timely, Ford said. There are two deadlines for homeowners who are applying for funding through the state’s New York Rising disaster recovery grant program: June 1 for those located in a 100-year floodplain where elevating the house is optional, and Sept. 1 for homes that sustained more than 50 percent storm damage and raising of the house is mandated by the municipality.
Ford said residents who are victimized by contractors post-Sandy should file grievances with NY Rising and also with the county.
Ford said she is working with other county legislators on a possible bill to increase penalties for contractors who defraud victims of the 2012 storm. “We need to strengthen our laws,” Ford said. “We need to protect our homeowners.”