KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- State and federal disaster recovery officials advise Kansas residents to be extremely careful when hiring contractors to clean and repair disaster damage to their homes and businesses.
"In disaster situations, scam artists are often ready to take advantage of the misfortunes of others," warns Tiffany Ball of the Kansas Attorney General's Office.
"The recovery process can be a positive one if you take your time, talk to building and floodplain officials, and select a contractor with great care," added Federal Emergency Management Agency Federal Coordinating Officer Carol Coleman.
The Kansas Attorney General's Office is offering the following suggestions:
- Use reliable licensed contractors and hire local contractors if possible.
- Get a written estimate.
- Check references.
- Get proof of insurance.
- Ask for a written contract.
- Ask for a written guarantee.
- Pay by check.
- Have work inspected.
- If necessary, cancel a contract within three business days of signing, being sure to follow contract cancellation clauses. Send notification of cancellation by registered mail.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment is reminding people of the following provisions of the federal Clean Air Act and the Toxic Substance Control Act.
- Prior to renovation or demolition of a regulated facility, such as public or commercial buildings, the affected areas are required to be inspected for the presence of asbestos-containing materials (ACM). An accredited asbestos inspector must perform these inspections. Residential properties of more than four units, such as apartments or condominiums are required to be inspected.
- When more than one single-family residence in the same geographical area is to be demolished, those structures are also required to be inspected. You should check with your local building inspector prior to renovation or demolition to ascertain if this requirement pertains to you.
- Single Family residences are exempt from the requirement for inspection, but may contain ACM. Contractors may be subject to the various state and federal asbestos control regulations when performing renovation or demolition where ACM is present. Inspection for ACM is suggested as the contractor is regulated regarding the removal or disturbance of these materials. If the actual homeowner removes ACM, only the disposal of these ACM materials is generally subject to these asbestos regulations.
Should you require clarification of the above regulations, please contact the Division of Environment, Bureau of Air and Radiation, Air and Asbestos Compliance Section at (785) 296-1550.
Persons who are having problems with a contractor or have been victims of fraud are urged to call the Kansas Attorney General, Division of Consumer Protection. The toll-free number is 1-800-432-2310.