Gov. Rick Perry issued a disaster declaration for Dallas, Tarrant and Kaufman counties, which incurred widespread damage from multiple tornados that ripped through North Texas on Tuesday. The governor is reminding homeowners in impacted areas of important new consumer protections signed into law last year to prevent dishonest contractors from taking advantage of families trying to repair their homes.
"As communities begin to rebuild, my office is working to clear the way so that all needed resources continue to be available for local authorities dealing with the aftermath of this storm," Gov. Perry said. "In addition, all who have suffered damage to their home should be mindful of those that might attempt to swindle them out of money for repairs. Thanks to a new law passed last year, families have additional protections from unscrupulous contractors, and are not required to provide full or partial payment to anyone before work begins."
House Bill 1711, which was passed and signed by the governor last year, outlaws the practice of dishonest contractors demanding full or partial payment before beginning work on a home damaged in a storm following a disaster declaration. The new law was passed in response to unscrupulous contractors targeting vulnerable Texans in the wake of disasters like Hurricane Ike, telling storm victims they needed full or partial payment before they could begin work, and sometimes never showing up again.
Preliminary damage assessments from the American Red Cross indicate that nearly 650 structures have been affected by Tuesday's tornados, with 200 destroyed and more than 100 sustaining major damage.