Multiple families in Plainview said they made bad deals with a local roofing contractor, causing thousands of dollars in damage, and revealing a flaw in the city's roof permitting and home inspection system.
Cindy Chavez said she paid a roofing contractor $20,000 in June, and the work was not done almost 6 months later.
She said her home sustained damage, costing her even more to fix.
When she began to investigate the work her contractor had done, she discovered the City of Plainview had performed a ground inspection on her home, and approved it. She said nobody had inspected her residence, and the work hadn't been completed.
"I was so upset. I just don't understand how a ground inspection could have been done and approved and completed," she said.
"This particular permit was in fact approved by mistake due to an administrative error in the processing of the paperwork," Chris Valverde, Community Development Manager for the City of Plainview, responded in a statement. "Of the 1,300 plus roofing permits this year, this was the only instance of such occurring I was able to find."
Mirandi Edwards, a neighbor of Chavez, hired the same contractor in late September to work on her roof. She said her home sustained water damage, after a storm hit the area before the work was done.
Chavez won a $10,000 judgment by default in court, after she said the contractor did not show up. She said she was not optimistic that she would see any of that money, because she said she did not believe the contractor had enough to pay the debt.
Edwards has also pursued a civil suit.
Both Chavez and Edwards said they each hired another contractor to complete their jobs.
They also hoped their situation sparks change in the city policy, by encouraging city officials to require proof of liability insurance.
"If another homeowner hires a contractor that does the same thing to them as this one did to us, at least they'll be able to get their money from the coverage- the liability coverage," Chavez said.
"I expect a higher level of accountability from our city, and businesses operating here in Plainview. So, I'm literally shocked at the fact that there's really no recourse for us," said Edwards.
Valverde outlined the City's typical roofing permit process.
"Homeowner or contractor fills out an Roofing Permit application.
Permit Fee paid and Roofing Permit issued
If new roof decking is to be replaced, the homeowner or contractor calls for a decking inspection once new decking is completed
Upon completion of overall roofing work, homeowner or contractor calls for final inspection.
If work is completed in a satisfactory manner, Final Inspection is approved and permit is closed or should there be any issues observed during the final inspection, homeowner or contractor is notified of items needed to correct
Once required corrections are done, then another Final Inspection is requested by homeowner or contractor."
"License and bonding requirements for roofing contractors are not currently required. However, this situation does brings [sic] to light the need for discussions requiring such in the near future," Valverde said.
The contractor declined to comment on the situation until the legal process was complete, at the advice of his attorney.
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