Before we dive into the meat of this blog post, Porter, Rogers, Dahlman & Gordon, P.C. would like to offer our sincerest condolences to any of you affected by Hurricane Harvey. We hope you and your family members are safe and on the path to recovery.
If your home or business has been severely damaged or destroyed, there is one recent law that you need to keep in mind before hiring a contractor to help you rebuild. Passed in 2011, the Disaster Remediation Contracts Statute (DRCS) aims to reduce the amount of “storm chasers,” or contractors and construction workers who flock to damaged areas and scam people out of thousands of dollars without fulfilling the work.
After far too many instances of storm chasers ripping off customers already on hard times, the Texas Legislature passed a law that was included in Chapter 58 of the Texas Business & Commerce Code. The law stipulates several things in regards to new construction in the wake of a natural disaster. It defines a natural disaster as an event resulting in “widespread or severe damage, injury, or loss of life or property related to any natural cause, including fire, flood, earthquake, wind, storm, or wave action, that results in a disaster declaration by the governor.” According to the DRCS:
- All construction contracts must be written (not verbal).
- All contracts must contain a Chapter 58 disclosure written in ten-point font or larger.
- Contractors may not require or accept any payment for the work before the work commences.
- Contractors may not demand partial payments throughout the project that are disproportionate to the work performed thus far, regardless of the materials delivered.
- Neither party may opt of the DRCS. If they do or violate its terms, they have also violated the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
To Whom Does DRCS Apply?
The DRCS applies only to remediation contractors who maintain businesses outside of the county of the project or an adjacent county. Contractors who have maintained a physical business address in the county in which the are completing the work for at least a year are not subject to these terms.
Protect Yourself & Your Property
Before you engage with any builder or contractor, be sure to go over these terms with them. If you feel as though a contractor is taking advantage of you or who does not complete the work for which you have paid, contact Porter, Rogers, Dahlman & Gordon, P.C. as soon as possible. We are highly-experienced real estate law, construction law, and labor and employment law attorneys who will protect your interests and ensure that this situation is rectified.