Don't Be Fooled by Irene Scams; Hire Licensed Contractors for Repairs


BALTIMORE, MD (August 29, 2011) – Hurricane Irene left her mark on the State of Maryland and most of the Eastern seaboard. While Maryland weathered the storm in large part because of a coordinated response led by Governor Martin O’Malley, many homeowners saw their homes damaged by winds, falling tree limbs and torrential downpours. The Maryland Home Improvement Commission, a professional licensing board under the umbrella of the Maryland Department of Labor, urges all Marylanders to avoid being ripped off by Irene-related scams and only hire licensed contractors for repairs.

“Hurricane Irene proved to be a formidable storm. Thousands of Marylanders had their homes damaged by falling trees, high winds and torrential downpours and must now replace siding, repair roofs, replace water-damaged drywall and floors and repair chimneys,” said Maryland Labor Secretary Alexander M. Sanchez. “I strongly urge those Marylanders whose homes were damaged by Hurricane Irene to avoid hiring any just anyone with a tool belt and hammer. Protect yourself. Only hire licensed contractors. Get several estimates, only pay upon completion of the work and check your contractors’ licenses.”

“Too often, unlicensed contractors arrive after a major storm or a natural disaster with disingenuous offers to help,” said Maryland Commissioner for Occupational and Professional Licensing Stanley J. Botts. “The Maryland Home Improvement Commission stands up for homeowners and protects consumers from predatory contractors.”

The Maryland Home Improvement Law requires contractors, subcontractors and salespeople to hold a current Maryland Home Improvement Commission license in order to solicit or perform home improvement services in the state. Penalties for working without a license include criminal fines or imprisonment. The Maryland Home Improvement Guaranty Fund offers homeowners protection from shoddy work and compensates homeowners who suffer economic damages due to the work of a licensed contractor. The fund only protects homeowners who use licensed contractors. Consumers can check on contractors’ licensing statuses and complaint histories by calling the Maryland Home Improvement Commission at 410.230.6309 or visiting our website.

The Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation protects and empowers Marylanders by safeguarding workers, protecting consumers, providing a safety net and cultivating a thriving workforce that can meet the demands of Maryland’s dynamic economy. Follow DLLR on Twitter (@MD_DLLR) and Facebook.