Meyerland Community Improvement Association
4999 W. Bellfort
Houston, TX 77035
Tuesday, July 7
FREE Panel Presentation with Q&A
Session 1 at 5:00 - 6:30pm
Session 2 at 7:00 - 8:30pm
The ERJCC, located at 5601 S. Braeswood, will be providing an informational night for homeowners whose homes were damaged in the flood. Professionals with experience in remodeling flood damaged homes will be available as well as representatives from:
City of Houston Flood Plain Permit/Information Office
Insurance and financial experts
Contractors that specialize in restoration and raising a home to meed flood plain guidelines.
The goal is to provide homeowners with information to assist in making informed decisions regarding renovations and critical next steps. The workshop will be offered twice:
Session 1 at 5:00 - 6:30pm
Session 2 at 7:00 - 8:30pm
The FEMA and SBA organizations have moved to another facility. The new location is at the Bayland Community Center found at 6400 Bissonet Street. They will be open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. At that location, both organizations will be able to answer your questions about your account or assist you with reporting and managing your loss.
FROM THE GREATER HOUSTON BUILDERS ASSOCIATION....
With the recent flooding in the Houston area, there are scam artists posing as legitimate contractors who want to cheat you out of your money.
These "fly-by-night" operators often show up in communities impacted by natural disasters to try to scam distressed home owners into paying for shoddy repairs or work that they will never show up to perform.
Here are some warning signs to look out for:
Doesn't have license and/or insurance
All professional contractors should be insured and able to show their certificate proving such insurance. Although all states do not require licensing, contractors in states requiring licenses should have it and be able to provide a copy.
Asks you to sign anything before you've hired them.
If they want you to sign an "estimate" or "authorization" before you've made the decision to hire the contractor, look out. They may be trying to get you to sign what is an actual binding contract.
Doesn't write contracts
Professionals have clear contracts that outline the job, process, the cost, and helps clarify how problems will be managed. If you don't have a contract, you are not protected when something goes wrong. Don't hire anyone who tells you a contract "won't be necessary."
Requires cash or payment in full before starting the job
Shady contractors demand cash and then run with the money. Many home owners have been stranded by paying in full up front. A deposit towards materials is common, but only pay it once you have a contract signed by both you and the contractor.
It's also suspect if you're asked to pay cash to a salesperson instead of a check or money order to a company.
Vastly underbids all other contractors
They may have the best price, but that doesn't guarantee the best work. Such contractors may cut costs on quality, which can end up costing you more when you have to have the substandard work redone.
Offers "special" pricing
If you're told you've been "chosen" as a demonstration project at a special, low price, or you're told a low price is good only if you sign a contract today.
Cannot provide customer references
Professional contractors should have current references they can provide from current and past clients - and you should be able to reach those references, not just an answering machine.
Difficulty contacting the contractor
Professionals have a physical office, mailing address, phone and email. They should respond to your queries in a timely manner. Make sure you can verify the contractor's business address. If they only have a PO Box, be wary.
Tells you to obtain the building or remodeling permits
Professional contractors go to the county or state offices and get permits for their work themselves. Asking the home owner to do it is a sign that they are not a legitimate contractor.
Your best bet is to take your time, do your research and choose someone you feel completely comfortable with. Make sure they don't have a record of consumer complaints lodged with your local Better Business Bureau. You can also contact the Greater Houston Builders Association (GHBA) for a list of reputable contractors in your area.
This article was provided by a member of the Remodelers Council of the Greater Houston Builders Association. The Remodelers Council is dedicated to promoting professionalism and public awareness of the remodeling profession through education, certification and service to the Houston community.
We want to clarify the “50% rule” and the “Substantial Damage” letter that some of you have received from the Mayor. The City is preparing an information sheet to be placed on all residents’ doors explaining how you will be able to repair your home without having to raise your home.
If you have questions about what to do with your home, it is important that you ask the city, a licensed REALTOR®, FEMA and/or your insurance company. Do not guess and do not rely on hearsay. Each homeowner’s situation may be different. The Meyerland Community Improvement Association can try to answer your questions for you or assist you in deciding whom to contact.
If you reside in the Floodplain, there are facts you need to know in order to move forward with the repair of your home due to flood damage. You will need to meet with contractors to get estimates of the cost to repair your home. The contractor you hire will obtain the necessary City permits.
See Frequently Answered Questions (FAQs) on the city’s website: http://edocs.publicworks.houstontx.gov/documents/director/repairing_flood_damage_in_floodplain_faqs.pdf
See also www.houstonrecovers.org for helpful information during your recovery.
If repairs to your flood-damaged home cost less than $10,000, NOT including the cost to remove the damaged material, the City of Houston does not require you to obtain a permit to complete the repairs. You can proceed with your repair work.
If repairs to your flood damaged home will cost more than $10,000, NOT including the cost to remove the damaged material, you need to obtain a permit from the City of Houston. A good, licensed contractor will obtain the necessary permits.
If the repairs due to flood damage will cost you less than 50% of the appraised value of your home (calculated by taking the appraised value of your home and dividing by two), you can do the following:
If the repairs to your home will cost you more than 50% of the appraised value of your home (calculated by taking the appraised value of your home and dividing by two), you can:
**by hiring a certified appraiser to review your property at the pre-damaged condition. If you have an appraisal performed within the last few years, it may suffice and you would not need a new appraisal. If your new value is more than two times the cost of your repairs, you can go to the city to get a Floodplain Development permit to proceed.
**by using the value of your home on your insurance claim’s Proof of Loss. If that value is more than two times the cost of your repairs, you may go to the city to get a Floodplain Development permit to proceed.
**Raising your home so that the bottom floor is at least twelve inches above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE). Get several estimates prior to signing any agreement with a contractor. An “Elevation Certificate” will tell you what the BFE is for your property. We are seeing estimates for elevating a Meyerland home between $120,000 and $160,000. FEMA might offer assistance with this cost. See www.disasterassistance.org.
**Start over. Build a new home on your lot. Get several builder estimates prior to signing any agreement.
The City of Houston is placing employees from the Flood Management Office and Code Enforcement Department on the property at the Meyerland Association office found at 4999 West Bellfort starting Friday June 12th through Sunday June 14th from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. They will be here to answer questions for homeowners who have received flood damage to their homes.
You can expect that they will be able to tell you if you need to get a permit and will give you the appropriate documents that will prepare you for your visit to their main office. That office is located at 1002 Washington Avenue. We have also just learned that the permit office on Washington Avenue will be open to receive flood damage permit requests this coming Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Please visit these helpful employees as they will assist you with moving forward with your repairs plans.
This information is also available online at www.publicworks.houstontx.gov/storm-damage-repair.html
You may also visit www.houstonrecovers.org for other important updates and information.
OPEN FROM 12:00 P.M. TO 8:00 P.M. THROUGH FRIDAY, JUNE, 12, 2015
An assistance center has opened at Westbury United Methodist Church found at 5200 Willowbend Blvd. (on Willowbend at West Bellfort). At this location, you find many agencies dedicated to assist you in the recovery of your flooded property and to deal with the stresses and concerns over the disaster event.
It is open to people of all denominations, and there is no cost for the services received. All homeowners who have suffered loss, should stop by and visit with the wonderful volunteers who have come from around the world to help flood victims manage their recovery.
Organizations on site include:
All Hands Volunteers
American Red Cross
Lone Star Legal Aid
Mental Health America
Texas Annual Conference United Methodist Church
And many others...
MCIA is actively sharing information with residents about flood recovery and resources that are available to residents. All Meyerland residents are encouraged to sign up to receive communication from MCIA via email.
Please fill out the information below to add your name to the email list.
You will be added to the general MCIA email list and receive all future communications. MCIA will never share your email address with other parties.
With all of the items placed out at the curb for trash pick-up and in the yard for drying, other people from various parts of town have entered our neighborhood to take away some of these items. Unfortunately, they are helping themselves not only to the trash but also to non-trash items. Precinct 5 has many additional, very visible Deputies in our area and is assisting you in the protection of the items you want to keep, but they cannot be in all locations at all times. Please watch out for each other, close your doors and windows at night, set your alarms, and call Precinct 5 Deputies when a crime has been committed.