The following is a slightly edited press release from Mayor Menino's office:
Mayor Thomas M. Menino on Tuesday announced City officials will work closely with home and business owners affected by Hurricane Sandy in an effort to reopen local businesses and get people back to work. In addition to providing resources to affected businesses, Boston Home Center staff will be working with homeowners and senior homeowners to help facilitate any necessary renovations due to the storm.
“The Department of Neighborhood Development’s Boston Home Center and Office of Business Development are your go-to resources for repairing any damages to your home or business," Mayor Menino said. “It’s so important that residents and business owners take care of water or wind damage before the winter comes, and the City is equipped to help in getting that work done effectively.”
A team of staff, led by Department of Neighborhood Development (DND) Director Sheila Dillon and Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services (ONS) Director Jay Walsh, will work closely with business owners in the coming days to offer guidance and assess the exact needs of each business affected in an effort to expedite the process of reopening. DND’s Office of Business Development is standing by to provide technical and permitting assistance. Businesses affected by the hurricane can reach the Office of Business Development at 617-635-0355.
Boston Home Center staff is available to answer any questions regarding the home repair process; they can be reached at 617-635-HOME or via www.bostonhomecenter.com. The Home Center staff strongly encourages home owners to check on a contractor’s work history before committing to any home repair contract. Homeowners are also encouraged to call their insurance company regarding storm-related damages.
The Mayor’s Office of Consumer Affairs & Licensing has issued an alert to Boston consumers dealing with the after-effects of Hurricane Sandy. Consumers should be mindful of the following:
- Homeowner’s insurance should cover damages resulting from flying debris, fallen trees, broken glass, and similar causes.
- Most insurance policies will not provide coverage for flooding damages.
- Be in touch with insurance agents as soon as possible to discuss what damage is covered and what steps should be taken to file a claim.
- Do not provide personal information, such as Social Security, credit card, or bank number to ANYONE unless confident of that person’s identity. Residents should not assume people knocking on doors with clipboards or official-looking forms are legitimate representatives of an insurance company or the government.
- Do not jump into a home repair plan before doing appropriate research. Those who have suffered damage from a storm are understandably anxious to return to normal, but reasonable precautions should still be taken.
- Be on alert when anyone comes door-to-door offering their services for work after an emergency. Legitimate contractors rarely seek business in this way. Even if it’s not a scam, these contractors may provide low quality materials, second-rate work, or substandard service.
- Interview at least three contractors. Ask for references, and get a written estimate.
- Check on the contactor’s registration at the Board of Building Regulations and Standards at 617-727-3200, or at www.services.oca.state.ma.us/hic.
- Ask for written detailed contract. It must contain the contractor’s registration number and the price of the work.
- Don’t pay everything up front. The contractor by law can’t collect more than one-third in advance unless specific materials are ordered.
- For more information about any of the above issues, contact the Mayor’s Office of Consumer Affairs & Licensing at 617-635-3834.