BATON ROUGE, LA – August 22, 2011 – (RealEstateRama) — Governor Bobby Jindal issued an Executive Order today detailing homeowner protections for the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.
Executive Order – HOMEOWNER PROTECTIONS
WHEREAS, the State of Louisiana Division of Administration Office of Community Development Disaster Recovery Unit is administering a $750 million Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (“Hazard Mitigation Program”) funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which provides funding to homeowners to mitigate against future storm and flood damage through construction;
WHEREAS, the Hazard Mitigation Program is resulting in an unprecedented amount of construction work to elevate existing structures by contractors hired by the homeowners;
WHEREAS, homeowners participating in the Hazard Mitigation Program have a reasonable expectation that all work performed on their homes shall be conducted using safe, sound, quality construction methods and materials, built in compliance with all existing local, state, and federal building codes and ordinances, with quality building components and materials properly installed in accordance with manufacturers’ specifications;
WHEREAS, it is vital that homeowners participating in the Hazard Mitigation Program are empowered to make informed decisions about mitigating damage to their homes to protect their families in the future;
WHEREAS, the State also expects, and has always expected, that all work performed under the Hazard Mitigation Program shall meet these expectations and all work shall be performed by competent, experienced contractors and sub-contractors;
WHEREAS, it is paramount to public safety to ensure that the people of Louisiana are protected from unsafe construction methods and unscrupulous predatory marketing and contracting methods; and
WHEREAS, it is critical to public safety and the economic welfare of the citizens of Louisiana to empower homeowners participating in the Hazard Mitigation Program to protect themselves against dilatory, incompetent, unscrupulous, or predatory contractors and sub-contractors;
NOW THEREFORE, I, BOBBY JINDAL, Governor of the State of Louisiana, by virtue of the authority vested by the Constitution and laws of the State of Louisiana, do hereby order and direct as follows:
SECTION 1: The Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors shall conduct investigations and proceedings necessary to suspend or revoke licenses or issue cease and desist orders against any contractor or sub-contractor performing work funded by the Hazard Mitigation Program if such contractor or sub-contractor fails to demonstrate an ability to adequately meet all State expectations for participation in the Hazard Mitigation Program; fails to meet generally accepted standards of construction or expectations of the particular area of licensing expertise; violates any federal, state, or local building codes or ordinances; or ceases to possess the necessary qualifications of responsibility, skill, experience and integrity expected of a contractor or subcontractor engaged in work funded by the Hazard Mitigation Program.
SECTION 2: It is further ordered that the Commissioner of Administration is directed to:
1. Implement a process that will empower homeowners to change contractors and complete their elevation projects in a timely and proper manner, including engaging a new contractor or if necessary, transferring remaining grant funds to a new contractor;
2. Promptly inspect or investigate, through his delegate, any residence involved in the complaint of deficient construction methods;
3. Suspend payments to contractors under any existing contract, and/or suspend a contractor from entering into any future contracts funded by the Hazard Mitigation Program if the Commissioner or his delegate finds that the complaint of deficient construction was well-founded and the contractor fails to correct the work in a timely manner, including the repair of any additional damage caused by the contractor or his sub-contractor in connection with the deficient construction or caused by a delay in repairing the deficient construction;
4. Increase insurance requirements on contractors participating in the Hazard Mitigation Program to ensure that contractors and subcontractors are sufficiently insured so that homeowners are protected against poor or incomplete construction as well as any additional damage caused by a contractor’s deficient construction methods.
5. Notify the Contractor’s Licensing Board of any finding that may be cause for suspension or revocation of a contractor or sub-contractor’s license by the Board and file any complaint he deems appropriate or necessary with the Board to institute such proceedings;
6. Ensure transparency in the program through publicly posting on the Internet and other publicly accessible places a list of contractors and/or sub-contractors who have been suspended or barred from participation in the Hazard Mitigation Program;
7. Educate homeowners, contractors, and sub-contractors on the Hazard Mitigation Program requirements and resources, including contract requirements for appropriate construction insurance and bonding, in collaboration with the Office of the Louisiana Attorney General Consumer Protection Division and the Contractor Licensing Board;
8. Continue and strengthen anti-fraud, waste, and abuse measures through active participation of the Inspector General Office of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Attorney General in all aspects of the Hazard Mitigation Program;
9. Design any other measures which the Commissioner in his discretion deems appropriate to implement in the spirit and intent of this mandate.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have set my hand officially and caused to be affixed the Great Seal of Louisiana, at the Capitol, in the city of Baton Rouge, on this 19th day of August, 2011.
/S/Bobby Jindal _________
GOVERNOR OF LOUISIANA
SECRETARY OF STATE