EASTCHESTER, N.Y. -- County Legislator Sheila Marcotte (R - Eastchester, New Rochelle, Tuckahoe), has proposed a plan to allow Westchester residents easier access to two county databases that monitor home- improvement contractors.
The proposal would give consumers the ability to both a contractor’s licensing status as well as if the contractor has any liens and or judgments against them, all on one webpage.
The Department of Consumer Protection maintains a list of licensed contractors in the county and the County Clerk’s Office, also involved in contractor licensing, has a broad data base of legal documents including judgments and liens.
By linking the clerk’s online documents with the judgment and liens page with the list of licensed contractors, homeowners could easily take the next step to determine if the contractor, who may be licensed in the county, has any judgments or liens outstanding against him or her that is a direct result of the work being considered.
“On the average, homeowners will spend about $3000 on home improvements every year and unfortunately a percentage of those homeowners will probably get scammed by an unscrupulous contractor," said Marcotte, who chairs the Board of Legislators Budget and Appropriations Committee. "The best advice for anyone considering a home improvement job, and considering the hiring of a contractor is, do your homework, ask for references, don't pay cash and get a written contract. Too often, and as we know, this is not the case and when someone can finally figure out that they have been scammed...it is too late. I thank County Clerk (Timothy) Idoni for agreeing to this plan and for helping me give Westchester homeowners another tool in protecting themselves against home improvement scams.”
Marcotte’s proposal has been sent to the Board of Legislators’ Legislation Committee and Infrastructure Committee for review.
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