Banks-Crosson says he paid contractors more than
Six months later, there's a new roof on the house, but Banks-Crosson claims much of the interior work wasn't done properly. His contractor has filed a lien on the house for money Banks-Crosson refuses to pay. Last week, he sued the contractor in circuit court.
"I was livid," said Banks-Crosson."It looked like a toddler could have done the work in this house."
His case may be the first of many that could occupy probate and circuit courts in coming months, experts say, as
"The six-month anniversary is usually about the time when people start understanding what's being done, and what's not," said
The storm damaged more than 500 buildings in town, most of them north of
Long, the Mobile lawyer, said the sheer volume of work immediately after the storms is one reason why homeowners eventually land in court -- at least, when they're going to court with their insurance companies.
"There's a rush to get insurance adjusters in, and a lot of the adjusters who are working aren't really qualified," Long said. Long said large landowners, such as owners of student apartment complexes, tend to hire lawyers as soon as the storm hits.
"Joe Public may take a few months before he realizes something is wrong," he said.
For Banks-Crosson, distance made the problem of storm recovery harder. A former
The response from the contractor, American Renovators of
Probate officials say eight such liens have been filed in the county since May -- and none this year before May.
"A general contractor has six months, from the time the money is due, to file," he said.
Many post-storm legal disputes arise from contractors who take a homeowner's money immediately after a storm, and never deliver anything, said
State officials set up a hotline to report contracting scammers in the weeks after the storm.
"Substandard work is a lot more common than scams," he said.
People who take contractors to court can expect a long haul, lawyers said, but disaster victims are likely already accustomed to that.
"Recovery is a marathon, not a sprint," Wade said.
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