The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

June 25, 2014

Police: Flood damage will attract scammers

Check online to ensure contractor is licensed

MANKATO — Police are warning residents to be wary of unscrupulous contractors in the wake of recent flooding.

They haven’t received any reports of scams yet, but it may be simply a matter of time, Mankato Public Safety Cmdr. Matt DuRose said.

Larry Wasmund, Mankato’s building and development services coordinator, said residents should use the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry’s online license lookup to ensure contractors are licensed.

“Don’t ever sign a contract when you sit down with someone for the first time,” he said.

The likeliest scam after a flood will be contractors asking for a lot of money up front, but then failing to do the work.

Wasmund suggests home owners not pay the entire bill up front, instead withholding some of it until the project is completed to their satisfaction.

He had other tips for dealing with flood repairs, too.

Carpet that isn’t totally dry within 36 to 72 hours can develop mold and needs to be disposed of.

A permit isn’t required if the repairs are limited to carpet, but any replacement of drywall triggers a requirement for a permit. In addition to being a legal requirement, the permit also gives home owners the benefit of having an inspection from city staff.

Any possible electrical damage is also a concern, especially because problems can crop up years afterward.

Wasmund said people with questions should call him at 387-8547.

Mankato residents can drop off flood-damaged carpets and floor pads at the city’s spring cleanup site at 221 Lamm St., but only at certain times. Carpets and pads can be dropped off at no charge from 5-8 p.m. on Thursday, Tuesday and the following Thursday, July 3, as well as from 7 a.m. to noon during the next two Saturdays.

 

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