Proposed Bill Could Protect Texas Homeowners From Dishonest Roofers

Joseph Dickens put off fixing his roof for years. But he said that all changed when House of Tomorrow showed up at his doorstep.

"They appeared to be upfront. They appeared to be honest," he said. 

Dickens said House of Tomorrow agreed to repair his roof, fence and shed for $9,900.

He said he handed over a check and never heard another word from the company.

"Kept calling, no answer. Kept calling, no answer," he said. "They were gone."

Becky Jane said that same company was supposed to start on her roof the day after payment.

"We were in shock. We couldn’t believe it that someone would be so strategic to set us up," she said.

Jane and Dickens are among 117 consumers who are a part of a class action lawsuit against House of Tomorrow, and the owner, Jorge Garcia.

But now that House of Tomorrow is closed and Garcia has filed for bankruptcy, the homeowners believe they will never get their money back

"Where's our protection, Samantha. Where is it," she asked.

Attorney Steven Badger, who's representing the group, said the issue is bigger than his clients.

"Texas needs to regulate roofing contractors because of this very situation," he said.

For years, NBC 5 Responds has covered storm chasers and door knockers; roofers who are in the business of taking money and vanishing.

"Every week, I get a call from a homeowner ripped off by a bad roofer. It is time for Texas to regulate roofers," said Badger.

That’s why Badger said he planned to work with lawmakers to introduce the "Re-Roofing Registration Bill" to the Texas legislature next month.

Under this law, every roofer in Texas would be required to register with the state, provide a physical business address and contact number and pay a small registration fee.

"Then, an important part of the bill, when that contractor gets a building permit to re-roof a house, only registers roofing contractors can get re-roofing permits in Texas," Badger explained. 

Badger hopes to tackle the licensing issue down the road, but sees his registration bill as a first step.

"The reality is that Texas’ political climate is anti-regulation. So, we need to do something," he said.

It’s the beginning of what Dickens believes is way overdue in Texas.

"Fix it. Fix it yesterday. Fix it tomorrow. It needs to be fixed," he said

The proposed bill is currently being reviewed by the legislative council and is expected to be introduced in the house and senate in the next couple weeks.

As for House of Tomorrow, the former owner’s attorney confirmed that he has filed for bankruptcy and his business is closed.

We tried reaching out to Garcia directly, but we have not heard back.

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