Homeowners in Vaudreuil-Dorion are outraged after their relatively new roof started leaking. They found out the hard way that the contractor they had hired was operating without a valid licence, meaning they’re not insured and are left with little recourse.
“You can see all the water coming in the exterior sheeting of the house in between the main walls and into the house,” Scott Pope said. “We’re concerned about asthma, health issues because water and insulation don’t mix very well.”
The Vaudreuil couple replaced their aging roof last summer to be proactive. They paid close to $6,000 to a West Island roofing company for a brand new shingle roof.
“We had no issues with the roof prior to doing the renovation, that’s what’s so frustrating,” Pope said.
The roof started leaking following last week’s warmer temperatures and the couple claims it caused an estimated $20,000 in damages since some kitchen cabinets, the floor and walls will now need to be replaced.
“I was supposed to have a 10-year workmanship on that roof which made me feel comfortable at first to sign the deal with him,” Eliane Foley told Global News.
The couple tried getting in touch with the contractor only to find out the company recently filed for bankruptcy. After contacting the Régie du bâtiment du Québec (RBQ), they discovered Les Toitures Bel-Air never had a valid licence to operate in the first place.
“It’s illegal to do what he’s doing, unfortunately, we trust people and it’s sad to know that it’s giving us bad results right now,” Foley said.
Global News reached the company’s owner on the phone, who admitted to wrongdoing and claims he used the licence number of a former business partner.
“Yes, the RBQ number is not valid,” Evangelos Paloukis said. “Look, this is the whole reason why the company has gone bankrupt is because there are a few things that were not done properly, a few mistakes done on my part as an owner.”
The Quebec-based consumer protection group Association des consommateurs pour la qualité dans la construction (ACQC) warns that falsifying information is not unheard of in the construction industry. The best way to avoid getting stung is to always verify with Quebec’s Régie du bâtiment that the contractor’s licence number is valid before signing a contract.
“You have to check it — I mean, it’s terrible to have to do that, there are some people who will make you believe that they have a licence when they don’t,” ACQC’s president Albanie Morin said. “One can presume that when a licence number is there, that it’s right but this story shows that you must check just to be sure.”
Despite filing for bankruptcy, the couple is convinced that Les Toitures Bel-Air continues to take on new contracts. In fact, Quebec’s Registraire des entreprises shows that a new company was recently registered under the same company name and address.
“He’s probably doing work for people right now, unbeknownst to them, he’s not only not licensed, not insured or not a merchant, he’s also under bankruptcy — it’s illegal that he’s doing any kind of work whatsoever,” Pope said.
The couple has hired another company to do repair work until they can completely replace the roof after the spring thaw. They’ve started a GoFundMe page in the hopes that their friends and neighbours will help cover the costs.