A COUNCIL is urging residents to be on “alert” for rogue builders after an elderly woman paid £20,000 for botched roof repairs.

One elderly resident, who responded to a flier through the door, paid £20,000 for roof repairs, which failed to stop the roof leaking.

Now Brighton and Hove City Council is warning people about the fraudsters and encouraging residents to deal with reputable builders to ensure they don’t get ripped off.

Nationally, trading standards services estimate that unscrupulous traders have cost homeowners more than £200 million for poor quality or unnecessary building work over the course of the pandemic.

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Councillor Lizzie Deane, chairman of the licensing committee, said the city’s trading standards team received “around 40” complaints last year.

She said: “There are a lot of very good, reputable builders in the city. But we are concerned about reports of rogue operators targeting residents, including the elderly and vulnerable.


“In the last year our Trading Standards team has received around 40 complaints about builders, involving sums ranging from £5,000 to £250,000.

“However, we think this is the tip of the iceberg, and there are likely to be many incidences that have not been brought to our attention.

“Our message is to always make sure you are dealing with a reputable builder and get details confirmed in writing, before making any payment.”

The council said residents should never employ someone who cold calls a home, and to be wary if they can start immediately.

It is also advised that people obtain written proof of what the homeowner and the builder have agreed to in the form of a contract.

Residents should also check with the building control and planning departments regarding building regulations and planning permission, as some consumers assume their builder or architect are dealing with this.

For further advice or assistance, contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service online or call on 03454 04 05 06 or 0808 223 1133. This information will be then be referred to Trading standards.