Bank denies flood insurance money to Ponchatoula man doing own repairs

Ashley Rodrigue talks to a Ponchatoula man who says his mortgage company is keeping him from putting his home together after flooding.

PONCHATOULA, La. -- Every day after work, Grant Reviere goes to his flooded house in the River Woods neighborhood to piece it back together.

But the hardest part of repairing 27 inches of flood damage hasn't been the hard labor he has taken on himself, it's getting it paid for.

"It's kind of funny. The guy who has insurance in the neighborhood is going to end up being the one with his house done last," he said.

Reviere's flood insurance check did come in full and fast. The trouble, he says, has been with the mortgage company, J.P. Morgan Chase, refusing to release the money to him. Letters from the company say that in order for the company to give him the funds to do the work himself, state law requires him to have a contractor's license. 

But the state's contractor licensing board says that is not correct.

"We go back and forth, back and forth, back and forth," Reviere recalls. "Well, if you can show us legal documents that you're correct, then you'll be able to do it," he says they told him in response.

Reviere said he provided an exemption document for homeowners doing their own repairs from the state's contractor licensing board. Chase finally released $20,000 of the $65,000 he's been given.

But then, Reviere said, "I get a letter a few days ago stating I've been denied. They used my own documents that I sent them to say I need it, and they're just reading the document wrong."

A media representative from Chase said in a statement, "As we state in the letter, Chase must follow state laws that require our customers to obtain a licensed contractor. If a customer wants to act as a contractor, they will need to provide the required documents. Chase cannot make any exceptions even if the state allows for them."

The statement continues, "We require licensed contractors to perform construction work to ensure that all repairs on the property are completed and done correctly. We do this to protect our customers and the value of their homes."

The exhausting experience has left Reviere with a simple request in order to get his family back home before Christmas - "Do right by me, and do right by the law. It's the law," he said.

Reviere said he is now considering filing a complaint about the dispute with the federal agency that oversees bank operations.
 

(© 2016 WWL)


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