It’s a tradition of spring in Toronto.
With the disappearance of ice and snow, the demand for roofing repairs increases, along with roofing scams posing a threat to homeowners.
Workers disguised as roofing contractors are notorious for knocking on homeowners’ doors and offering to inspect their roofs at no cost. Then they would claim issues with the roof before demanding upfront costs for repair.
This type of fraudulent scam has been common in East York dating back several years. The Toronto Observer has reported multiple stories on roofing scams in the community, such as when seniors and their homes were targeted back in March 2014.
“It’s a good idea to thoroughly research any roofing company you’re considering to make sure it’s well-known and well-reviewed.”said in a post by AccuSeal Roofing Ltd.
The latest incident happened last month, when a man allegedly posed as a roofer while offering to inspect a roof in Riverdale he himself damaged.
Police say homeowners heard loud banging on the roof of their home at Langley and Logan avenues before the man came back down and informed them about a hole in their roof.
The man advised he could repair it at a cost before leaving the area, according to police.
The homeowners later checked their roof and spotted the damage.
Later, Toronto Police arrested 21-year-old James O’Brien for mischief/damage to property not exceeding $5,000.
Paul Indrigo, a Toronto real estate agent and host of the Real Estate Podcast Show, has seen contractor scams happen for many years.
“Sadly, it’s not getting any better,” Indrigo said. “The sad truth is there is always going to be bad people. Every industry has them.”
Spotting a roofing scam
In a post shared by AccuSeal Roofing Ltd., a roofing company in Toronto, the typical roofing scam “sees the contractor agree to replace or repair the roof but requires the client to pay upfront.”
They say reputable companies don’t ask homeowners for any payment upfront and the inspections are complementary.
“It’s a good idea to thoroughly research any roofing company you’re considering to make sure it’s well-known and well-reviewed,” the post said.
AccuSeal also advises homeowners to be wary of companies asking for cash. It’s a common form of payment used by experienced scammers since it’s hard to trace.
Indrigo created a program, the Renovation Bootcamp Experience, to reward homeowners who “do their homework before ever hiring anyone.”
“Helping to protect people from those scammers is what I have tried to do,” Indrigo said. “I made it my goal to help protect my clients in the process.”
Recent cases of roofing scam
In Nov. 2022, CityNews reported a couple in Toronto’s east end paid alleged contractors $6,000 upfront in cash, after they were advised on multiple issues regarding their roof and eavestroughs.
“We told them we could write them a check, but they made a big deal about cash being better, so I went to the bank and got the cash,” the woman told CityNews at the time.
The workers told the couple they would start the job the following day. Hours later, the husband decided to examine the roof and eavestroughs, but spotted no issues.
They immediately called to cancel the project and requested a refund of the deposit they placed. Several weeks later, the funds were never returned as promised by the workers.
Around the same time, CityNews reported on a similar incident that happened a few blocks from where the couple lives.
The family was told a raccoon was spotted on their roof and paid the alleged contractors $1,000 for repair. M.B. Roofing and Masonry is the company involved in both cases, whose listed address was a P.O. Box at a UPS store.