Support voiced for mandatory background checks on home repair workers - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Support voiced for mandatory background checks on home repair workers

Unfortunately, many East Texas homeowners have fallen victim to crimes commited by ex-cons working in the home repair business. But now, as KLTV 7's Courtney Lane explains, new laws are making sure you and your property are protected.

The new legislation now requires background checks for home repair workers. Some local companies already take this extra precaution, and say it pays off.

"We actually have had people apply for different sub-contractors and things that have been convicted felons and we've had to not hire them for their background," said John Simmons, the owner of This Old House Remodeling.

In April, an elderly Longview couple was found murdered in their home. The man charged with killing them did yard work for the victims, and has a violent criminal record.

"There's all kinds of service industries; plumbers, electricians, heating and air conditioning contractors that are in people's homes all the time and I think it's a very good idea," said Simmons.

It hits close to home for Simmons, whose niece was attacked by a security officer.

"He was the guard at the gate and knew she lived alone and followed her up to her apartment, and got in by using his security badge and telling her he need to check something and as soon as he got he attacked her. She was slashed across her face...I mean she fought for her life," said Simmons.

Simmons says a background check was never run on the officer, and it almost cost his niece her life. Of course, running the checks will be an extra expense for companies.

"It's going to always cost you more to do stuff but that's just the name of the game, everything goes up every year anyway," said Paul Gillispie with CP Construction.

"It is expensive but it's worth it. And you would not believe the number that pop up on our screen - sex offenders, and a lot of thefts and burglaries," said Kay Robinson with the Better Business Bureau.

"The peace of mind of knowing that you're not putting a convicted felon in someone's home, I think it's well worth it," said Simmons.

The Better Business Bureau still advises you to do your homework, and make sure you can trust who you let in your home. Before this law, some applicants just had to check "no" on part of a licensing application that asked about criminal convictions.

Courtney Lane, reporting.

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