HOUSING

GNOINfo’s Contractor Guide and Contractor Rating System are comprehensive guides for all the information you need to renovate your house. This section includes important information on avoiding fraudulent contractors, tips for finding and hiring competent contractors, guidelines for developing a contract agreement that protects your interests as a homeowner, other information to help you see your rebuilding project through to completion.

 Contractor Guide 

LSLBC Consumer Education for Contractingimage

The Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors puts out a list of tips and best practices for working with contractors.

Chinese Drywall LRA Programimage

The LRA has established a $5 million program to help Road Home Applicants who had the toxic Chinese drywall installed in their home.

LouisianaRebuilds.info Contractor Education Videosimage

These videos present valuable information about hiring a contractor, creating a contract with a contractor, and avoiding a property lien.

LouisianaRebuilds.info Contractor Rating Systemimage

Find and rate contractors working locally and help our community rebuild by getting the word out about good and bad contractors&#46 Use our Contractor Rating System (with over 500 local listings and ratings) to rate a contractor you’ve used or search for contractor reviews before you hire&#46

Choose Contractors Carefullyimage

Tips from the New Orleans City Council.

Holmes on Homesimage

Tips on finding a contractor from HGTV.


Avoid Contractor Fraud

Chinese Drywall LRA Programimage

The LRA has established a $5 million program to help Road Home Applicants who had the toxic Chinese drywall installed in their home.

Avoid Common Contractor Scamsimage

Read this list of the most common contractor scams to protect yourself from contractor fraud&#46

How to Avoid and Fight a Lienimage

Every contractor has the right to place a lien on a home if the owner does not pay for work done to the house. moreHowever, unscrupulous contractors may put an illegitimate lien on a property with damaging consequences to the homeowner.Click here to find out about liens and how to fight a bad one. less

Contractor Violationsimage

The Louisiana State Licensing Board publishes a list of contractors who have practiced without a license or committed other violations&#46 Download the &#46pdf from their website&#46


Check for a License

Check for an Orleans Parish Business License

Call the Bureau of Revenue/Department of Finance at 504-658-1600 to check for a business license&#46
Note: a business license is not a contractors license&#46 If a contractor is performing work over $7500 then he must have a State license&#46 A business license is required for anyone doing business in Orleans Parish&#46 (Click here for a sample Orleans Parish business license)

Louisiana State Licensing Board Licensed Contractor Databaseimage

Visit the website to search for a contractor online or call (225) 765-2301&#46 (Click here for a sample State license&#46 Be sure to check for the State watermark)


Free or Low-Cost Building Assistance

$20 Million Gentilly Homeowners Initiativeimage

The $20 million Gentilly Homeowners Initiative (GHI) is a Liberty Bank program that can provide financing to existing and potential homeowners for the rehabilitation and/or purchase of homes in the Gentilly area of New Orleans (bounded by Gentilly Avenue, Bayou St. moreJohn, Leon C. Simon Drive and the Industrial Canal).

Through the Gentilly Homeowners Initiative, Liberty will provide assistance to homeowners in estimating cost of completion, identifying contractors, and financing options to rebuild their homes and their neighborhoods.All contractors who work on GHI financed properties will be Liberty qualified in terms of the quality of their work, professionalism, affordability of pricing (rehabilitation versus new construction), licensing and insurance or bonding requirements.For more information call Liberty Bank Customer Care at (504) 240-5288. less

Home Repair Loan Program for Elderly and Disabledimage

The Disabled and Elderly Owner-Occupied Rehabilitation Program will provide forgivable loans of up to $35,000 to applicants who are disabled or aged 62 or older whose income does not exceed 80 percent of the area median income&#46 Note: This program is for REPAIRS ONLY, not for new construction &#46 Residents will have until 5pm Wednesday, March 25 to submit their applications. more

The rehabilitation program will provide elderly and disabled homeowners with the funds to repair their properties to meet the City’s Housing Standards code, HUD’s Housing Quality Standards code and Lead-Based Paint regulations.The loan is forgiven if a resident lives in the property for five years after the work is completed.

Applications may be submitted in the following ways:

1.Applicants can register on the City’s website, www.cityofno.com

2.Applicants can register at the following Community Centers:

Arthur Monday Center
111 Newton Street
New Orleans, LA 70114

St.Bernard Community Center
1500 Lafreniere St.
New Orleans, LA 70122

Central City Multi-Purpose
2020 Jackson Ave
New Orleans, LA 70113

3.Registration cards can be filled out at the Office of Recovery and Development Administration, 1340 Poydras Street, 10th and 11th floors.

Eligible applicants will be selected by a public lottery at Gallier Hall, 545 Saint Charles Ave., at 11 a.m.on Monday, March 30.Call 311 for more information. less

Project Homecomingimage

Project Homecoming is accepting homeowner applications for rebuilding assistance. more

Services Provided: General rebuilding assistance
Area Served: Orleans and St.Bernard
Eligibility: Homeowners who have the ability to purchase the materials for their house
Contact Info: (504) 942-0444 ext 244.Leave a message and your call will be returned.
Waiting List less

St. Paul's Homecoming Center / Beacon of Hope

St&#46 Paul’s Homecoming Center Beacon of Hope was originally established in Lakeview as a Katrina Disaster Response Center and is now re-locating to Gentilly&#46 The Center serves as a hub for the residents of Gentilly providing numerous services such as computers with internet access, fax, free notary public, volunteer services, case management (helping residents find needed items or resources), and assistance finding contractors and other rebuilding needs. moreThe Center is located at 1509 Filmore Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70122

Rebuilding Services Provided: Volunteer services for non-skilled home tasks
Area Served: Gentilly
Eligibility: Case-by-case basis
Contact Info: 504-644-4125 less

Common Ground Relief Home Repair Service

Common Ground offers assistance including debris removal, yard work, home repair and reconstruction. more

Services Provided: Debris removal, yard work, home repair and reconstruction
Area Served: Lower 9th Ward and homeowners with pending actions against their home
Eligibility: Case-by-case
Contact Info: 504-304-9097 less

Camp Restoreimage

Camp Restore provides housing and meals for volunteer groups of all sizes and connects them in service with over 80 other volunteer-driven nonprofits throughout Greater New Orleans. moreRestoration and rebuilding of storm-damaged family homes is also coordinated and managed directly.

Services Provided: Volunteer group housing, meals and project coordination; volunteer labor
Area Served: Greater New Orleans Area
Eligibility: Volunteer groups of all ages are invited to join in service; For assistance/partnership: Any families or organizations can apply who need volunteer labor.For homeowners needing help rebuilding, priority is given to seniors, disabled, single-parent households.
Contact Info: 504-242-2636
info@camprestore.org less

Project Home Again – Gentillyimage

Project Home Again is building 12 homes in the Gentilly area and offering them to people who lost their homes as a result of Katrina. moreThese homes are being offered at no cost to eligible families.More information and an application is available on the website or by calling Project Home Again at 866-550-4742.Applications will be accepted on a first-come-first-served basis until all spots are filled. less

Rebuilding Togetherimage

If you are a homeowner who still needs assistance to finish rebuilding your house, Rebuilding Together New Orleans may be able to help you. more

Services Provided: Assistance completing repairs, volunteer labor
Area Served: Holy Cross, Broadmoor, Tremé/Esplanade Ridge, St.Roch, Hollygrove, Mid-City, and Gentilly
Eligibility: Low income elderly or disabled and first responders
Contact Info: 504-636-3061
Application process less

Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana's Rebuild Programimage

The Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana’s Rebuild Program accepts homeowners who need assistance completing their homes.

Services Provided: Assistance finding reputable subcontractors, volunteer labor and building materials when possible
Area Served: Jefferson, Orleans and St. moreBernard Parish
Eligibility: All are welcome to apply, prioritized based on a number of factors including age, disability and current living situation
Contact Info: 504-655-1909
Waiting list less

SAFERimage

SAFER (Student Advocacy for Equitable Recovery), through their Family Match rebuilding program, matches the time and skills of college students to the needs of families who lost their homes due to Hurricane Katrina. more

Services Provided: Assistance with mold remediation, gutting, and rebuilding; consultation and assistance through the process of hiring and managing a contractor
Area Served: All areas
Contact Info: safer@tulane.edu less

Lowernine.orgimage

Lowernine&#46org is helping residents of the Lower Ninth Ward rebuild their homes. more

Services Provided: Free labor to re-wire and re-plumb your home and replace roofs, insulation, sheetrock, windows, floors, paint and other necessary work
Area Served: Lower 9th Ward
Eligibility: Homeowner must pay for materials.Prioritized as follows: 1)elderly with children in the home; 2) families with children; 3) elderly without children in the home; 4) everybody else.
Contact Info: 207-380-9636
Limited availability.Call for a short, one-page application less

Free or Low-Cost Rebuilding Assistanceimage

Several organizations are helping homeowners who have limited or depleted rebuilding monies to rehabilitate their homes with the help of volunteer labor and free construction materials&#46 Click for a list of organizations offering assistance.

United Methodist Reliefimage

United Methodist provides free volunteer and contract labor for homeowners affected by Katrina and Rita in GNO area. more

Services Provided: Free volunteer and contract labor for homeowners affected by Katrina, Rita, Gustav, and Ike.No electrical or plumbing.
Area Served: Southeast and Southwest Louisiana
Eligibility: Proof of homeownership, insurance, FEMA, and Road Home funding required.Homeowners cannot have received over 100,000 in rebuilding monies.
Contact Info: 225-346-5193
Waiting List less

St. Bernard Projectimage

The St&#46 Bernard Project offers rebuilding assistance to the elderly (over 62), disabled, or those who have school-age children who have a house in St&#46 Bernard. more

Services Provided: General rebuilding assistance
Area Served: St.Bernard
Eligibility: Elderly (over 62), disabled, or those who have school-age children
Contact Info: 504-277-6831
Services are dependent on available volunteers

Those interested in volunteering can register online or email volunteer@stbernardproject.org. less

Southern Mutual Help Associationimage

SMHA helps people develop strong, healthy, prosperous rural communities in Louisiana. more

Services Provided: Volunteer labor for hurricane related rebuilding and home repairs
Area Served: South Louisiana, including Lafitte Parish, affected by Hurricanes Rita, Gustav and Ike
Eligibility: Homeowners must have their own funding for materials and required professional services
Contact Info: 337-367-3277 less

Neighborhood Housing Services of New Orleansimage

NHS NOLA conducts first-time homebuyer training classes and can assist homeowners in rebuilding or renovating a home&#46 They offer funding, financial counseling, and construction management. more

Services Provided: Construction Management services – assisting homeowners through the process of rebuilding
Area Served: Orleans
Eligibility: All are eligible
Contact Info: 504-899-5900 less

Lower 9th Ward Homeowners Association

Neighborhood organization provides case management services for homeowners in the lower Ninth Ward with priority given to senior citizens&#46 Services includes finding volunteer labor, rebuilding materials, furniture and appliances for homeowners trying to rebuild; help with Road Home and property succession issues. more

Rebuilding Services Provided: Assistance finding volunteer labor, rebuilding materials, furniture and appliances for homeowners trying to rebuild
Area Served: Lower 9th Ward
Eligibility: Priority given to seniors
Contact Info: 504-355-6560

The Association meets weekly on Saturdays at 1 pm at Holy Angels Academy, 3500 St.Claude Ave. less

PNOLA – The Phoenix of New Orleans (Tulane/Gravier Neighborhood)image

The Phoenix of New Orleans is offering case management services and rebuilding assistance to homeowners in the lower Mid-City area and is helping to develop community assets that ensure a vital neighborhood. more

Rebuilding Services Provided: General rebuilding assistance
Area Served: Lower Mid-City, area code 70119
Eligibility: In order to quality for assistance, clients must demonstrate that they are financially unable to rebuild and have exhausted every resource available to them.
Contact Info: 504-322-3327 less


Guide to Contractor Agreements

Tips for Avoiding Foreclosure Scamsimage

The Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center has compiled a list of possible scams that target homeowners facing foreclosure.

Sample Home Improvement Contractsimage

These sample contracts created by Service Magic will help you get familiar with what goes into a home improvement contract&#46 (Note: these sample contracts are for informational purposes only)

Guide to Contractsimage

This guide tells you everything you need to know about what to look for in a contractor agreement BEFORE you sign anything for work to be done&#46

Sample Contract (.pdf)image

View this sample contract to get an idea of the language your contract may include.


Hire a Contractor

Hiring a Reputable Contractor

This checklist will help ensure that you hire a reputable contractor. more
  • Get bids from at least three different contractors for work to be performed – make sure they have local references
  • Make sure they are licensed in the State of Louisiana:
    • Commercial Projects over $50,000 require state license
    • Residential New Construction of Single Family Homes require state license
    • Home Improvement/Remodeling over $7,500 requires a state license
    • Hazardous materials or mold remediation over $1.00 requires state license
  • Verify a Contractor’s License or Registration number at (225) 765-2301 or on the Louisiana State Licensing Board website.Ask to see the license and get a copy.Click here for a sample State license&#46 Be sure to check for the State watermark.
  • Anyone doing business in Orleans Parish is ALSO required to obtain an Orleans parish business license – by no means should this be assumed to be or to replace an official contractor’s license.A business license is not a contractor’s license.
  • Ask for a copy of their business license.(Click here for a sample Orleans Parish business license) Then check with the Bureau of Revenue/Department of Finance at 504-658-1600 to confirm their business license is current.
  • Check if they have any history of violations, complaints, etc…
  • Ask for proof of insurance before a contract is signed.The contractor should have General Liability and and Worker’s Compensation Insurance.See a sample certificate of insurance here.
NOTE: It is imperative that you hire a licensed insured contractor to protect your home investment.Should anything go wrong with the job, the only way authorities can pursue legal and financial compensation for you is through the contractor’s insurance company.To hire an uninsured contractor puts the homeowner at great risk for losses should fraud or faulty rebuilding occur. less

LouisianaRebuilds.info Contractor Rating Systemimage

Find and rate contractors working locally and help our community rebuild by getting the word out about good and bad contractors&#46 Use our Contractor Rating System (with over 500 local listings and ratings) to rate a contractor you’ve used or search for contractor reviews before you hire&#46

Better Business Bureauimage

For a reliability report on a contractor, or to report a contractor, call the Better Business Bureau at 504-581-6222 or visit the Web site at www&#46neworleans&#46bbb&#46org&#46
Click “Company Reports” to see if a contractor has been reported or “File a Complaint” to report a contractor&#46

Holmes on Homesimage

Tips on finding a contractor from HGTV.

Louisiana State Licensing Board Licensed Contractor Databaseimage

Visit the website to search for a contractor online or call (225) 765-2301&#46 (Click here for a sample State license&#46 Be sure to check for the State watermark)


Materials Pricing Guide

Pricing Guide

Listed here are average prices for some of the most common construction items and projects locally. more
  • Gutting
    The going rate right now is about $1.50 per square foot.This will likely include standard demolition (sheetrock, most flooring materials, fixtures, etc.)
    Some things that could increase this rate include removal of hardwood or ceramic/stone tile, removal of mortar beds, and removal of lathe & plaster (as opposed to sheetrock).
  • Demolition
    Demolition of an entire structure costs around $5.00 per square foot.
  • Raising
    The cost of raising a house can be anywhere from $30-$120K.Raising a pier and beam structure runs about $30K for the basics while raising a slab house, which is substantially more complicated, can run anywhere from $80-120K depending on the specific situation.
  • Sheet-rocking
    Sheetrock installation is priced per sheet, or board, and typically costs anywhere from $60-$90 per sheet depending on the installer and the board size (4×8 or 4×12).It averages out to about $2.00-$2.50 per square foot of wall space.This will include hanging the board, taping, floating and sanding.Texturing may or may not be an additional cost.
  • Flooring
    Hardwood – anywhere from $8.00 – $25.00 per square foot depending on species, board size, etc.Refinishing existing flooring should run between $2.25 – $3.25 per square foot.
    Carpet – $30 per square yard is a good budget number, but again, there can be major variance.
    Hard tile – $9.00 per square foot is a good budget number, but costs can vary depending on type of tile, size, layout, etc.
  • Roofing
    New asphalt shingles should run between $150 – $225 per square (or 100 square feet) or roof surface area.New plywood decking adds another $120 – $150 per square.Note that if your roof has old slat-type decking (skip sheathing), it is strongly recommended that you have plywood installed to ensure the integrity of the new shingles.
    Prices for slate or other roof types depend heavily on the material used, but $1200 – $1500 per square is a good budget for new slate or artificial slate (Lamarite, etc.)
  • Wiring
    $6.00 – $8.00 per square foot is a good budget, depending on the amount of wiring needed (i.e.first floor only, walls only, whole house, etc.)
  • Removing a fallen tree
    This typically depends on the size of the tree and accessibility, could run between $500 – $1200.
 less


Report a Contractor/File a Complaint

Chinese Drywall Court Timelineimage

The US District Court Eastern District of Louisiana has a timeline that covers the development. moreThis will also contain links to class action settlement claims when they are available. less

Chinese Drywall LRA Programimage

The LRA has established a $5 million program to help Road Home Applicants who had the toxic Chinese drywall installed in their home.

Tips for Avoiding Foreclosure Scamsimage

The Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center has compiled a list of possible scams that target homeowners facing foreclosure.

Report a contractor practicing without a license

Call the Louisiana at the State Licensing Board at 1-800-256-1392&#46

Better Business Bureauimage

For a reliability report on a contractor, or to report a contractor, call the Better Business Bureau at 504-581-6222 or visit the Web site at www&#46neworleans&#46bbb&#46org&#46
Click “Company Reports” to see if a contractor has been reported or “File a Complaint” to report a contractor&#46

Report Contractor Fraudimage

Call the Office of the Attorney General Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-351-4889 or the New Orleans District Attorney at 1-866-513-2820 (from 9am-5pm).