Thursday, December 31, 2009

Some good news for owners struggling with Chinese Drywall.

If you live in Broward County and have discovered Chinese drywall in your home, you still have time to file a petition appealing your proposed tax valuation even though the September 18 deadline has long since passed.

As has been extensively reported in the news, some homes constructed in Broward and elsewhere throughout the State and nation within the past few years contain toxic Chinese drywall. When exposed to moisture, this drywall emits sulfur odors and seemingly causes visible corrosion to copper pipes and air conditioner evaporator coils.

Not surprisingly, these drywall problems seriously impact the value of these homes. Various Florida counties have taken pity on those property owners suffering with Chinese Drywall by reducing the taxable value of these damaged properties. Broward County has announced that it will reduce the taxable value of impacted homes by 50% -- subject to the owners providing sufficient documentation of the condition and agreeing to this resolution for the 2009 assessment.

To request this reduction, please contact Broward County's Residential Department Manager Bob Zbikowski at 954.357.5880 to notify them if your home has documented Chinese drywall issues. Also, if you missed the September deadline to file for a value reduction and you subsequently learned about the drywall problems, the Value Adjustment Board has determined this is sufficient "good cause" for you to be allowed to late file for a 2009 value reduction. Contact the Value Adjustment Board at vab@broward.org for more information.

The documentation that must be provided to be eligible for a tax adjustment includes:

Letters from the property owner's builder/developer confirming the presence of contaminated Chinese Drywall within the residence; and

Inspection reports performed by an independent inspection company OR an inspection report completed by the builder's inspection company OR an insurance company inspection reports;

Photos of the damage;

Insurance company's claim determination letter (which, in all cases we've seen to date, is a denial letter) referencing the cause of the denial as a building defect of Chinese drywall;

Proof of a filed law suit claiming damage caused by Chinese drywall OR with WCI-built homes, asserting legal claims made in WCI's bankruptcy case stating Chinese drywall as reason for the claim. Note: Typically, filed lawsuits contain additional information such as inspection reports and some of the other above items.

It is not necessary to supply all of the above documentation. However, you must submit sufficient documentation to confirm the presence of contaminated Chinese drywall within the building or residence; photos alone will not satisfy Broward County's "sufficient documentation" requirement.

If you are struggling with Chinese Drywall issues, please don't pass up the opportunity to get a little relief. If you live outside of Broward County, please check with your county to find out if they have a similar program to help you.

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