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In West Palm Beach Florida - a couple recently discovered that their relaxing retirement was put on hold when they discovered their new home had been built with Chinese drywall that emits sulfuric fumes and corrodes pipes. It got worse when they asked their insurer for help -- and not only was their claim denied, but they've been told their entire policy won't be renewed.
Thousands of homeowners nationwide who bought new houses constructed from the defective building materials are finding their hopes dashed, their lives in limbo.
Insurers drop policies or send notices of non-renewal based on the presence of the Chinese drywall.
At least three insurers have already canceled or refused to renew policies after homeowners sought their help replacing the bad wallboard. Because mortgage companies require homeowners to insure their properties, they are then at risk of foreclosure, yet no law prevents the cancellations.
During the height of the U.S. housing boom, with building materials in short supply, American construction companies imported millions of pounds of Chinese-made drywall because it was abundant and cheap.
An Associated Press analysis of shipping records found that more than 500 million pounds of Chinese gypsum board was imported between 2004 and 2008 -- enough to have built tens of thousands of homes. Shipments were heavily concentrated in the Southeast, especially Florida.
The defective materials have been found to emit "volatile sulfur compounds," and contain traces of strontium sulfide, which can produce a rotten-egg odor, along with organic compounds not found in American-made drywall.
Homeowners complain the fumes are corroding copper pipes, destroying TVs and air conditioners, and blackening jewelry and silverware. Some believe the wallboard is also making them ill.
The federal government is studying the problem and considering some sort of relief for homeowners.
Homeowners have little recourse since neither the Chinese manufacturers nor the Chinese government are likely to respond to any lawsuits or reimburse them for the defective drywall.
Insurers learn of the drywall through a claim filed by the homeowner seeking financial help with its removal.
Insurance companies consider the drywall a pre-existing condition that could lead to future damage, which is why the company won't renew the policy unless the problem is fixed.
Even if a homeowner does not file a claim over the drywall and remains covered, they could later be denied a claim for a fire or another calamity if insurance investigators determine the home contained undisclosed Chinese drywall.
SybilCampbell, REALTOR®, ABR, SFR, SRES
Century 21 John T. Ferreira and Son, Inc.
WHATEVER THE DIRECTION SYBIL CAN HELP YOU LOCATE THE HOME OF YOUR DREAMS
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.