* Can I still maintain a claim if I sell my home? Possibly, however, the nature and/or amount of your damages may
differ. If there is a settlement and it entails the remediation of your home, obviously that cannot be accomplished once the
house is sold. Please discuss this with your attorney. It is important to consult an attorney before you sign a contract to
sell your home as you may want to have an addendum to the purchase contract to address the following: (1) the seller's
ability to preserve evidence prior to the sale; (2) the seller's retention of the rights to any settlement proceeds; and (3) the
buyer's release of all parties in the distribution chain pertaining to the presence of Chinese drywall in your home.
* Am I required to pay my mortgage if I cannot live in my home? Many homeowners are faced with the decision
whether to pay their mortgage because they cannot afford to pay the mortgage on a home that is uninhabitable and pay
rent for alternate housing. Some lenders will provide homeowners with a forbearance agreement or moratorium which,
simply stated, is a temporary freeze on your mortgage. However, the missed payments must generally be paid back.
A forbearance may not be advisable for everyone. Ask your lender what will happen at the end of the forbearance. A
forbearance could negatively affect your credit so please check with your lender and get any agreement in writing.
Additionally, some lenders are requiring homeowners to affirm the balance of the loan (even if incorrect) or to waive certain
defenses to protect the lender in the event of a foreclosure. Homeowners are encouraged to contact an attorney to discuss
To contact Fannie Mae, call (800) 732-6643 and select option 3. Ask to speak to someone about Fannie Mae’s “unusual
hardships policy for homeowners with problem drywall.” Click here to review the agency's new national policy. Click here
for Circular for Veteran's Benefit Administration. Note, mortgages are frequently sold. Click here to find out if you have a
Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac
* Can I still maintain a claim if my home is being foreclosed? You can still maintain a claim, although again the
nature and/or amount of your damages may differ. Please consult your attorney and discuss preservation of evidence.
* Can I walk away from my house without any further liability? Not unless your lender agrees. Without an
agreement from your lender, the lender still has the right to sue you for the deficiency.
* Can I go ahead and remediate now and still maintain a claim? Please consult your attorney first as this could
affect your recovery, particularly if you have Knauf drywall. Moreover, you are required to preserve evidence in
accordance with Judge Fallon's Order. It is not enough to have an inspection report or merely save a few pieces of
drywall. Your attorney may also want to put your builder and others on notice before you begin remediation.
* The value of my home has decreased due to the Chinese drywall. Can I have my property reassessed?
Contact your county property appraiser for more information. For those in Florida, if the property is uninhabitable, then the
property appraiser must assess the value of the building at $0. See CS/CS HB 965 Real Property Assessment
* What should I do if I am purchasing a home built between 2001 and the present? In addition to a Chinese
Drywall Disclosure form (which is now required in some states) and a thorough home inspection by someone who has
experience with Chinese drywall, you may want to ask the seller to identify all remodeling/remediation work performed,
along with prior A/C repairs, including the date and nature of the repairs. You should be especially cautious if you are
purchasing a foreclosed home because the lender may have no knowledge of the condition of the property and in some
instances, you may not be able to inspect the home prior to purchase.
Check with the property appraiser (usually available online) to see if the property has been reassessed due to Chinese
drywall. A significantly reduced assessment may be a red flag.
* Can I take a tax deduction?
Revenue Procedure 2010-36 provides as follows: Individuals who pay to repair damage to their personal residences or
household appliances resulting from corrosive drywall may treat the amount paid as a casualty loss in the year of payment.
Taxpayers with pending claim (or intends to pursue reimbursement), a taxpayer may claim a loss for 75 percent of the
unreimbursed amount paid during the taxable year to repair damage to the taxpayer’s personal residence and household
appliances that resulted from corrosive drywall. Please consult an accountant.
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Allison Grant, P.A., 14 Southeast 4th Street, Boca Raton, florida 33432 730 S. Federal Highway, Lake Worth, Florida 33460 | (561) 994-9646. Admitted to the Florida Bar
|THE LEGAL CORNER
by Allison Grant, Esq.
730 S. Federal Highway
Lake Worth, Florida 33460
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