"When Your Biggest Investment Is Now Worthless, It's Devastating" - Homes In Connecticut Are Literally Crumbling

Tyler Durden's picture

"You can't eat, you can't sleep. When you're told your home is now worthless and your biggest investment is now worthless, it's devastating" - This is how Tim Heim, a homeowner in northeastern Connecticut describes the feeling when you're told the concrete foundation of your home is crumbling, and your house is gradually collapsing.

Sadly, this is exactly what thousands of homeowners are being told across nearly 20 towns in northeastern Connecticut. The problem has been traced back to foundations which used materials from a specific quarry and related concrete maker since the 1980's.

From the NYT

The scope of the problem is so vast that state officials have begun an investigation, and they recently announced that the crumbling foundations had been traced to a quarry business and a related concrete maker, which have agreed to stop selling their products for residential use. The stone aggregate used in the concrete mixture has high levels of pyrrhotite, an iron sulfide mineral that can react with oxygen and water to cause swelling and cracking. Over the past 30 years, the quarry has provided concrete for as many as 20,000 houses.

The governor directed the Consumer Protection Department and attorney general to investigate possible wrongdoing, determine the scope of the problem, and determine what assistance was available for homeowners. As mentioned above, while the state has traced the problem to a specific quarry and concrete maker, there doesn't seem to be any further reports of failed concrete at other projects that used those materials. A spokesman for both companies has attributed the crumbling foundations to improper installation, noting that it was a tendency of some contractors to add water to the wet concrete to make it pour faster. However, the mineral pyrrhotite was identified as a culprit in disintegrating foundations elsewhere, for example in the province of Quebec, in which PM Justin Trudeau pledged to allot $30 million in aid to homeowners whose foundations were failing.

A measure similar to that has failed so far in Connecticut. Republican state senator Tony Guglielmo proposed a $50 million bond to help homeowners but Democrats in the State House rejected it, arguing that such a measure should wait until the full extent of the problem is understood.

The toughest part for homeowners, aside from the emotional roller coaster, is that insurers are refusing to pay for repairs, referencing the word "abrupt" in policy language. Repairing the homes requires replacing the entire foundation which costs anywhere from $100,000 to over $200,000 according to the NYT.

Insurers have generally refused to pay for repairs, strictly defining the coverage of collapse by inserting the word “abrupt” in policy language. Repairing the homes requires replacing the entire foundation at costs that typically range from $100,000 to over $200,000. So far, 223 residents have filed formal complaints about crumbling foundations with the department, but officials believe many homeowners may be reluctant to contact the state, fearing problems from their banks and insurers.

The state's Insurance Department did step in however, if only to provide slight relief, and warned insurers not to cancel policies due to the foundation's condition. It won't help with the concrete problem, but should help prevent homeowners fro losing insurance protection all together. Lawmakers also passed a bill that would allow homeowners with the crumbling foundations receive a reassessment of property values, and requires contractors to record the supplier of concrete for residential foundations.

Families that are being impacted are mostly working middle-class families who face financial ruin since their homes represent the biggest part of their nest egg, not to mention the day-to-day expenses of some homeowners having to move out of their crumbling homes due to them being unsafe to live.

Sandra Miller had to rent a nearby condominium after she was told it was no longer safe for her family to live in the home. Miller said she couldn't pay both monthly rent and a mortgage, let alone the hundreds of thousands it would take to repair the foundation. "I don't know too many people that have $170,000 in their wallet, and that's what it's going to cost to fix my home."

A class action lawsuit has been filed by Connecticut homeowners accusing insurers of a "concerted scheme" to deny coverage. The homeowner who started the coalition, Tim Heim, faults state officials for ignoring warnings from a number of homeowners with the problem in the early 200s. In 2003, a meeting was held in Hartford among lawmakers, homeowners, and representatives of the attorney general's office and Consumer Protection Department - nothing came of it.

"They had the power to stop this problem, and they chose not to." Heim Said.

Fifteen years ago, Linda Tofolowski and her husband filed a formal complaint with the Consumer Protection department against J.J. Mottes, the company that supplied the concrete to their home, detailing the cracks that had formed in the foundation of their home in the mid-1990s. The couple also sued J.J. Mottes in 1995 and lost.

* * *

Sadly this reminds us about the "new" apartment buildings in China where the concrete walls crumble like sand, and just like in China it appears as these homes in Connecticut will be worthless over time as well. People's largest asset, just crumbling beneath their feet, and just like that, the appearance of a safe nest egg for the future, has disappeared.

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Francis Marx's picture

Something tells me the little people won't get bailed out.

TradingIsLifeBrah's picture

They still have the land value. Hell in NY a lot of the homes are knocked down anyway and condos are put up instead when zoning laws allow.  

COSMOS's picture

Wait so the insurers wont pay referencing the word 'abrupt' in the policies. I am assuming they wont pay unless its an abrupt catastrophe. I sure hope they defined the word abrupt relative to some time scale. Because a good lawyer can definitely make abrupt fit the time scale of these house foundation disasters.

Definitely in this case dont report the cracks and pray to god for Jewish lightning.

Boris Alatovkrap's picture

Boris is take shot at defining of "abrupt"…

Leave Cesium 137 on apartment balcony long enough, you are abrupt occurance of melanoma that is look like hairy nipple on back.

COSMOS's picture

Jewish lightning is quite easy. As you say your prayers before you leave, you light half of the candles on your menorah that is balanced half way over the edge of the bookshelf with the candles light and burning in the half that is still on the bookshelf. On the floor you have lots of torah books open that were part of your yeshiva studies, and lots of newspapers with holocaust articles, that night before you went out. As the candles burn down enough, the menorah tips over and falls to the floor. You then collect the dollar amount relative to the wisdom of the rabbi's teachings.

buttmint's picture

"...spackle dhat crack!!!"

...fixed it for ya!

WakeUpPeeeeeople's picture

New carpet and paint then put it on Craigs list

jcaz's picture

Oh Tim- you haven't lived until you've flamed out on your first house....

MalteseFalcon's picture

LOL.  The peeps banded together, but couldn't get the insurance companies to pay.

Don't they know they live in the "insurance state"?

Without the insurance companies, CT north of Darien is just another part of Appalachia.

CT would be KY or WV without the fucking coal mines.  Even without the promise of Hitlery's totally made up, bogus solar industry.

Did the insurance companies say "abrupt"?

They meant they want you to be abrupt about bending over.

Muppet's picture

This is NOT a government issue.  Its a civil lawsuit issue.  KB Homes has had their lunch handed to them for large defects (not with foundations but otherwise)... and has paid redress.    Capitalism works when there are winners and LOSERS.  This bailout crap has to stop.    Some businesses and/or insurance companies should bear this issue.  Get goverbment out.

mtl4's picture

If the cost is that high just to replace the foundation you might as well bulldoze the whole shebang and build new........then at least you can say it was new construction.

gswifty's picture

So glad to be out of Connectishit. Your spot on with the Appalachia analogy. Just another shit-hole circling the drain.

A Man of Wealth and Taste's picture

Nonsense. Most insurance companies relocated long ago. No, CT is engaged in that most American of industries, war profiteering. Colt, General Dynamics/Electric Boat, Sikorsky, United Technologies, Pratt & Whitney, etc.

chunga's picture

This is just moar proof the entire FIRE industry is nothing but pure, solid fraud.

Son of Loki's picture

That's odd; I just bought a nice Connecticut house on Ebay for a real good price ....

 

oh, wait a sec...

cheka's picture

heim will turn a profit

see 'superstorm' sandy farce for proof

the thing was a tiny tropical storm when it hit....and NOT anything resembling a real hurricane

hence the necessity to create the fraudulent name 'superstorm'

Manthong's picture

I wonder how much of that self-deteriorating concrete underlies public, institutional and government structures.

 

Arnold's picture

-

-

 Sidewalks.

Ahh... Chinese rebar and Connecticut Concrete.

FEMA Trailers are available for the condemned refuges.

FEDbuster's picture

I was going to say it could be worse the builders could have used Chinese drywall.  BTW building defects are not covered by homeowners insurance.

Déjà view's picture

Ah...Connect-i-cut the dots?

detached.amusement's picture

wherever it winds up being, the state will just put it on its tab and hire some legislator's retarded cousin super cheap to halfass patch the job, then have to fix it again in 8 years

John Kich's picture

This is Donald Trump's most shocking statement yet,

However the mainstream media isn't saying a word about it!

What are they really trying to cover up?

http://tinyurl.com/youtube-trump-speech-about-US

Sanctuary2's picture

paint the basement walls with sealant

Antifaschistische's picture

Reminds me of every new house being built in Katy Texas.(houston suburbia)  Holy Hell!!  I think every one of my buddies who has bought a home in katy in the past 10 years has an annual money pit story....new roof, second new AC unit (15k each), foundation problems, bricks falling off the "facade" of their house, busting up concrete to resolve plumbing issues, etc, etc...   I'm sure it's just an anomaly though.  lol

cheka's picture

you are full of sh-t.  new ac is 5k

Antifaschistische's picture

I saw a window unit for sale in Wal-Mart for $125.   You live in a small house cheka.   I'm talking about Texas here.  multi zone AC systems with air handles in the roof "crawl" space....sometimes these "spaces" in the roof are a couple thousand square feet.  Buddy had a quote last year of $18k to replace his system......of course, the AC techs today don't know how to fix much...they just rip and replace.

I'm in 77024...homes here were built in the 60's and designed to last....well, except for the homes that got bull dozed so they could put one of those ugly giant box homes up.  sad.

Handful of Dust's picture

Two years ago you could not find a house for sale in Cinco Ranch or Katy near that new development Cross Creek from what my friend tells me.

 

Now he counts more then 45 houses for sale there due the robust recovery hitting the energy sector. The bad part when these things happen is lawns go unmowed, crime rises, etc. It stinks when that happens but many of these buyers got near zero down mortgages and failed to save for a rainy day, thinking their high-pay oil job was a lifetime deal.

 

Plus, I looked online and Katy and Sugar Land property tax rates are OUCH! near 3.5%. The good news is low crime there so far from what I read online and great schools so more wealthy Asians will move in and displace the deadbeats.

azusgm's picture

The voters in Katy ISD decided to pass a $748 million bond in November 2014. $58 million of that was a facility for Texas religious worship, aka a big, fancy football stadium.

Déjà view's picture

With a big screen-large as an olympic sized swimming pool? Another product of ZIRP. 'Loan' Star State RINO are not shy at all upping debt ante in 'Texas Holdem'. K-12 education a fringe benefit. Any wonder Tejas has second highest local/state debt totals absolute and per capita of all 50 states.

azusgm's picture

Katy used to be rice fields. In the early 1970's, I heard an urban planner/developer/whatever who was speaking on future growth patterns in the Houston metro area state that Katy was not suitable for development because of the well-known subsidence problems. Houston had bad enough problems with foundations, but Katy was an even less suitable place to pour a slab.

 

Oh. well.

Antifaschistische's picture

Katy big time develoment wasn't possible until .gov coughed up $4.5+ billion for the I-10 expansion.  This way, the developers could make a killing.  Now...the largest freeway in the country is as crowded as it ever was.

roddy6667's picture

Maybe they should built them on pontoons.

Déjà view's picture

Not just Katy...all over Houston. Locals call it 'Gumbo' Soil. Drought and rainy periods make Gumbo expand and contract as a lung. Check attic main spar if any cracks appear or completely split. There is a reason for those numerous foundation repair commercials on Houston TV. Perhaps RINO Abbott will declare it a disaster area and FEMA can enter picture. Builders don't care they are out of picture...took money and ran.

BlindMonkey's picture

+1 I will drink a shooter of polonium to that!

johngaltfla's picture

Who cares about the useless pieces of shit in CT? They are either Wall Street leeches or commielibs who demand higher taxes on the rest of us to subsidize their welfare infested Twinkie eating prescription drug addictions so they can stay in the "middle class" with a taxpayer funded iPhone and other fat ass Marxists to have affairs with.

Fuck them and their shitty state. I'll sell them to Quebec for $5.37. Or the best offer avaialble.

Government needs you to pay taxes's picture

This is how contract law gets 'abruptly' corrupted and how insurance fatcats get RIIICH.

MalteseFalcon's picture

These "homeowners" should look on the bright side.  Their governor (who recently won a "Profile in Courage" award) wants to collect all the guns in CT.

So what if your house is crumbling and CT doesn't have shit for a remedy. 

At least your neighbor will lose his guns as soon as the governor "nuts up" and starts sending around SWAT teams to collect those guns.

BTW, your property tax check had better be in the mail.

Son of Loki's picture

If they can prove those concrete sellers and the quarrymen are climate change deniers, they may have a case against them.

Cruel Aid's picture

dont forget the sandy hook gun grab ruse. not one drop of blood there. They used the Dunblane massacre as a model.

Just look it up and dont squawk. its a no brainer

roddy6667's picture

The residents of the Red States get more taxes back from Washington DC than they pay out. They are being subsidized by the Blue States. In other words, Almost all the Red States are on welfare. The supposedly indolent, “tax and spend” liberals actually subsidize the individualistic, pure, and hard-working lifestyle of our conservative countrymen. The supposedly self-supporting independent Red Staters are no better than the "libtards" and the "welfare queens" they despise. 

CT residents do not demand higher taxes, they are taxed high enough. They would, however, like the freeloading Red Staters to pay their share instead of being a burden on society.

 

http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_reckoning/2012/10/25/blue_state_red_face_...

Not My Real Name's picture

Give me a call. I've got some beach-front property in the Mojave desert you can have for a steal. Just more "fact check" propaganda from a liberal rag designed to provide libs their idiotic talking points.

Here's the truth. Read it and weep:

http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2013/09/the_myth_of_red_state_we...

skinwalker's picture

That old yarn has been floating around forever, and it sounds good, until you use you're brain. 

 

The calculations include ALL federal spending. Got that? Everything. Social security, military, food stamps, office paper, staplers, black projects, CIA slush funds, everything. 

 

Now, what do red states have in abundance, relative to blue states? 

 

1. Retirees. Massive SS dollars. 

2. Military bases. Pentagon dollars. 

3. Blacks (south) hispanics (southwest) and indians (mountain west). Welfare dollars. 

 

FYI, slate is not considered a legitimate source for any discussion amongst adults. Heck, even Encyclopedia Dramatica is more reliable. 

Billy the Poet's picture

Nice. Gotta link? I might want to reference that in the future.

roddy6667's picture

So you say that retirees, military bases and minorities do not recieve tax dollars from the Blue States? That is the point. The money flows into the state and benefits everybody there. Your argument is specious.

Not My Real Name's picture

Your entire premise is specious unless you can clearly defend how the propagandists you blindly follow have defined "red" states vs. "blue" states and then validate their methodology. The link I provided soundly debunks their methodology. (Actually, lack thereof.)

roddy6667's picture

So the tax dollars that flow into the Red States don't count. Ok. I got it.