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« FEMA to Florida: Forget about Funds, Drywall Not a Disaster | Main | Pyramid Scheme or Real Biz Opportunity? New Online Co's Cut it Close »

Update: CPSC Announces Guidelines for Repairing Homes with Chinese Drywall

Since October of 2009, the CPSC has been investigating the many reports from homeowners relating to problems in homes built using drywall imported from China. Homeowners in many states, but most notably in the Southeast, have suffered wire and metal corrosion problems in their homes and many have reported health issues they also believe may be linked to the drywall as well.

On April 2, HUD and the CPSC have announced their new guidelines for homeowners who have Chinese drywall in their homes. To review the Commission's protocol on identifying problem drywall, click here. If your home does have the Chinese drywall in it, the CPSC recommends, "consumers remove all possible problem drywall from their homes, and replace electrical components and wiring, gas service piping, fire suppression sprinkler systems, smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms."

This is a very complicated and expensive process. The CPSC further recommends that homeowners be very careful when choosing a contractor to do the repair work. In a December 2009 Consumer Alert, the FTC suggested homeowners check a contractor’s references, qualifications and background before agreeing to hire them.

Financing such massive repairs, especially to a home that has lost value due to the problem drywall, can be daunting. The CPSC has the following financing information:

  • In December, HUD announced to cities, counties and states that the funds they receive from HUD’s Community Development Block Grant program may be a resource to help local communities combat the problem drywall. These Block Grant funds are given to communities which decide how to spend them ... Homeowners should contact their city or county to see if they have programs that can help.
  • HUD has encouraged its FHA mortgage lenders nationwide to consider extending temporary relief to allow families experiencing problems paying their mortgages because of problem drywall, to allow the homeowner time to repair their homes. Families with FHA-insured loans should contact their mortgage lenders directly. HUD also is encouraging non-FHA lenders to give affected families the same consideration.

“Our investigations now show a clear path forward,” said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. “We have shared with affected families that hydrogen sulfide is causing the corrosion. Based on the scientific work to date, removing the problem drywall is the best solution currently available to homeowners. Our scientific investigation now provides a strong foundation for Congress as they consider their policy options and explore relief for affected homeowners.”

For the full text of the CPSC announcement, HUD recommendations and investigative history, go to: http://www.cpsc.gov/info/drywall/hud10068.html.

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