State Report on Crumbling Foundations Includes No Plan for Financial Relief

The state Department of Consumer Protection has released its final report into the costly problem of concrete home foundations that have been crumbling. While the report into the 18-month investigation provides a lot of information on the problem, it provides no indication or suggestion about a plan to provide financial relief to hundreds of homeowners struggling with the problem. 

The NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters broke the story in July 2015 about homeowners dealing with crumbling foundations and several agencies have been involved in the investigation into the problem plaguing hundreds of homeowners, if not more. 

The state Department Of Consumer Protection released a 10-page summary of the work the state performed over the past 18 months and it confirms what the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters reported in the summer of 2015, including that the presence of a naturally occurring mineral called pyrrhotite is necessary to cause a foundation to fail. 

When that mineral is exposed to water and air, it causes an oxidation process that begins the deterioration. 

State officials also now confirm that homes built as recently as 2010 have shown signs of crumbling concrete and experts expect the problem will begin to materialize in more newer homes as time passes. 

Construction experts have said the problem cannot be fixed and all the concrete must be replaced, which can cost $100,000 or more. 

So far, 452 homeowners in 35 towns have filed complaints with DCP. 

The new report also details the attorney general's conclusion that there's not enough evidence for the state to pursue financial relief under the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act against the company that made the problematic concrete. 

Over the past 18 months, DCP interviewed hundreds of people, including homeowners who have crumbling foundations, contractors, structural engineers and concrete company managers. 

Last spring the legislature passed Public Act 1645, which preserves the confidentiality of any homeowner who comes forward and provides some potential tax relief by mandating local cities and towns to reassess property at a homeowners' request. 

What's missing from the newly released report is any suggestion or plan for providing the money homeowners need to get their foundations replaced. 

"I know that our homes are often our biggest financial asset and the property closest to our hearts and our hope is to provide the information needed to get homeowners the relief they deserve," Jonathan Harris, the commissioner of the Department of Consumer Protection, said in a statement. 

Read the report here.

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