Chinese drywall victims in Florida’s Miami-Dade County are getting a little help to reduce the cost of remediation. According to the South Florida Business Journal, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez has directed the building department to eliminate permitting and inspection fees for homeowners who are making Chinese drywall repairs. Alvarez’s directive would apply to Chinese drywall homeowners in unincorporated areas of Miami-Dade, as well as those in West Miami.
Florida has been the state hardest hit in the Chinese drywall debacle. According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), 1,522 drywall complaints have come from Florida homeowners. However, it is estimated that as many as 35,000 homes in the state may contain Chinese drywall.
According to the South Florida Business Journal, the elimination of permitting and inspection fees in Miami-Dade will be retroactive, so homeowners who have already paid them and started repairs will be able to apply to the program. The savings on permits and inspections for a single-family home with $20,000 in replacement costs would be about $1,200, the Business Journal said.
Mayor Alvarez also said the county would try to help Chinese drywall homeowners who have made illegal repairs without paying the fees. He could not rule out the possibility that some of those homeowners would be fined, but according to the Business Journal, the county will be looking at each case individually before deciding to assess penalties.
The Miami-Dade County appraiser has also tried to help Chinese drywall homeowners by reducing assessments on homes based on the repair costs, something that would reduce property taxes on a home. According to the South Florida Business Journal, to be eligible for an assessment reduction, homeowners need to provide one piece of evidence that would prove their home contains Chinese drywall.
According to the Business Journal, 129 Miami-Dade properties with Chinese drywall have had assessment adjustments since the spring. Ninety of those homes are located in Doral, 12 in Homestead, and 11 in Coral Gables. The average reduction is about $124,000 per home, and total reductions so far have amounted to $16 million.