Parkland, St. Lucie County Look to Help Chinese Drywall Victims

A couple of Florida communities have taken steps to get some help for Chinese drywall victims. St. Lucie County Commissioners have become the latest to petition Governor Charlie Crist for an emergency declaration over the Chinese drywall crisis. Meanwhile, the Parkland City Commission has agreed to eliminate building permit fees for Chinese drywall repairs.

Prior to passing a resolution to seek an emergency declaration, St. Lucie County Commissioners heard from Brian Sexton, who has been forced to abandon his home because of health concerns after it was found to have toxic Chinese drywall. Sexton told the Commissioners that he has been renting an apartment and has received no help from his mortgage lender. As a result, his credit is now ruined.

An emergency declaration would make state and federal assistance, including help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), available to Chinese drywall victims. As we’ve reported previously, Parkland and Broward county passed such resolutions earlier this month. A similar resolution is being considered by the Cape Coral City Council.

In Parkland, where several hundred houses are thought to have been built with defective Chinese drywall, the agreement to waive permit fees for repairs could save homeowners as much as $3,000.

“It’s meant as a way to help the people who got stuck with a home with Chinese drywall,” Mayor Michael Udine said Monday. “We wanted to figure out a way to cut them some slack.”

Of the more than 2,800 complaints regarding Chinese drywall made to the Consumer Products Safety Commission, most have come from Florida. Gases emitted from Chinese drywall are being blamed for significant property damage, including damage to HVAC systems, smoke detectors, electrical wiring, metal plumbing components, and other household appliances. These gases also produce a sulfurous odor that permeates homes, and cause metals, including air conditioning coils and even jewelry, to corrode. People living with Chinese drywall have also suffered eye, respiratory and sinus problems that may be linked to the gases.

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