Thursday, November 5, 2009

Hillsborough County Resources

Homeowners with tainted Chinese drywall have a place to go for updated information.
Hillsborough County's website, has a new page with links to federal and state agencies handling investigations or offering help. It also has information on the tax breaks offered by the Hillsborough County Property Appraiser's Office as well as the latest news reports.

In addition, residents who are are having their drywall replaced may be eligible to install a temporary mobile home on their lot while work is in progress.

Go to the website above or call (813) 307-4739 for more information.
To return to our website:

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Legislation and Home Inspection

(Washington, D.C.) May, 25th, 2009 — The U.S. House of Representatives committee charged with solving the home mortgage/foreclosure/credit crunch crises has added key home inspection counseling provisions to the Predatory Lending Bill, HR1728.

The Financial Services Committee, chaired by Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) adopted the concept that was also championed on Capitol Hill by Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY).The legislation is designed to use the vast resources of the federal government to awaken harried homebuyers to the benefits of home inspections at a critical time in the home buying process.

The General Accounting Office (GAO) conducted a study of homebuyer confusion and its impacts on home inspection. GAO found that, even among people who had just bought a home, most did not know that home inspections are not conducted automatically, or that appraisals are not home inspections, or that HUD recommends that buyers obtain a voluntary home inspection. Many thought that FHA performed inspections automatically or did not realize that they would need an inspection.The bottom line is that many potential home buyers do not order a home inspection due to confusion , poor understanding and ineffective, untimely communication.

The suspicion of the existence of massive homebuyer confusion has been vindicated by revelations that homeowners now drowning in mortgage debt were utterly confused about many aspects of their purchases. This has put the entire home sales industry at great risk.

In response, the Financial Services Committee added a major chapter on housing counseling in the Predatory Lending Bill. The Velazquez Amendment adds to that the counseling chapter. The provisions added to the Predatory Lending Bill require the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to take such actions as are necessary to inform potential homebuyers of the availability and important of obtaining an independent home inspection.

At a minimum, the new legislation requires HUD to:

Publish HUD’s advisory “For Your Protection: Get A Home Inspection”
Create a new booklet for homebuyers advising them to obtain a voluntary home inspection
Publish HUD’s advisory “Ten Important Questions To Ask Your Home Inspector."
Ensure the new booklet will address FHA and non-FHA home sales.
All publications shall be published in both English and Spanish to reach the growing market of Hispanic homebuyers.

HUD is charged to make the widest possible distribution of the materials, including electronic distribution on the Internet, and, where appropriate, public service announcements and toll-free hotlines operated by HUD.

The agency is charged to give special emphasis to reaching first-time and low-income homebuyers. One of the greatest challenges is making sure that prospective homebuyers get the message on home inspection with certainty, and early enough to influence the process, and that the message on home inspection reaches the entire market.

Under the new provision:
All FHA-approved lenders will be required to provide prospective mortgage applicants these materials at first contact, whether for pre-qualification, pre-approval, or initial application, to ensure that prospective homebuyers consider home inspection as early as possible in any transaction.
The housing counselors for each counseling agency certified by HUD to provide housing counseling shall be required to provide these home inspection materials to prospective homebuyers as part of the counseling process.
All HUD-approved housing counselors will be trained to counsel homebuyers on home inspection, including the importance and availability of home inspection, and information on how to locate and select a qualified home inspector.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tampa Home Inspection Results

Several of our clients have asked us to post a pic of Chinese Dry Wall. The pic on the left clearly has the word, "CHINA" printed on the back of the drywall face. The second (on the right) has the word, "KNAUF" which is the licensee (in Germany).
We have some pics on the main site,

Monday, July 20, 2009

Chinese Dry Wall - What is it?

There are numerous theories and no consensus. The most common theory is that the tainted drywall was manufactured in gypsum mines in China which used fly ash, a waste material that is a byproduct from power plants using coal.
Coal fly ash can leak into the air and emit sulfur compounds. Samples of Chinese drywall recently tested by United Engineering, however, consist of 5-15% organic material, which contradicts the assumption that Chinese drywall was made of waste from coal fired power plants.

Another theory is that Chinese drywall contains bacteria which is degrading iron and sulfur compounds to produce sulfur odors. Drywall imported from China was kept on barges at sea for months awaiting permission to enter the United States. While at sea, the drywall was exposed to seawater. In fact, there are reports that the drywall was wet (and stunk) when unloaded from the ships. According to many experts, however, if bacteria is in fact present, it is not significant enough to cause an odor.

Testing of drywall outer paper and the gypsum core has been found to release sulfur compounds. Thus, there are potential causes aside from the drywall itself, including contaminants in the adhesive that binds the paper to the drywall. Additionally, the drywall or outer paper may have been treated with a fungicide after entering the United States. No one has yet to determine whether tainted drywall has been found in China or Germany (where Knauf, the German importer of the material, is based)

Here is a pic of a lightbar in a bathroom located in a house we inspected in Riverview, FL.
Notice the corrosion on the lightbar and around the light bulb sockets.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

40 Lawsuits and Counting

Homebuilder Lennar Corp. has identified defective Chinese-made drywall in about 400 Florida homes - most built in 2006 - 2007. According to their filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, this represents about 2.1 percent of homes it built in Florida at that time.

Lennar has set aside $39.8 million in warranty reserves for homes that have the defective drywall. State and federal tests have found high levels of sulfur and organic compounds in the drywall.

Lennar says it has been named in 41 separate lawsuits as of this date (14JUL09). Lennar has filed suit against the entire supply chain, including manufacturers of the defective drywall.

For an up-to-date report, click the link below.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Chinese Drywall and Air Conditioner Damage

Your air conditioning system pulls the gases released by the Chinese Drywall into your air handler where it attaches itself to the copper lines. The sulfur gas attacks the copper lines and begins to severely corrode those copper lines. The corrosion weakens the lines and causes failure in the system. No matter how many times the air conditioning system is replaced, the system will continue to fail until the Chinese drywall is removed from the structure. BLC

Monday, June 29, 2009

Chinese Drywall

There are no standard tests to determine if the drywall in your residence is the 'Chinese Drywall' associated with outgassing, corosion and the rotten egg smell.

The best way to confirm is to ask your home inspector to go to the attic and try and read the brand name printed on the back side of the drywall.I say, 'try' because in many buildings the drywall may be covered with insulation that cannot be removed.

The tell-tale signs are sensory, anyway.Corrosion on fixtures like interior mirrors, towel bars in the bathroom, A/C coils and, of course, the smell.

Find more about this and inspections, go to our site: