Connecticut state lawmakers are considering several ways of helping homeowners whose homes are threatened by failing concrete foundations.
In six hours of legislative hearings last week, lawmakers listened as homeowners and state officials described problems traced to the presence of the mineral pyrrhotite in aggregate used to make concrete. Six bills dealing with a problem potentially affecting tens of thousands of homeowners in the eastern part of the state are now before lawmakers.
Among the proposals under consideration are subsidies for interest rates on repair loans, borrowing by towns and cities to provide financial help to homeowners, and a waiver on building permit fees for homeowners trying to fix their houses, according to a report in the Hartford Courant.
But to critics, including the president of the Connecticut Coalition Against Crumbling Basements, legislative efforts to date come up short.
“The governor continues to fail us today,” the coalition’s president, Tim Heim, said. “Governor Malloy, hear our message loud and clear: Thank you, but no thank you.”
The problem could spill over into the banking industry. Dave Weise, general counsel for the Connecticut Bankers Association, told the state’s National Public Radio affiliate that some of the association’s bank members hold tens of thousands of loans in eastern Connecticut and do not know how many may be affected by the pyrrhotite problem.
“Their homes are worthless, which means our collateral is worthless,” Weise told WNRP. “A lot of these people are unable, or in some cases unwilling to repay their mortgage loans, on the theory of, you don’t throw good money after bad.”
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