Message To Property Owners with Imported Drywall

In Sarasota County, a number of our homeowners are experiencing the anxiety of dealing with defective imported drywall.  Families have been displaced and lives disrupted.  Unlike natural calamities such as hurricanes, floods and fire, defective imported drywall is a manmade disaster with many of the same consequences.  Remediation or reconstruction makes the home temporarily uninhabitable and costs tens of thousands of dollars to restore.

Many of you with defective drywall have called my office asking if your property values could be adjusted.   Over the past year my staff and I have been working on your behalf regarding issues concerning ad valorem assessments and making the necessary adjustments in reducing your taxable value.  However, I am pleased to announce the Governor has signed legislation, effective with the 2010 Tax Roll, requiring property appraisers to adjust the assessed value of homes and condominiums adversely affected by imported drywall.

On June 2, 2010, Governor Crist signed legislation making single-family residential properties (interpreted by the Florida Department of Revenue as “a residential property where one family lives”) affected by imported drywall eligible for an adjustment of their assessed value.  The bill, HB965, applies to the 2010 and subsequent assessment rolls and will be repealed on July 1, 2017, unless reviewed and reenacted by the Legislature.

To qualify for the adjustment, a property must have imported or domestic drywall (drywall containing elevated levels of elemental sulfur that results in the corrosion of certain metals) that has had a significant negative impact on the property’s just value and the purchaser must have been unaware of the presence of the defective drywall at the time of purchase. 

If the building cannot be used without remediation to bring the property up to current building standards, then the property appraiser must assess the value of the building at $0.  The building to be valued at $0 includes the affected finished living area of the dwelling and all attached building areas, such as attached garages, porches and pools.  The adjustment will not be applied to the land, detached buildings or yard items. 

Upon the substantial completion of remediation and repairs, the property will be assessed as if such imported or domestic drywall had not been present.

Homestead property will not be considered abandoned when a homeowner vacates the property for the purpose of remediation and repair, provided the homeowner does not establish a new homestead.

The legislation was in response to the numerous homes built with drywall imported from China between 2004 and 2007.  As of March 1, 2010, the state has confirmed that 530 homes have been affected by imported drywall.

This is a very important issue and we are continuing to work closely with our residents to ensure properties constructed with imported drywall are identified and property owners benefit from the new legislation (Section 193.1552, Florida Statute), effective with the 2010 Tax Roll.

If you have a property that you suspect has defective imported drywall, we need to know about it.  Please download and complete the survey form and return it to us along with the required documentation.

Mail To: Bill Furst
Sarasota County Property Appraiser
ATTN: Imported Drywall
2001 Adams Lane
Sarasota, FL 34237

You may also drop off the form and documentation at one of our offices. Addresses and directions may be found on our Home Page.

The Florida Division of Environmental Health has three links I would encourage you to visit.

Each case reported to my office will be individually reviewed based on the merits of the documentation you provide. It is important to emphasize, it is the property owner's responsibility to submit the required documentation. If you have any questions, please call us at 941.861.8200. Here at the Sarasota County Property Appraiser's Office we take our obligation to work for you seriously.

Sincerely,

Bill Furst

Sarasota County Property Appraiser

Download and complete the Imported Drywall Survey

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