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Defective Chinese Drywall Damages Florida Buildings

Posted on January 20, 2009

Usually when you move into a new home, you hope to be free of home repairs for quite some time. But Florida residents are complaining about a foul smell coming from dry wall or plasterboard that is made in China.

According to a report from Bradentonherald.com, the state health department has received 39 complaints many from Manatee, Sarasota, Pinellas, St. Lucie, Collier and Lee counties.

In one account, the smell of rotten eggs has been so overpowering that many owners of newer homes have had to leave their homes. The reports are that the foul smelling drywall emits an odor that corrodes the air condition coils and wiring causing failure.

Much of the problem has been reported in Southwest Florida, but Lennar, the second homebuilder to acknowledge the problem reports at least two home in the Miami-Dade area have had the problem, according to a story from the Jacksonville Business Journal.

Lennar already has identified about 80 homes on Florida’s west coast with a Chinese drywall problem.

How did we get drywall from China? Apparently following Hurricane Katrina, there was a shortage and Knauf Pasterboard Tianjin Co. Ltd. Of China was only too happy to accommodate.

The company, a subsidiary of a German company, was one of many exporters to home builders working in Southwest Florida, reportedly sending more than 10-million square feet of drywall from China.

The company says it now mines its gypsum, which makes up drywall from another mine and the foul smell doesn’t present a problem.

Lennar Homes appears to be doing a good job in replacing air conditioning systems that are being corroded by the caustic air. Also some neighbors report that belt buckles have tarnished, computers had to be repaired, and jewelry, mirrors and picture frames became tarnished.

No word from Taylor Morrison, the other home builder in the area about what they plan to do.

Before you have any work done consult with an attorney who understands the terms of your agreement with the builder. Do not sign away your rights to have work done, until the scope of the problem is understood. Homeowners in Georgia, Mississippi, Texas and California have also reported drywall problems so we may not yet know the extent of this problem.

You certainly do not want to sign away your rights if the work is not done to your satisfaction. And you do not want to sign any contracts that specify binding arbitration as an alternative to being able to go to court. An experienced attorney can tell you that binding arbitration means the deck will likely be stacked against you. Your home is your most important investment. Make sure you protect it and your rights by contacting our skilled Florida attorneys at 1-800-533-3555 so we can help defend your rights.