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Congressman Joe Courtney

Representing the 2nd District of Connecticut

Information For Homeowners With Crumbling Foundations

A Crisis Affecting More Than Three Dozen Towns Across North-Central Connecticut

In recent years, more and more homeowners in our region have discovered that their home foundations are crumbling due to the presence of a mineral called pyrrhotite in the stone aggregate originally used to mix the concrete. During this time, I have met with affected homeowners, attended community forums, and discussed the matter with town officials and state legislators from the impacted regions. The high cost of repairs for homeowners, the prevalence of the problem in our region, and the potential economic impact to the state require a comprehensive response. I have been a persistent advocate for such a collaborative approach and I will continue to organize state and local officials, federal agencies, private industry, and other stakeholders to address this crisis head-on.


Courtney speaks to a homeowners group about crumbling foundations in 2015

 

Resources for Homeowners

 

Courtney hosts a seminar at Ellington High School with a senior certified public accountant (CPA) at the IRS, Joseph S. McCarthy, for homeowners and contractors to learn more about the IRS Casualty Loss Deduction procedures in May 2018

 

What I am Doing

On November 22, 2017, Congressman John Larson and I announced that the IRS approved our request for a "revenue procedure," a guidance document that allows homeowners with crumbling foundations to deduct the cost of repairs from their federal taxes as a casualty loss. In the months leading up to this decision, we discussed this problem with key federal officials, including former IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson, and Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, who made it clear that federal agencies understand the deep impact of this problem. The guidance issued by the IRS will now allow homeowners to deduct the cost of repairs made to home foundations for pyrrhotite-related damage on returns, and amended returns, moving forward. Homeowners can read the guidance here and consult with their professional tax preparer to determine whether their repairs qualify.

In August 2016, I received confirmation from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that federal grant programs including the Community Development Block Grant and the HOME Investment Partnership program could be used to support housing remediation costs in communities affected by crumbling foundations. Connecticut already receives funding through this program annually to support housing initiatives across our state, and some of the funding has been targeted to support our region's response. I have worked extensively with local legislators, state agencies, and HUD staff to share information and assist in using this funding to alleviate the burden of crumbling foundations.

In addition to those two programs, in September 2017, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed three amendments I authored along with Congressman Larson. These amendments would support our efforts with the IRS and HUD, as well as the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which could issue standards for pyrrhotite content in residential construction to help prevent a similar pyrrhotite-related problem in the future. While the amendments have not become law, this vote was the first time a chamber of the U.S. Congress expressed support for assisting Connecticut homeowners.

The response to this crisis must address the central problem of damaged homes as well as related issues, including questions regarding property-casualty policy changes, outstanding mortgage debt held by homeowners, and the impact of this problem on municipal budgets. I remain committed to investigating every possible source of federal assistance that may be available to local homeowners who need help, and I will continue my regular communications with state and local officials to develop the comprehensive solution this crisis requires. 

As the state coordinates further assistance and information for homeowners, my office is always available as a resource for eastern Connecticut constituents. Please feel free to call my office at 860-886-0139 or email me with any questions.

 

More on Information For Homeowners With Crumbling Foundations

January 3, 2017 Press Release
“This report documents the work done to date by the staff of the Department of Consumer Protection. As such, it accurately lays out the Commissioner’s efforts which have been laudable. Unfortunately, it totally begs the question of what needs to happen next to solve this problem, which will require the concerted effort of all levels of government. Today, local officials in 23 communities we know have impacted homes are taking the brunt of declining property assessments. This horrifying situation poses a grave threat to the housing market of a significant part of the state which will have a negative ripple effect across our state's economic recovery. My office received confirmation last August that federal resources can be applied to this problem through the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Local leaders are hard at work trying to leverage these resources, which combined with help from other stakeholders, insurers, lenders and home builders can stop the escalating harm this report identifies. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the federal delegation, area legislators and local officials to flush opportunities like these out further."
October 7, 2016 Press Release
“As I have said before, I am committed to investigating every source of federal assistance that can be used to assist homeowners in northeastern Connecticut with crumbling foundations. Now I am working with partners on the ground in Connecticut to make sure that we can smooth the glide-path for these resources into our local towns,” said Courtney. “This is a complicated issue and no single source of funding is going to solve this entire problem. We need an all-hands-on-deck approach to this crisis and after meeting with the Capital Regions Council of Governments earlier this week - it was clear that they get it. I look forward to continuing to work closely with CRCOG as they pursue ways to address the crumbling foundations issue and seek resources, such as federal funding like the type I identified at HUD to help homeowner sand community facing this difficult challenge.”
September 21, 2016 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. —Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) released a letter from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) indicating that Connecticut municipalities may have a path to pursue federal grant funding to address repairs associated with crumbling foundations. As part of his effort to identify federal resources for homeowners struggling with crumbling foundations, Courtney received a letter from HUD outlining two possible sources of existing annual federal grant funding that could be used for municipal housing rehabilitation programs.

August 9, 2016 Press Release
In their letters, the members state that: “The urgency of this problem is clear. Failure to enact a workable plan to provide relief will have a lasting impact not just on homeowners and communities, but on all those connected to the housing market, including insurers. We hope that your company will be a constructive and collaborative part of making this plan work in order to provide needed relief to your customers, their neighbors, and our communities."

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