Real Estate Blog

Lee County's drywall victims await tax deal

September 24th, 2009 12:19 PM by Sherry Lee

Lee County's drywall victims await tax deal Homeowners hope for value reduction By MARY WOZNIAK • mwozniak@news-press.com • September 24, 2009 Letters were sent late Wednesday to 1,086 homeowners who claimed they have defective Chinese drywall, informing them whether they will receive a 50 percent reduction in their home's market value. The letters were sent by Ken Wilkinson, Lee County property appraiser, who sought to give a break to homeowners wrestling with the financial and emotional effects of having the tainted product. Of that total: -540 homeowners, or nearly half, had enough documentation to qualify for the reduction. -265 received a temporary 50 percent reduction, pending the receipt of additional information. -281 did not receive a reduction due to lack of documentation. "You can't just call up and say you have Chinese drywall," Wilkinson said. Homeowners must show they meet the criteria of the state Department of Health's case definition, he said. Some met the case definition, but did not have confirmation from a third party, like an inspector. Those homeowners received the temporary reduction. The homeowners have until Oct. 19 to dispute the new Truth in Millage (TRIM) notice if they are not satisfied. A TRIM notice is a snapshot of a property owner's tax bill. "I don't imagine that they would not be happy," Wilkinson said. He based the reduction on a market analysis of 29 properties with the drywall that sold in '09, where the buyers were aware of the problem. His staff found the homes sold for an average of 50 percent of their market value. So Wilkinson dropped the market value by 50 percent. The reduction in taxes depends on the particular property and what exemptions it may have, Wilkinson said. "What a lot of people can't appreciate is there are so many different parameters on any one parcel," he said. Most of the tainted drywall was imported between 2004 and 2007. The drywall has a foul smell, corrodes air conditioning coils, other metal household items and wiring inside electrical outlets. Some residents have complained of health symptoms including headaches, respiratory problems and nosebleeds. Federal and state agencies have not determined if it damages health. But Wilkinson realized there is a negative impact on home value. What about a reduction in 2010? "We haven't even discussed next year yet," Wilkinson said. Next PageundefinedPrevious Page © Copyright 2009 The News-Press. All rights reserved.
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Posted by Sherry Lee on September 24th, 2009 12:19 PM

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