Crumbling Foundations: Towns Fear Fallout if No Government Action Taken

September 4, 2015

Crumbling foundations could be affecting more than just the homeowners dealing with the problem.

Federal, state and town officials are concerned with the ripple effect the growing crisis could have on entire communities.

A number of elected officials want to convene a task force with federal, state and local agencies to combat the problem as they learn more about the impact the issue could have on the economy of the entire northeast corner of the state.

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal toured a neighborhood in Willington this week to see the failing concrete foundations firsthand. He pledged to the homeowners that he will do whatever he can to help them in their attempts to recover homeowners insurance claims.

“It’s not only the right to be covered but it’s also the right to be fully and fairly informed about changes that may be misleading or deceptive and make sure that they fully understood what they were buying when they bought homeowners insurance,” said Blumenthal.

Connecticut’s senior senator believes the state needs to identify any public buildings which could be affected with the failing concrete.

“I would urge the state be absolutely proactive, aggressive, vigilant in delving into whether or not their buildings may be defective with foundations decaying in the same way they are here,” he said.

State Sen. Tony Guglielmo, a Republican from Stafford, represents 13 towns in eastern Connecticut. He thinks the issue could be felt by entire communities and could destroy the real estate market in the whole region if the government doesn’t step in with a fund to help homeowners pay for foundation replacement.

“Who is going to buy a house in an area where they’re not sure if the foundation is safe?” Guglielmo asked the Troubleshooters. “What bank or mortgage company is going to lend money to a homeowner in that area?”

South Windsor Mayor Saud Anwar said he wants to bring together a coalition of eastern Connecticut mayors and first selectmen to identify how towns are fiscally impacted now and how they could be in the future by what he calls a “slow-moving disaster.”

Anwar believes the issue could lead affected homeowners to appeal property tax assessments because their homes cannot be sold for the valuations they’re being taxed on.

“Our concern starts with the community of which we represent but, of course, as we expand that the grand list may have an impact as well,” said Anwar, who faces re-election a second term in office this fall. “Assessment would have to change to be fair to people that are the tax payers.”

Ellington First Selectman Maurice Blanchette, a Republican, echoes the concerns, especially if people walk away from their homes because they can’t afford to pay the six-figure cost of replacement out of pocket.

“It impacts the town a lot because the value of the properties can fall off in situations like this and make it much tougher for us to run our institutions, pave our roads and do the things we need to do,” said Blanchette.

Hundreds of homeowners have contacted the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters over the last six week saying they’ve been impacted by a crumbling foundation.
If you have dealt with the issue, are dealing with the issue or fear you might be affected by the issue, send your address, home builder, concrete supplier and the year your home was built to [email protected].