May 9, 2018

Senators Larson, Cassano, Gerratana Applaud Passage of Bill to Help Homeowners with Crumbling Foundations

Senator Tim Larson (D-East Hartford), Senator Steve Cassano (D-Manchester), and Senator Terry Gerratana (D-New Britain) applauded Senate passage (19-17) of a bill to help homeowners with crumbling concrete foundations, along with other home health and safety issues, such as lead contamination and sinking homes.

House Bill 5209 places a $12 surcharge on a homeowner’s insurance policy upon their issuance or renewal beginning in 2019, with all the funds to be placed in a newly created Healthy Homes Fund. The funds will pay for the remediation of homes with crumbling concrete foundations, lead abatement in homes, and remediation of homes in a specific area of New Haven that are sinking.

“Connecticut is the kind of place that when our neighbors are in a bind we all come together to help out. For years now, homeowners in northeastern Connecticut and New Haven have been struggling through this horrific ordeal,” Sen. Larson said. “This legislation provides a new source of revenue for the crumbling foundations assistance fund to help repair crumbling foundations and sinking homes in our state. I am proud to stand up for homeowners in my district by leading passage of this critical piece of legislation.”

“The public and governments got behind the victims of other natural disasters like Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy. But that’s exactly what’s going on with crumbling foundations. It’s happening in a different way, but the devastation is the same,” said Sen. Cassano. “People are losing their homes, their investments, their way of life. Today we took action to help reverse that.”

“Thousands of Connecticut residents are struggling with or will struggle with the severe effects of crumbling foundations,” said Sen. Gerratana. “This has been a huge problem for so long, and now is the time to do what’s right to help our citizens. This bill provides new revenue to help homeowners fix their homes, and I’m proud to vote today in support of the people of Connecticut’s right to a safe home.”

Eighty-five percent of the moneys in the Healthy Homes Fund will be transferred to the Crumbling Foundations Assistance Fund for crumbling foundations remediation. Those funds will be distributed through the nonprofit, private captive insurance company Connecticut Foundation Solutions Indemnity Company, LLC, which is in the process of being licensed. The surcharge is expected to raise $10.2 million per year.

The bill passed the House on Saturday, May 5 with bipartisan support on a 97-42 vote.

The Senate today also passed House Bill 5321, a bill updating the real estate property disclosure form passed into law last year, which requires sellers to provide information on potential issues with a home to prospective buyers. HB 5321 further specifies the questions that must be included on the form and adds questions on concrete foundations.

The bill also requires any member of the board of directors for the non-profit captive insurance company that will distribute crumbling foundations remediation funds to recuse themselves if their own application or that of a family member comes before the board. Per statute, two of the board members must be homeowners affected by crumbling concrete foundations.

The bill clarifies that the captive insurance company is not considered a state agency and shall not be considered to be performing a governmental function. This measure would protect the identity of homeowners who submit applications for aid.