If Vermiculite is Discovered
Home inspectors are often the first to discover vermiculite in a home and are in a unique position to help ensure that all parties are aware of the potential hazards of vermiculite and the availability of the Trust to help fund an abatement. Vermiculite is “trending” nationwide and the Trust seeks to ensure that not only are home inspectors aware of the issues surrounding vermiculite, but that they help spread the word that the Trust can potentially reimburse homeowners a substantial percentage of their vermiculite abatement cost.
A common scenario:
A buyer and seller negotiate the sale of a home subject to the buyer’s home inspection. The home inspector discovers the presence of vermiculite attic insulation and alerts the buyer to the possibility of the presence of asbestos. The buyer insists that the seller remove the vermiculite and reinsulate the attic prior to the sale, alternatively, reduce the sale price to account for the buyer’s intent to remove and replace the insulation. The seller is willing to share the cost but balks at paying for the entire removal. The buyer walks; the deal falls through.
If the real estate agent and home inspector had been aware of the Trust and its ability to reimburse the homeowner a significant portion of its removal costs, the deal may have been salvaged.*
One real estate agent is aware of the Trust and its benefits and informs his client that there is a possibility of negotiating a favorable sale price while also taking advantage of the reimbursement offered by the Trust. The advantage goes to the more informed real estate agent.
* There may be instances, such as might occur in a real estate negotiation, where the parties agree as to who has the rights to the claim. Absence such an agreement, the Trustee will resolve any dispute as equity may dictate.
Home Inspection Opportunities for the ZAI Trust
On occasion, the Trust has a need to confirm or clarify the status of vermiculite abatement in a claimant's home. On such occasions, the Trust plans to retain a home inspector to perform a limited inspection. The Trust intends to identify interested home inspectors utilizing the ASHI and InterNACHI membership roles. The inspection will typically consist of visually verifying the presence, or absence, of vermiculite in the attic; taking pictures and filling out a short form/checklist; and emailing the findings to the Trust. The fee will be based on the inspector's normal rate, not to exceed $200. Unusual or special circumstances that justify a higher rate, e.g., lengthy travel time, can be discussed in advance. The fee will be paid upon receipt of an invoice and report from the home inspector. The specifics of what the Trust seeks to confirm or clarify will be discussed with the home inspector in advance.
A Sample Report
On _____________________________, I performed a limited inspection of the home at ________________________________, at the request of the Zonolite Attic Insulation Trust.
The limited purpose of the inspection was to verify the status of vermiculite abatement or containment at the home and my findings are as follows:
The Trust takes fraud and attempted fraud very seriously and under some circumstances is required to report fraud or suspected fraud to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. The Trust will investigate suspicious claims and apply heightened scrutiny as it deems warranted. Fraud and Conspiracy to Commit Fraud are violations of both state and federal laws and can expose a claimant and/or anyone participating or assisting in the fraud to both civil and criminal sanctions. A professional (and his company) suspected of assisting a claimant with a fraudulent claim will also be reported to the state licensing board. See also FAQ #18