WESTMINSTER, Mass. — Homes in central Massachusetts have continually tested positive for pyrrhotite. It’s a mineral causing their home to crumble underneath them and insurance doesn’t cover it.

What You Need To Know

  • There is a bill in the senate to create a fund for those impacted by pyrrhotite foundations to fix their homes 

  • To fix the cost of a home is upwards of $200,000 per home. These condos in Westminster were estimated to be $130,000 in repairs each 

  • The homeowners association owns the foundation for these homes and needs to fix eight homes as of now

  • Action must be taken on the bill by Feb. 6, 2024

The Massachusetts Residents Against Crumbling Foundations is almost out of time with the legislation in the state house that could potentially help families from falling into financial ruin.

In this quiet condo association in Westminster, The Meadows at West Hill have drawn the short straw when it comes to foundation issues.

Of the 96 units built in the 1990s, 10 have tested positive for pyrrhotite, a mineral in concrete that breaks down the structure causing catastrophic damage.

“I’ve gotten quotes ranging from 115 to 130 per unit,” said Homeowners Association (HOA) Trustee and resident Michael Piscione.

To be clear, that’s $115,000-$130,000 per unit to fix the foundations. The foundations are owned by the condo association. Although the cost doesn’t come out of the homeowner’s pocket directly, HOA fees have skyrocketed, and will continue to climb. While the value of the units by the bank decline.

“I don’t know how many increases on the HOA that I can justify,” said Tammi Roscoe who moved in to her home in spring 2021. “That was a huge jump. It went from $366 to $434.”

“I don’t plan on moving but if I were I know already that some of the places banks have refused to finance, so it’s already a problem,” she said.

As more and more pyrrhotite is found around the state, a group of impacted homeowners has been pleading with state leaders to help, as the condo association struggles to pay the millions of dollars for both the temporary fixes and eventual permanent foundation rebuilds necessary for safety.

“People really need to see the issues with their own eyes and see the effects of what’s happening to the concrete and see how devastating it is. It’s not just a little crack here and there,” said Piscione, who has been tasked with finding the financing for the HOA to pay for the damages. “You walk into that cellar at 6 Crestview and you can’t open the door to go to the outside because of how much the house is shifted.”

State Sens. Ryan Fattman, Peter Durant and Michael Moore, as well as U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, were all in attendance to tour the homes and ask questions, while impacted homeowners pleaded for help for legislation to be passed.

“We may have to even go forward with it prior to having anything passed in the state,” said Piscione.

There is a bill in the senate that would create a state fund to help homeowners pay for these needed and financially debilitating repairs. The bill needs to be voted on by Feb. 6th, 2024. It can pass, be extended or flat out denied.

The Massachusetts Residents Against Crumbling is hoping this bill can be passed and they can start to rebuild their homes, and their lives again.