If you live in a townhouse, condo or rowhouse situation in which you share a roof with your neighbors, you likely have legitimate concerns about ever having to repair or replace it.
A shared roof can pose unique challenges for homeowners living beneath them, especially when there are no condo or homeowner associations to manage the decision making. If your home has a shared roof, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Get to Know Your Neighbors
For many reasons, it’s a good idea to get to know your neighbors. But it’s particularly important if you share walls, fences, roofs, yards, etc. The better you know your neighbors, the more likely you are to have an amicable discussion about repairs and replacements when the time comes. You’ll also be more aware of their specific situation and whether they are ready and willing to invest money in their home.
It’s also a good idea to have frank conversations with your neighbors about where they stand on shared repairs so no one is taken by surprise when something comes up. These conversations are easier to have when there isn’t an emergency or dire need so people don’t feel pressured to make a decision.
Get Ahead of the Problem
An ounce of maintenance is worth a pound of repair. Talk to your neighbors about having your roof professionally inspected every few years, and work together to ensure the roof is maintained from the outside, keeping gutters clear and debris removed. Each of you should also be checking your attic spaces to check for moisture, leaks or ventilation issues, and keeping each other informed of what you find.
This is more important than you’d think, but we’ve personally seen neighbors suing neighbors because one person’s roof was causing a leak on the other homeowner’s side due to disrepair. Nipping these issues in the bud early can prevent a lot of headache and cost down the line.
If and when the time comes for a roofing replacement, it is possible to work together with your neighbors to come to a solution. We have replaced roofs for multiple owners under the same roof who worked together to find the right contractor, material, color and installation schedule that worked for all of them. Don’t assume this is an impossibility. Give your neighbors the benefit of the doubt that they also want to make sure their home is well maintained and protected.
The first and most important thing to do is to discuss your budget and what each homeowner is reasonably willing and able to spend on the project. The next step is to decide who will be in charge of certain responsibilities. For instance, will one person be in charge of collecting all the estimates, or should each neighbor schedule and report back on a single estimate? Will one person be responsible for cutting the check and getting payment from everyone else, or will the contractor accept equal payments from each person directly? Does someone need to finance their portion? If so, then they may need to work directly with the contractor to set up a payment plan, while everyone else can pay their share in cash.
Finally, it’s critical to be flexible. Not everyone is going to agree on every single thing, whether it’s budget, contractor, material or color. Talk about your non-negotiables and try to find some common ground to reach a solution that meets everyone’s top needs. But don’t go into the situation assuming you will get every single thing you want on your checklist.
Last Resort: Go It Alone
It is possible in some cases to have a single portion of a shared roof repaired or replaced if you cannot get your neighbors on board for a full reroofing. It is by no means ideal, and it’s important to note that it can impact warranties and workmanship guarantees. But, if your roof is damaged or at the end of its life, you’re better off doing something now and avoiding further damage than waiting for all your neighbors to get on the same page.
If you have a shared roof situation and need an estimate, advice or inspection, give Andrews Roofing a call. We’ve worked with families in the Hampton Roads region for decades and we know this area’s specific types of housing scenarios so we can give you the best solution to your roofing problem. Contact us today.