Battling HOA On Leaking Roof For 1 Year

60 Replies

Wasn't sure which forum this topic should be on or if this even fitting topic for these forums but hopefully someone can help me.

I've been battling with my HOA for over a year now about leaks from my roof (April of last year). There are stains in the ceiling of my bedrooms, closets, and bathroom. Theres water damage to the plywood. In the winter, ice and frost developed all over the attic. Theres mold on the plywood and structural beam. Theres puddle of water on attic and wet insulation. Some leaks are dropping on my recessed lighting. I have now put a plastic cover on it to stop it from getting wet but those lights need air circulation. And now I have a squirrel in the attic.

The HOA president has been very lazy and been delay taking actions to fix it. Even the contractors he hire to plug holes said the entire thing needs to be replaced and he's (HOA president) not doing it. Contractor stated trying to plug holes is pointless as theres too many and impossible to get to all of them.

Do I have a case to sue? If not what do I need to build my case? And can anyone recommend a lawyer.

I have a 7 month old daughter. I don't want the mold in the attic to start causing health problems as well as the squirrel that's probably ******** everywhere in the attic. I don't know how to force my HOA to do anything beside a lawsuit.

I have a collection of photos and email and text messages with the HOA president. Some advice and help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Rather than sue, have an attorney send a "Demand Letter" the HOA president. That states the situation and that you will take legal action if not addressed within a stated time frame.

Deliver that notice by a process server or at least FedEx, to make it look serious.  

@Brian Ploszay

Thanks. I'll get working on that.

How can I get them to repair/replace all the issues? I have a feeling he will try to replace the shingles and that's it. I would need the beam and plywood with mold replaced, damaged plywood replaced, and wet insulation replaced. And hopefully the squirrel leaves on it's own. A lot of issue built up because of the leak. They all happened due to failure of upkeeping the roof.

He also complains that the HOA doesn't have a lot of funds, so that's why I believe he will only do shingles. It's a 20 unit complex that pays $230/mo each. The roof is 30 years old. It 4 set of 5 adjoining units.

I also fear if I do a lawsuit, they'll just increase HOA fees to compensate.

If the HOA doesn't have the money, then it will not get done. And perhaps the lawsuit will be an empty victory.

There clearly needs to be a special assessment.   Mold can be treated, so replacing everything needs to be determined.

If the roof is 30 years old, it is nearing the end of its life. The HOA should be budgeting for this replacement, or at least a good one would be doing that.

When they get around to fixing it, talk to the guys doing the repairs. If they are just replacing the shingles, ask if they can replace the plywood and bill you for it.  Not a great precedence to set, but better than having mold.  The beam may not need to be replaced and can just be treated for the mold once everything is opened up.

Can you join the HOA and get a better idea of where the money is going and how it is being run?

@Theresa Harris

I've asked multiple time since last year to join so that I can help with deferred maintenance and capital expenditures management, basically what happened to me doesn't happen to other. The HOA president keeps making excuses why I can't join yet, said property management company has an issue with it, doesn't explain why. I don't know why the property management company has a say in it. The rules said board has 5 positions but only 3 are taken right now. Two of the other members said I can take their positions because they don't want to be part of it. I also noticed that the HOA president gets issues for his house taken care of immediately but not others. I noticed a few front steps were replaced in some of the homes with a very bland design and cheap material. However his front step is beautifully designed. The fence behind his home broke and fell over and it was fixed and replaced immediately. I think he doesn't want me to join because I'll discover he's doing shady ****. For example, we pay money for irrigation, however for the last year the sprinklers were never used. However we pay for maintenance and usage. Management company also takes 20% of the HOA dues.

that's $4600/mo of cash they should have, so not sure where all that money is going... can you replace the roof yourself and quit paying the dues until the roof cost is covered? definitely consult with the proper attny first.

@Uneeq Khan I'm guessing you are right. Why not call a HOA meeting (don't they have them once a year?) and raise the issue of open positions and put your name forward. I'm familiar with condo associations, but not HOA. I know condo associations have a general meeting once a year and they have regular meetings of the condo board throughout the year whereby anyone can ask to talk to them. Someone should also be auditing the books. If they are charging you for water for irrigation, they need to back that up with bills.

@Victor S.

I may look into that option. Maybe pick up a second job to pay for repairs. But if I have to put up that much money up front, it would take several years of not paying fees to get paid back. And then holding them to it will be an issue as well.

Originally posted by @Uneeq Khan :

@Victor S.

I may look into that option. Maybe pick up a second job to pay for repairs. But if I have to put up that much money up front, it would take several years of not paying fees to get paid back. And then holding them to it will be an issue as well.

 yup, that's why finding a great attny and paying for an hour of their time would be well worth it, imho. 

@Theresa Harris

There are suppose to be quarterly meeting but ends up being once a year.

I should have done more research on the HOA before purchasing. But the agent never sent us the rule book or told us about it. We didn't receive a copy till 3 months after moving in. Along with 3 months of late fees because we didn't know where to make the payments. On top of that, the mailbox on site was not in use so for two months I was putting letters with checks in it thinking it was going to management only to find out that we aren't suppose to use that mailbox. And then that mailbox randomly disappeared with my letters with checks in it.

Reading over the rules again, it also says board can hold private meeting and vote on decisions without the members present. And board can't be held responsible for misuse or lost funds.

I may have to start a mutiny and change the rules.

@Uneeq Khan

I would talk with other residents there and see if they are having similar issues, and definitely speak to an attorney. Does the PM company have anything to do with maintenance there? It is not uncommon for a HOA to have issues..

Bound Brook, AKA Constipated Creek

@Matt M.

The PM company was previously Preferred Management ( I think). And new one is PMI Prime Property Management. Anyone have experience with either. Preferred was terrible in my opinion.

@Uneeq Khan

Have you had any contact with them regarding the issues? I'm not sure I understand why you have a PM company when you have a HOA

@Matt M.

Other residents are elderly and probably haven't looked at their attics. Or maybe they don't care. If they put me on the board I would devote efforts to upkeep the value of everyone's home.

@Uneeq Khan

I would find an attorney that has dealt with HOAs before. ASAP. Before there is more damage and mold. You pay the fee for a reason..

@Matt M.

Idk why we have both. I contacted both the HOA and PM company (old one) several times over the year. Neither of them acted much on it. I'm hoping the new one is better. They just started. I don't know why the HOA members can't just do the job of the PM company. Would save on cost.

Originally posted by @Uneeq Khan :

@Theresa Harris

There are suppose to be quarterly meeting but ends up being once a year.

I should have done more research on the HOA before purchasing. But the agent never sent us the rule book or told us about it. We didn't receive a copy till 3 months after moving in. Along with 3 months of late fees because we didn't know where to make the payments. On top of that, the mailbox on site was not in use so for two months I was putting letters with checks in it thinking it was going to management only to find out that we aren't suppose to use that mailbox. And then that mailbox randomly disappeared with my letters with checks in it.

Reading over the rules again, it also says board can hold private meeting and vote on decisions without the members present. And board can't be held responsible for misuse or lost funds.

I may have to start a mutiny and change the rules.

Start a mutiny. You learn as you go. A good realtor would have included a copy of the HOA rules or condo documents as part of the purchase offer giving you time to review them as a condition of the purchase.

Sorry to hear that. HOA's are a PIA. Been living in my first condo for 1.5 years now and it took them 5 months to repair a garage that had an Oak tree completey fall through it, 1 year+ to cut down 2 small dead trees (after they approved the work, months later they said it wasn't approved...then surprise, they ended up doing it after the Oak tree fell down lol), received a 3 year special assessment to replace roof and siding (why wasn't that previously budgeted for?), and weeks to fix other stupid small issues.

I get mulch in my flower bed once a year, and the President has a very nice condo though ;)

@Uneeq Khan

I would reach out the Association or PM company, like you did if that did not work. Then I would go directly to the Village or Municipality where the property resides. Each Village depending on size has someone that regulates rentals and associations.

Now that the Village is aware of the issue I feel that they would be required to do something, since this is a health or safety issue.

If these two methods fail then I feel like you could do 2 things.

One is to try to get a copy of the HO6 policy and call the insurance company. The last thing they would want is for the Assoc to be negligent. Roof leaks don't fix themselves and they don't get better with time. You could even do this prior to calling the Village.

Two, have an Attorney send a Right to Cure letter. This would be my last option, since it may have to pay a fee to get an Attorney to draft this and also because technically you are sueing yourself when you are sueing your HOA/PM company. But Attorney could threaten litigation based on negligence, and the Village and PM could be complicit if they take a blind eye and don't address this and it does become a health issue.

Also does the PM company have a license with the state? Maybe you can contact the regulating body that handles this.

@CJ M.

My HOA president spends a lot of landscaping because his wife is really into gardening. Since they are on the corner unit, they are entitled to the side area as well for gardening and BBQing. And they spend a lot on snow removal. I noticed the plow often stacked mostly near my parking spot. Now I don't move my car when the plow comes. I just drive through it with my jeep. But he keeps knocking on my door to move my car so the can "clean" the parking spot but it's really that they need a corner to place the snow which takes up half of my spot.

@Ravi P.

Thanks for the tip. I actually know two councilman in my town and also helping one of them run for Mayor. Maybe he could help. I didn't know they could get involved.

I can't find any contact info for the pM company. Just have a name and their website registration doesn't work.

I've even sent contractors and roof suppliers to my HOA president to help him find someone. I even offered to manage this project for him. I documented this as well in case I need to use it.

I'm going to talk to other residents and see what I can do about a coup.

@Matt M.

You mentioned why have an HOA and a PM. I wanted to get more details on that. In case I do take over, I wanted to understand if having a PM is a good idea or even necessary. So if you could, please elaborate more. Why shouldn't there be a PM when there's an HOA in place?

@Uneeq Khan

I've never lived anywhere where there is a HOA, so maybe I'm off in my thinking but...

who do you turn to if there is an issue that HOA is supposed to take care of?

Does the HOA own units that they rent out?

@Matt M.

HOA doesn't own the units but members of the HOA are from the units of the homes in the complex.

When something is wrong we message the PM company. I assume they message the HOA for approval of the work. However in the past, the HOA had to find their own vendors and contractors for the work needing done. The PM didn't do it. I was told that was cause PM kept using pricey vendors and contractors which are away at the budget. Don't know if it's true, but that's what the HOA president told me. I don't understand the point of a PM company if they can not provide you better pricing through their network. This is the issue with past PM, current PM just started this month.

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