I share a roof with those in the town homes my own town home in Bellevue is attached to. How do I replace it?
It likely depends on how your contract for shared ownership handles how the roof of the building is replaced. Sometimes, shared ownership buildings have a monthly payment included in the ownership of it, and that money can be applied to such things as roof replacement.
The first step you can take is simply to call the building management, and ask them. The other thing I have always had in this type of situation is good insurance. If you feel the management is being careless when it comes to building maintenance, your town home underneath that roof they might be responsible should still be protected. The second – or perhaps first – step therefore might be to call your insurance agent and see if you can take out the appropriate insurance to cover your property in the event of damage outside your control. You may already have such insurance, included on one of the clauses of your contract.
If there is no roof replacement benefit in your shared services payments
Some things are neither covered by your insurance nor included as one of the benefits of a Homeowners Association (HOA) dues payment. Sometimes it’s the wall between you and your neighbor’s back yard. Sometimes it’s a shared sewer line that runs from your yard to theirs, or theirs to yours. And one day, it gets clogged and the sewer people need to fix it. It won’t matter that you don’t flush wipes down your latrine, even though that’s what blocked the pipes. The fact is, you share a common asset and it needs repair or replacement.
Talk with your neighbors about your common roof
We’ve all been there. We’ve lived beside neighbors for years and hardly ever said hello to any of them. I lived in a house for a decade some time ago, and I didn’t even know the names of any of my neighbors. Each of us would arrive home and park our cars in their respective garages, so even then, we didn’t get to talk by accident. And now with Millennials and their mobile devices, it seems people don’t even leave the house like they used to.
Having a conversation with your neighbors is always a good idea. Remember, too, we’re all sitting on a pesky little earthquake zone, and one day – perhaps it’s two hundred years away, but perhaps a month away – the whole place is coming down. If we survive it, there will be destruction for hundreds of miles, and it may take months for help to reach you, in which case you will need to rely on your neighbors, as they will you.
A big disaster notwithstanding, at least having had a relationship with you neighbors is good for you and it’s good for them. Communities do better the world over when they actually know each other a bit.
What if your neighbor can’t afford to share the cost of the new roof?
It’s a common situation. And you can only pray that a common asset is a small one if it ever needs to be replaced. A roof replacement in for example the Kirkland of Bellevue neighborhoods can run into the tens of thousands of dollars pretty quickly. One of the factors driving up the prices now is that there are only so many workers available. All the roofing companies are hunting for the same, good roofing workers, so they are limited to the staff they have been able to hold on to.
Talking with your neighbor is clearly the best way to find common ground. If there is some way they can pay their fair share of a needed roof replacement, then they just have to know the work really does need to be done. Some neighbors might decide to simply wait you out, so that you will from frustration just go out and buy a new roof and pay for everything. That brings you back to the insurance issue. Always have that to fall back on. If you really do need to wait it out with your neighbor, then let him or her know, they should contact you when they’re “in a position to share the investment in a new roof”. At least, that pushes a little bit of the responsibility over to them, and you’ve done your due diligence should the insurance company inquire late about why you didn’t replace the roof in time.
Form your own community to handle roofing and other such issues
The last apartment complex I lived in had only 34 apartments. The landlords, quite the pair of evil twins, would pick each of us off for one piece of meanness or other. So, we got together to form a Facebook Page with two admins. You could only see the content if you were an actual tenant, so we quickly got most of us together to discuss how we would work together. We got some concessions under the threat of bringing down the average Yelp and other review sites to a fraction of what it was.
Whether you are owners or renters, unity of purpose is always good. Let’s face it, the landlord (the property owner) speaks with a single voice. Why can’t the tenants! Go get in touch with everyone in your community. It’s much easier now to stay in touch, because of the power of social media, apps and other technology.
Check back next week!!!