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HOA Installs Mismatched Shingles

Richard Montgomery on

Dear Monty: We own a condo in the only four-unit building in our condo community. The rest are two-unit, three-unit, or stand-alone condos. This is an upscale community. We had a roof leak, and the homeowners association paid for the repair, but they put on shingles that don't match the rest of the roof. It is unsightly and makes our condo look trashy. When we complained, the officers said replacing the entire roof over a four-unit building would be too expensive, and we would have to wait until our scheduled roof replacement (maybe eight years). The roofer did not have the correct color in stock. We are very unhappy and feel this will impact any future sale. What alternatives do we have?

Monty's Answer: Here is a process to follow. Based on your description of the events, and without the benefit of viewing the repair or completely understanding the HOA's decision, I have a few thoughts:

No. 1: Depending on the original stocking number of the shingle, if it were reordered today, it might not match the faded color of the roof. Was the roofer out of the color of the original stocking number or a color that matched the current roof color?

No. 2: Is the repair visible from the front of the house or the backyard?

No. 3: The size of the repair is unclear. If it is a minor repair on a large roof, many people unaware of the repair location may never see it. How obvious is the repair? The cost goes up with the size of repair.

YOUR NEXT STEPS

No. 1: Assuming the repair stands out like a sore thumb and is a 3-foot square patch, consider going directly to the contractor and obtaining written estimates of what it will cost to remove the current replacement shingles and replace them with shingles that match. You should require a guarantee that the match will not be noticeable. It would be wise to get opinions from two or three roofers. You will get different responses and pricing from most contractors. Also, the contractor may want payment up front if it is a small job. Make sure you have prior customer recommendations before committing to a contractor. Some big-box home improvement companies have a contractor desk and approved vendors, so check them out, as they may stand behind their contractor's work.

 

No. 2: With the estimates now in hand, first, decide if the cost is such that you are willing to replace it at your expense or try to cajole or force the HOA board to correct the problem.

No. 3: Present your solution to the board: Either ask permission to repair it yourself (or they can contract it, and you pay) or ask them to pay. If you ask them to pay, wait until they tell you they will not pay to make a final decision. If they don't want to pay, you can consider hiring an attorney, though that is no assurance that you will win. Consider seeking an attorney's opinion before you go to the HOA board.

The other option is to live with their decision and move on. It may affect a future sale and limit your market, but the major effect for all owners is that some buyers would want to avoid living with that HOA board.

Richard Montgomery is a syndicated columnist, published author, retired real estate executive, serial entrepreneur and the founder of DearMonty.com and PropBox, Inc. He provides consumers with options to real estate issues. Follow him on Twitter(X) @dearmonty or DearMonty.com.

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