Most homeowners associations (HOAs) have the neighborhood’s best interest at heart. If there’s a crack in the road, they’ll fix it. Someone keeps parking in your driveway? They’re going to handle it. But sometimes, your friendly neighborhood HOA might ask you to fix something on your house to make it more attractive for the neighborhood. And that something can sometimes be a big investment, like replacing your roof.
Your HOA usually does have a legal right to regulate the exterior appearance of your house—according to your neighborhood bylaws. They can request you repair or replace your roof whenever it falls into disrepair. If you HOA tells you to get roof work done, here’s what you should do.
Step 1: Contact a Local Roofing Expert
The second you get that letter from your HOA, call a local roofing professional. Your HOA might want you to get an entire roof replacement, but they’re not experts. A simple repair might be all you need to get your roof looking nice again for a lot less money.
Getting a roof inspection will give you valuable insight on what’s actually going on above your head, so you can make a more informed decision about how to proceed. If the roofer says, “yep, time for a replacement,” perhaps it’s time to make the investment. If they say you only need a few shingles replaced, you should have a discussion with your HOA.
Step 2: Communicate with the HOA
No matter which decision you land on, it’s essential to stay in constant communication with your HOA. Leaving them out of the loop or ignoring them altogether is a recipe for disaster.
Once your inspector gives you the good news (hopefully), present your case to the HOA at the next board meeting. Explain what the inspector said and your proposed solution. Remember, the HOA is only concerned about home values, so try to come up with a solution that everyone can live with.
For example, if the HOA requests you install a brand-new roof but the inspector said only a few shingles were bad, suggest replacing the damaged shingles with new ones that are an exact match. They’ll make your house look like new again, and you won’t have to spend thousands on a new roof.
Step 3: Ask for an Extension
When an HOA demands alterations to your house, they typically give you a deadline to finish the work. For something as simple as repainting a mailbox, it’s not a big deal; you could knock that out in a few hours. But when it’s something as extensive (and expensive) as replacing your roof, it might take some time to find the right contractor and get the funding in order.
If you explain the circumstances and provide a reasonable timeline, the HOA could give you an extension to get the work done.
Step 4: If Necessary, Get Legal Help
Unfortunately, HOA demands aren’t always reasonable. If the inspector says you need only a couple minor repairs and you’ve presented a solid plan to the HOA board but they’re still requesting a complete roof replacement, it might be time to get some legal help.
Reaching out to an attorney will help you determine if you have any legal discourse to fight an unreasonable HOA action. If you can prove that other roofs in the neighborhood are in worse repair than yours, you might be able to save on a complete roof replacement and make a few repairs instead.
If you make it to this stage of the process (which, hopefully you won’t), get all the information you need quickly. Most HOAs are able to file a lien against your property if you don’t comply with the demands in time.
Get the Roofing Help You Need
Dealing with your HOA isn’t always the most enjoyable experience, but in the end, they’re just looking out for your neighborhood.
If you’re asked to make roof repairs or get an entire roof replacement, call for a roof inspection right away. If it turns out you only need a few minor repairs, great! Present a new plan to your HOA board and save a few dollars. If you do, in fact, need a roof replacement, you’ll already have a professional on hand to get started right away. Either way, you’re already a step ahead of the problem!
Cloise & Mike Construction has been helping Seattle-area homeowners keep their properties in pristine condition for over 20 years. We understand the needs of local neighborhoods and can help you with everything from inspections and repairs to entire roof replacements. Contact us if your HOA is requiring any type of roof work. It always helps to have a professional on your team!