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A townhouse roof covers more than one person's dwelling and is owned mainly by landlords and organizations. As a result, you might need clarification about who should take responsibility for roof repairs if you live in a townhouse. You probably aren't sure whether a cooperative or HOA (homeowner's association) will foot the bill or if you and your neighbors need to share the account among yourselves.

If you live in a townhouse and you're wondering who should perform the roof repairs, this article is for you. Before we go into that, here's an overview of some critical things concerning a townhouse.

What is a Townhouse?

This can be a dwelling in any city, but it's usually used in describing a style of multi-floor homes sharing the same walls with nearby properties. Each property has its entrance and other unique features, like the backyard and a small front lawn. Townhouses are designed for urban and high-density environments with narrow and tall silhouettes.

This housing style first originated in Paris and London in the 1600s, after which it became widely adopted worldwide. Today, you can find them in different cities, on the outskirts, and in suburban areas.

Differences between a townhouse, condo, and an apartment

Townhouses describe a housing style characterized by the physical attachment of neighboring properties. The ownership of this type of housing usually takes different forms.

Based on historical records, townhouses in most cities are independently owned dwellings. However, it's important to note that a townhouse can also be a condo, especially when it is part of a condominium community with planned-unit development or other associated rights.

Condos are available in different styles today, including single-floor apartments and multi-story townhouses. On the other hand, apartments are used to describe living units within a larger building or complex. They are primarily a single-story series of rooms that can be rented or owned.

Benefits of buying a townhouse

Here are some of the benefits of buying a townhouse:

  • Cost: Townhouses are generally less expensive to buy than many other types of properties. Moreover, they offer more space close to cities, and you only need to pay for the house, not the surrounding space. The homeowner's insurance that comes with townhouses is also generally cheaper.
  • Maintenance: Because townhouses have smaller sizes, they mostly require less maintenance, unlike more significant properties. In cases where there's an HOA, they may handle the exterior maintenance of the property.
  • Amenities: Townhouses usually have amenities like a clubhouse, gym, and pool, especially when built as part of a development.
  • Outdoor space: Unlike apartments, townhouses have easier access to a private outdoor space, and in some cases, they come with a private garage.

While these are the benefits of owning a townhouse, it's important to note that there are a few disadvantages to owning a townhouse. One of the common problems is noise pollution, which is a result of the close proximity to neighbors, especially those you share walls with.

Who is Responsible for Townhouse Roof Repairs?

Does the townhouse have an HOA?

To determine who is responsible for roof repairs in a townhouse, one of the first questions is whether an HOA governs the townhouse or if it's like a condominium governed by a cooperative. HOAs usually collect fees from the townhome owners, and they are fully responsible for maintenance tasks, especially outdoor maintenance like roofing, snow removal, and landscaping.

However, it's important to note that the HOA won't be responsible for every property maintenance aspect. To confirm the part they will cover, you'll need to refer back to your agreement, and here, you can determine whether they are responsible for roof repairs.

In some cases, the HOA may be reluctant to pay for the commercial roof repairs, even though it's their responsibility.

However, there are many legal approaches that you can take to solve this problem and request that the HOA performs its obligation. There are also cases where you perform the repairs yourself and charge the HOA for these repairs. However, you must first consult with your attorney to confirm whether you can recoup your costs before you do the repairs yourself.

Does the townhouse have tenants?

Another question you might want to ask is whether or not the townhouse has tenants. For townhouses with a landlord that collects rent from the tenants, the roof repairs are the landlord's responsibility. Sometimes, the landlord might argue that the tenant caused damage to the roof.

For instance, when the tenant stood on the roof to dive into a pool, the shingles got damaged during the process. In such an instance, the landlord may recoup the repair cost from the tenant by seeking legal action.

With that, it is clear that the landlord will still make the payment for the roof before seeking a refund from the tenant. As mentioned earlier, it's advisable to always contact your attorney for legal advice on the best line of action to take.

What about individually owned townhouses?

There are also cases where there's no single organization to take responsibility for the townhouse. Every unit within the townhouse is individually owned by the people living there. Remember that the roof is all over the entire building, and damage to one portion could adversely affect other parts of the house.

This type of situation is somewhat complex and could be confusing. However, what you should note is that you're responsible for only the roof repairs that are directly above your unit. Also, you may be responsible for repairing the damage to the roof on other units if it resulted from damages from your unit.

This can be a challenging case to prove, and collecting repair costs from neighbors may be rather tricky. For a roof replacement, you may even need to split the cost based on how much roof each unit owns. It's advisable to carry out roof replacement or roofing installation for the entire building at once rather than to do it in segments.

This is to ensure that the flashings and shingles match each other and that the job is stress-free. The process of determining who is responsible for roofing the townhouse is generally a complex one. However, by consulting an experienced roofer, and a trustworthy attorney, you can easily navigate the process and determine who should pay for the roof.

How extensive is the roof damage?

As mentioned earlier, if the townhouse is owned by a homeowner association, they may be responsible for the repair. However, if their agreement does not cover roof repair, the responsibility will fall on you.

For such cases, you may be lucky to get cover under the homeowner's insurance, especially in a case where a natural disaster or other uncontrollable catastrophes caused the damage. In a case where the roof wears and tears as a result of advanced age, you may need to start planning for a roof replacement.

It's not advisable to neglect the roof to the point that it starts to cause leakage and damage to your property's belongings. The need to perform regular roof maintenance cannot be overemphasized. Always talk to a roofing professional to seek guidance on the right thing to do.

When to Call a Roof Repair Pro?

Whenever you notice damage on the roof of your unit, it's advisable to act fast and call a roof repair professional. Roof repair professionals are fully licensed, insured, and bonded.

They will assess the damage to your townhouse roof and determine the repair cost while ensuring you're aware of the townhouse roof repair procedure. It's advisable to get the roof damage fixed before it gets out of hand. Waiting longer could lead to other problems like molds, weakened structures, and leaks.

The mold growth on the property could also trigger additional health concerns for tenants, like pneumonia. So, don't wait for things to get out of hand; contact a professional roofing contractor for all your roofing needs.

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