They Won’t Replace Their Old Roofs, What Can We Do?

Q. I live in a small community in Naples with a Homeowners Association with 38 attached villas.  The roofs on the units are original and we do not have roof reserves.   Many of the owners understand the need and necessity for a new roof and have replaced their roof; however, others are refusing to do so.   The problem that confronts us now is that homeowners are having their hurricane insurance cancelled because of the aged roofs and can’t convince the attached unit owner of the importance of a new roof.  Is there any action that can be taken by the individual homeowner or the HOA to make it mandatory for the adjoining unit to also replace their roof when the adjoining unit has had their insurance policy or part of the policy cancelled?

A. This problem in HOA’s can occur when the HOA documents are not drafted or amended properly. Your villas are physically organized like condominiums, where the owners are sharing common walls and a roof. If your community was organized as a condominium, the association would have responsibility for the roofs and there would be reserves in place to repair the roofs when they fail. However, I am assuming that each owner in your HOA is responsible for his or her own roof under the HOA documents and that the documents are inadequate with respect to maintenance and repairs.   If the documents were drafted property, there would be language allowing the HOA to step in and make the necessary repairs if an owner failed to maintain the roof, particularly if there was damage to other villas. You should have an attorney review the HOA documents to determine what remedies you may have. Perhaps there is language allowing the HOA or an individual villa owner to pursue another owner who does not maintain his villa or otherwise causes damage or harm to other owners. I would also recommend that your HOA Board meet with its legal counsel to discuss necessary document amendments so that this problem does not continue.

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