How to Address a Leaking Roof with Your Tenants

By Mark Soto 07-06-2022
QUICK SHARE
Tag Icon

Part of being a landlord is ensuring your tenant's home has adequate living conditions. Depending on its severity, a leaking roof could be a true emergency.

Navigating this situation can be tricky for landlords. You want to fix the problem as soon as possible-but without disrupting your tenant's living situation. Here is a helpful process to follow to ensure everything runs smoothly when dealing with a roof leak, whether in a residential home or a commercial building.

The First Contact

Chances are your tenant will reach out to let you know about the roof leak. First, you'll need to investigate where the leak is coming from, as the issue may not be coming from the roof. Once you determine the source of the leak, you can figure out how severe the issue is. If you see water stains on the interior walls, stains on the ceiling if you are on a top floor, or curled shingles on the outside, the problem is worth fixing, but it doesn't necessarily constitute an emergency. If water is spilling to the floor or there is a large number of missing or damaged shingles on the roof, you may have an emergency on your hands.

It's best to go to the property and analyze the problem yourself. One common tenant complaint is that many landlords take too long to make repairs, so explain your next steps to reassure the tenant that you're addressing the issue.

How to Handle Fixes

After determining the current state of the roof leak, find out the best way to get it fixed. Contact your insurance company to file a claim, notify the roof manufacturer if there is a warranty, and start your search for a licensed contractor. Although some insurance companies have their own preferred contractors, you can also make your own choice. After a contractor reviews the roof damage, ask them for an estimate of the amount of work and time required to repair the leaking roof.

Depending on the work needed, there is a chance your tenant may not be able to stay in the home while repairs take place. This is where a good landlord's insurance policy kicks in and why you want to ensure you have one. The liability costs are much higher with commercial tenants, so be careful to choose the right commercial roofer to fix the leaking roof quickly and correctly.

Look over your landlord's insurance policy to determine what options you can offer tenants and what your responsibilities are. You may need to provide them with temporary housing, which can include a hotel room or other accommodation, while you get the roof repaired. If their business needs to close down, you might be liable for temporary pay depending on your contract.

How to Talk to Your Tenant

Once you've settled on your contractor and what options are available, communicate clearly with your tenant about the situation. Repairing or completely replacing the roof isn't a short or noiseless project, so it's crucial that tenants have an exact idea of how long it will take and whether they can stay on the premises as it takes place.

Be honest about the state of the roof and the possible timeline for repairs. Residential tenants may need to make arrangements for other accommodation if they can't stay, and businesses may need to let their customers know about any disruptions. Have an idea of what you can offer tenants if there are disruptions to their living accommodations or business closures due to the roof leak and repair time. The better prepared you are when discussing with them, the more reassured and accommodated they'll feel about the situation.

You want to ensure the roof leak is fixed for good to prevent future issues, and the best way to do that is to hire a quality licensed contractor that knows what they're doing. Click here to find a contractor certified by GAF* in your area.


*Contractors enrolled in GAF certification programs are not employees or agents of GAF, and GAF does not control or otherwise supervise these independent businesses. Contractors may receive benefits, such as loyalty rewards points and discounts on marketing tools from GAF for participating in the program and offering GAF enhanced warranties, which require the use of a minimum amount of GAF products. Your dealings with a Contractor, and any services they provide to you, are subject to the Contractor Terms of Use.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Soto is a freelance writer from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He has comprehensive knowledge of home improvement projects based on his previous work. Mark comes from a family of DIYers and has worked with landscapers, plumbers, painters and other contractors. He also writes about camping and his enthusiasm for the outdoors.
Don't miss another GAF RoofViews post!
LATEST UPDATES
You can change the world by helping your neighbor, and the folks at JF Lopez Roofing are living proof. In partnership with the GAF Habitat for Humanity Contractor program, the company - based in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin - pledged what it calls the Legacy 100: the goal of installing 100 roofs on Habitat for Humanity homes over 10 years. With roof number 55 completed by the close of 2022 and more slated for 2023, these roofing heroes are already more than halfway there.
Ventilation is defined by the U.S. Department of Energy as "the exchange of indoor and outdoor air." This sounds simple enough, but if your home's attic is not properly ventilated, excess heat and moisture cannot escape and can lead to a plethora of concerns for your home, your roof, and your wallet.
Think that your roof doesn't need protection against hail? Think again. Severe hail events are increasing in geographic footprint and are no longer just in hail alley. The geographic region that experiences 1 inch or larger hailstones has expanded to be nearly two-thirds of the United States. Nearly 10 percent more U.S. properties, more than 6,8 million, were affected by hail in 2021 than in 2020. Coinciding with the increase in properties affected by a damaging hail event in 2021, there was also an increase in insurance claims, which rose to 16 $.5 billion from 14 $.2 billion in 2020.
To get a firsthand account of what it's like to be a roofer, GAF spoke with Trenton Wisecup, president of Arrow Roofing Services in Michigan, and David Laurain, Arrow Roofing's vice president, to learn about their experiences in the roofing industry.
Historically, commercial skylights have gotten a bad rap. "The old joke was: 'if it's not leaking now, it will be soon,'" says Brian Grohe, a 13-year vet of the skylight industry and a commercial sales manager at industry leader VELUX. Fortunately, technology has changed that old tune for the better, turning commercial skylights into a golden opportunity for roofing contractors.
Around the globe, excess heat collects in urban areas and can contribute to increased heat-related death and illness, diminished quality of life, and reduced economic opportunities. Such areas are known as "urban heat islands." Fortunately, cooling strategies are now available and being used in initiatives like the GAF Cool Community project to help mitigate urban heat island effects. Such cooling strategies are supported by products such as such as GAF StreetBond® pavement coatings with Invisible Shade™ - named by TIME magazine as one of its Best Inventions of 2022.
This blog contains information created by a variety of sources, including internal and third party writers. The opinions and views expressed do not necessarily represent those of GAF. The content is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute financial, accounting, tax or legal advice. GAF does not guarantee the accuracy, reliability, and completeness of the information. In no event shall GAF be held responsible or liable for errors or omissions in the content or for the results, damages or losses caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on the content.

Interested in sharing or republishing our content? We kindly ask you to adhere to our guidelines.