As a landlord, you’re responsible for the habitability of your rental property. Yet, it can be difficult to juggle serious repairs if you have tenants. What should you do if you have to do something serious, such as replace the roof of your home?
Does the Roof Need an Immediate Repair or Replacement?
What constitutes an emergency? Do you need to immediately replace the roof? In general, roofing is an issue of habitability. If the roof’s condition means that the property is no longer safe to live in, it’s your responsibility as the landlord to replace it. If you don’t replace it, your tenant may start withholding rent (and paying it into an escrow account) or file a complaint with housing authorities, which could result in an official investigation.
If a roof is leaking, you likely need to get it fixed or replaced. A leaking roof may eventually lead to mold and mildew, which can be a health concern. Mold, mildew, and other consequences of roof leaks may result in costly damages to both your property and your tenant’s.
If a roof is structurally damaged, it needs to be replaced or repaired immediately. It could present a danger to the occupants.
However, if a roof is simply old and coming up on being replaced, that doesn’t mean you need to replace it immediately. You can wait until the current lease is up and then complete the repairs before signing another lease. An old roof by itself is not an issue of habitability unless the roof is damaged to the point where it could become a danger.
Contact Your Insurance Company
As a landlord, you should have a “Landlord’s Policy.” This is a type of homeowners insurance policy that is specifically targeted towards landlords. If your roof recently experienced damage, it’s likely that your insurance company will cover that damage. Part of that damage includes the fact that the tenants won’t be able to stay in the home while the roof is being replaced or repaired.
If you have coverage, it may come in two forms. If you have current tenants, the insurance company may be able to pay the tenants to procure temporary housing while the repair is completed.
If you are between tenants, the insurance company may pay you for the lost rent that you’ll experience by not being able to rent out the property during the upcoming repairs. Either way, your insurance company can help.
Renters should be encouraged to contact their renters insurance in the event that any of their own property was damaged, as their own renters insurance policy is likely to cover this.
Notify the Tenants of the Repair or Replacement
If the roof does need to be replaced or repaired, your tenants will need to be notified and accommodations will have to be made for them. If it’s something your insurance company covers, the insurance company will handle this.
However, if it’s something that you need to take care of financially yourself, you may need to pay for your tenant’s accommodations out of pocket at least while the repairs or replacement is completed. Once the work has been done on the property, your tenants can resume their lease. If the repairs will take a significant amount of time, you might consider paying your tenants to end their lease early.
Installing a new roof is a fairly serious repair, and it’s possible that a tenant may need to move out temporarily while it’s being completed. However, the repair doesn’t have to take long. Plan things in advance so that you can complete the repair with fairly minimal disruption. Contact the experts at SUNVEK to learn more.