Probably a Lawsuit Against the Roofer? Big problem.

This problem is a huge weight on me.

I bought a 5-unit property in June 2007. While it was still in escrow, I happened to drive by and saw roofers on my future property tearing a roof off. I stopped my car–“Stop, you guys, this is my new property and I have to be a part of any roof decisions!” There were giant trucks parked all over the grass with piles of debris everywhere.

It ended with the seller putting the insurance proceeds from the 100% hail-totaled roofs into an escrow account at the Title Company. I negotiated a $10,000 upgrade with the seller’s roofer to have all metal roofs installed instead of the cheap, tacky shingles the seller had contracted for.

Thirteen months later and the roofs are still not completed. One cottage had paper put on twice and suffered rain and mold damage. The roofer gave me drywall and I fixed it,

The main house had paper put on twice. The metal panels were cut wrong. Valleys are not broad enough. Leaks have developed in 2 units. Skylights were caulked with BLACK TAR on the white metal roof. The chimney has inadequate flashing. Water is getting in under the panels. On and on.

I have had the building inspector out there three times. He said, “This is a really sh___ job!” He has documented the deficiencies with several pages of notes, and photographs and sent them a correction notice.

I had 3 other recommended roofing contractors come and bid correcting the roofs. They will not do it. They say everything must be ripped off and new roofs installed. They bid $28,000, $32,000 and the 3rd bid is pending. It will be high too. The cost of metal has gone up.

The new roofers say THEY CANNOT WARRANTY REPAIR, ONLY WARRANTY A NEW ROOF. I will not allow the original roofer to make any corrections as all their work was sub-par. They lied so many times about why it took so long: death in the family, illness, materials stolen, couldn’t get right color, crews didn’t show, etc. The truth was that they got busy building a new sub-division. I must have been to their office a dozen times. We have been through a major monsoon season here with those roofs with unsealed vents, incomplete flashings and missing screws.

Must I allow the original roofing contractor to do his own corrections when the previous work was so shoddy?
They said they would not give any money for a new roof, “Alright, so sue us!” I still owe them $5,000 towards the metal.

What kind of court pressure/lawsuit would not bankrupt me in legal fees but get them to pay for a new roof? Has anyone any experience with this kind of nightmare? Would I get legal fees if I won a lawsuit?


Run it passed the consumer protection division of your state’s AG. They may be able to apply pressure. Otherwise, it’s either an expensive legal battle or walking away. Depending on your state, you may be able to freeze his bank accounts pending the outcome of the case.

Okay, I’ll try the state attorney general’s office for advice. Also I want to call the contractors’ licensing board and the Better Business Bureau. I also have a call in to sit down with a local attorney.
Amazing how much time a problem like this can suck up.


Good luck. Please report back when you have updates.

Maybe a silly question - were they bonded and insured? I believe the reason why you want to work with contractors that are bonded and carry insurance is that you have a recourse for malpractice… If you can document that they did not perform their work according to code/best practices can’t you file a claim?

I may be way off… But I had to ask…

Thank you.

You can take the contractor to court and probably win a judgment. There is no law requiring the contractor to pay the judgment. Collecting a judgment could be expensive and time consuming.

Probably they are bonded and insured because they are a good-sized company. They did hundreds of hail-damaged roofs in this town. Now they are building a sub-division.

How will I get info. on their bonding company if they won’t even give me a copy of the contract with the seller?
Unfortunately, the seller is old and ill and moved out-of-state.

That’s actually a really great tip. I am going to check with the contractors’ licensing board.

I am waiting for an appointment with a local lawyer for a consult.

Dave T,
I think I would definitely win a lawsuit. But that would be so expensive and yes, then I would have the problem of collecting.

I am just forging on trying every avenue. I don’t have a game plan yet, except keep gathering bids and documentation and then press them for funds to finish the roofs.


Is there anything from the contractor that warrants the work for a period of time? If so, then the contractor’s warranty is insured by some insurance carrier and you should be able to make a claim against the contractor’s warranty.

If there is a warranty, you also need to know whether the warranty transfers when the property is sold.

Front page of our local newspaper today: Hotel Fire Caused by Roofing Company!

One of our biggest hotels had to evacuate all guests last night as a fire started on the hotel roof and cause a lot of damage. Yep, the same roofing contractor that I am pursuing.

The hotel is not habitable for 1-2 months. The losses will be huge. This was our most deluxe and high-end hotel in town-3 stories.

This could push that roofer to bankruptcy or? I am still going after them but realizing I may have to pay for repairs myself.


Roofing nightmare update…

I saw an attorney. He recommended that I fax, and send certified a request for them to finish the roof and to contact me within seven days. I did that and they haven’t contacted me.

We figured out that they have caller i.d. so I have to use one of my employee’s cell phones to call them. They won’t pick up if they see my name.

The city Building inspector said that they now have materials liens on 7 homes. The metal supplier has filed a lawsuit for non-payment. The city is going to lift their license soon.

My plan is to quit beating the dead horse. I have a highly recommended roofer who will do repairs for $8500. I still owe the roofer 5 K so I will be out of pocket only the balance. I can probably get a judgment for the repairs, but doubt that I can collect.

This company has imploded. One question–Can the roofer come after me for the $5,000 that was still due on completion? Since he isn’t completing the roofs?


just a question here… the previous owner contracted with them, no? You were brought in “after the fact” so to speak.

Does the previous owner have any liability here for selecting a disreputable company?

As far as anyone knew at the time, it was a reputable company. They did all my other damaged roofs as well, but those were composition shingle. They got Mexican crew subcontractors and did a ton of business.

Today I heard that the hotel losses are 1.5 million. Only one house has sold in the subdivision. Those guys are toast. They over-reached and didn’t stand behind their work.

I’m going to call the building inspector and tell him of their further non-performance. Their license will be lifted. Then I’ll call the contractor’s board, Better Business Bureau, etc. I’ll be out of pocket a few thousand but the nightmare will be over.


Merger doctrine would override liability.

Can you explain “merger doctrine”?

Thanks, Furnishedowner

Ouch! The Merger Doctrine says that any unperformed obligation in the purchase agreement is extinguished when the deed is conveyed!

So the seller has no liability even though he is the one who initially contracted with the incompetent roofing company.

I get it, thanks. I called the city building inspector due to the roofer’s non-response to the correction notice. The inspector is reporting them to the state contractor’s licensing board. This might get attention as they are trying to build a subdivision; they will not have a license to work under. I am going to proceed with roof repair and try to get a judgment for the extra money I have to pay for repairs.