Need advice re roofing fiasco


Back in May of 2006, we had our house in Olympia, Washington, reroofed by a local roofing company with 40 year composite for around $8k. They came with good recommendations and seemed to have done a good job on our roof. About 3 weeks ago, we noticed water dripping through the drywall just inside the main entrance of the house. We called the roofing company's number in hopes of arranging a repair of the leaking roof. We were shocked to get another roofing business, who said that they had recently bought the business from the roofing company we did business with. They said that they were not responsible for the work of the previous roofing business. We then called the cell number we were given by the original roofing company owner. A child answered and said that her father was in jail and no longer in the roofing business. Subsequent calls to the cell number only got an automated message saying that the cell memory was full and could not take any more messages.
Besides hiring another roofing company to fix the leak, what can we do? Is there any way to have the repair done by the original roofing company or at least have them pay for the repair? Can we take him to small claims court? Should we involve our home insurance company? Thanks for any advice or suggestions.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Personally I would contact an attorney and take advantage of a free consultation.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

couple of reputable roofers to come over, inspect the roof, tell you what the problem is and how much it's going to cost to fix it. There are two extremes of possibilities. One is it's a minor problem localized to the one area. The other is the whole roof was done incorrectly.
If it's the former, then I'd just get it fixed, pay for it myself and forget about it. If it's the latter, then you may want to take the advice of consulting a lawyer. But I would not put more than a couple hundred bucks into any legal option. If you decide to go the legal route, you're going to find the only viable option will be to have it fixed, then take the new company to small claims. Otherwise the legal fees will exceed what it's worth; you don't know that you will win. A lawyer can give you advice as to whether the new company is liable or not. My understanding is that if they in fact bought the business, then they are responsible for any warranties that were given. Did you get one? Is the problem due to a defect covered by any warranty, or could it be attributed to something else, say a windstorm, or gutters backing up? The other possibilities are that only the assets of the business were sold, ie his truck, ladders, etc. Or that nothing was sold, he just has calls forwarded to his buddy. In those cases, they are generally not liable. And of course, trying to figure out and then prove which it is ain't easy either.
And then comes the biggest problem of all. Even if you get a judgement in small claims court, collecting it is a different matter. Many of these guys are judgement proof. They have assets like homes, vehicles, etc in someone elses name and you will have a very hard time getting them to pay. Lots of times they don't even show up in court, because they know this.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
check first if its minor issue.
contact shingle manufacturer, they may be able to help.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
tenplay wrote:

Just curious, is there anything on paper stating a labor warranty of any kind? If so I would think the new company will have some liability and if they balk then, the states attorney generals office could probably help.
Lar
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sun, 11 Mar 2007 09:50:45 -0500, Lar wrote:

No need for an express warranty. The implied warranty and warranty for fitness would be good enough. As for the new company being liable, it depends on how the companies were set up (partnership or corporation?).
--
When you\'re in it up to your ears, keep your mouth shut!

snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
tenplay wrote:

Lost of interesting possibilities in the situation .. one or both owners sole prop. or incorporated? If B bought the business from A, along with equipment and accounts receiveable, he may also have "bought" your warranty. Got a written warranty? Written bid that might include wording about corrections?
But, the most immediate issue is your leak. You might want to check with the shingle mfg. to see if they have certified roofers in your area, then call one to get a written bid on correcting the problem. Have you inspected close up, in and out, to see what the problem might be? Is there a window above the leak? Valleys or chimney nearby that might have flashing problems? Did the leak show up after a severe storm? Any rain since?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

If the new company "bought the business" then the new company acquired the liabilities, IMO. I think you have a very solid claim despite their initial blow-off.
If they bought the assets (i.e. not the liabilities) you'll be on more questionable ground.
Try and find out what the new company really bought and file a suit in small claims court.
IANAL
--
|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~|
| Malcolm Hoar "The more I practice, the luckier I get". |
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

1) Contact the new company. Tell them you intend to repair the leak and have the rest of the roof checked to make sure it is an isolated problem rather than a faulty install that will require extensive repairs. Ask what they are prepared to do in this regard. Make careful notes. If nothing, then move to 2).
2) Get the leak repaired. Check that it is an isolated circumstance -- and not a major flaw in the roofing job. Get two opinions if one says it's a major flaw. Get quotes.
3) If it turns out to be a small repair, do it -- and forget it.
4) Otherwise, contact your local licensing department ...and if there is a state licensing/consumer protection agency, contact them. Follow their advice, particularly in regard to the transferof business from one company to another.
It's possible the original contractor was required to post a bond and to maintain that bond. If so, you can claim against it. If not, you're probably S.O.L. My bet would be that he was required to post a bond, but didn't.
The legalities are expensive to pursue. There are circumstances under which the new company would be liable, but they are uncommon among smallerbusinesses. Again, your state agency can advise.
Your best hope is that it is a small, isolated problem. At 8 thousand dollars total, your problem is not worth a lawyer's time.
Ken
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
tenplay wrote:

Thanks for all the excellent advice. We are fortunate to have been able to track down the original roofing company owner and talk with him on the phone. He apologized and said that, when he is down in our area this weekend to visit his mother, he will fix the leak. Evidently he has moved up to Seattle and works up there. But he is responsible enough to see to the repairs of his earlier work. Of course we will be holding our breath until he actually shows up to do the work.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Well good news atleast, however please post the final out come. I like stories of contractors holding up their end.
thx,
tom @ www.Consolidated-Loans.info
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.