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Patch or Repair? The Eternal Question Catches Up to a Co-op with a Roof Leak

Steven Troup in Board Operations on December 25, 2012

New York City

Patch or Repair Roof
Dec. 25, 2012

It was about six months later, during a massive storm. Water again penetrated the roof into the apartment, causing substantial damage to the shareholder's improvements and personal property. The board shortly thereafter completed a long-planned roof replacement. The roof is now leak-free. However, the unit-owner has sued the board for damages to the apartment caused by that leak.

Legal Lesson

Patching a roof is obviously not as good as replacement. Since the replacement project had long been planned, thus demonstrating that the board was aware that the existing roof had weakness(es), it would have been better to await the replacement rather than patching before authorizing the construction to begin. However, the co-op board had tried to accommodate a new shareholder's desire to move in as quickly as possible.

Hindsight is, of course, 20-20. The board is insured, and may or may not have recourse against the contractor who performed the patch job, but the litigation creates additional expenses and diverts attention from more positive things that a co-op or condo board might be looking at.


Steven Troup is a partner at Tarter Krinsky & Drogin.

Photo by Carol Ott

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