Since townhomes share a common roof, how are repairs/replacements handled?

Asked by Larry Walters, Burnsville, MN Wed Feb 6, 2013

Help the community by answering this question:

+ web reference
Web reference:


CondoOwner, Home Buyer, Northwest, Reno, NV
Tue Apr 14, 2015
I am at a loss for how to handle a request for roofing repairs that has been put off by my HOA for 4 months. I first called to alert them of the leak in December, and with few returned phone calls, they did send a roofing company to inspect the damage one month later, but after the report indicated repairs needed to be made, the roofing company has not received authorization to do the work. I recently was able to reach the HOA manager after 7 or so unreturned messages, who told me that the 'Board of Director's had yet to approve the work', and that she would 'really start getting on them'. I feel like this has been put off for too long - what are my options and what are their responsibilities for timely repairs?
0 votes
Caleb Hart, Renter, Orem, UT
Wed Mar 18, 2015
Have you talked to a professional about this? There are a lot of things that the HOA outlines in their bylaws. I wonder if they have said they will handle repairs. Roofers will know if it's you or the association that pays them for that kind of thing.
0 votes
Joel Johnson, Agent, Blomington, MN
Sat Aug 23, 2014
Typically through what the HOA (Homeowners Association) will call a 'replacement reserves' or 'capital reserves' account. A well managed HOA will take a percentage of the monthly HOA dues to fund this account. Otherwise, the unit owners within the HOA may be hit with a one-time special assessment to cover the cost of a new roof - never a good option.
0 votes
davis-partri…, Home Buyer, Provo, UT
Fri Aug 22, 2014
I believe that most of these rules and regulations are governed by the HOA of the community. They should be your first point of contact. My friend needed to make structural repairs to his condo a couple of years ago and he had to run everything by his HOA before beginning any work.
0 votes
Gail Strom, Agent, Apple Valley, MN
Fri Dec 6, 2013
You likely have an HOA that will have governing docs which were set up when the association came into existence. If you already purchased a townhome you will have a copy, somewhere :) Otherwise ask your management company for a fresh set of HOA docs. They will also be able to help you with your questions. If you're considering buying, it's important that you work with a Realtor who has experience with townhomes and HOA units.
Best of luck, Larry.
0 votes
Phyllis McAr…, Agent, San mateo, CA
Tue Apr 23, 2013
You should ask for the governing documents up front. All of the repairs and maintinince issues are cloearly defined. Also, many HOAs have a website, go to that and ask.
0 votes
I agree with Phyllis. One thing in addition is I would recommend calling them directly as opposed to sending an email, or a chat. If you know that your HOA is prompt and responsive to email, that will do, but my experience has taught me that they often get to the requests and questions of callers first. If your roofing repair project is urgent, calling them directly may be a good place to start.
Flag Wed Aug 27, 2014
Tom Sommers, Agent, Lakeville, MN
Tue Apr 23, 2013
It all depends on how the association is set up. The information should be spelled out in your association documents so I would start there. This is typically handled by the management company so you can call them to report any damage.

Good luck,
0 votes
Thomas Drayt…, Home Owner, Saint Paul, MN
Sun Mar 10, 2013
There are a lot of answers below, and the absolute best answer is from Linda Walters. To paraphrase Linda:

Every association is different, do not assume anything is covered. You cannot know until you read the covenants and bylaws.

And Linda's most important fact? "Many agents are misinformed on this point."

I have owned a townhome, and we were responsible for the roof as well as the exterior paint and bricks!

Asking is always the best way to know for sure, and the best way to ask is to go directly to the source.

Thomas Drayton
Keller Williams, Eagan
Web Reference:
0 votes
Susan Hoffla…, Agent, Shoreview, MN
Fri Feb 8, 2013
Hi, Larry!
I LOVE this question. Many people purchasing association maintained property are not aware of how or why the association fees are collected and distributed. There is a portion of your monthly association fee that is collected for what's called "reserves". Those reserve funds are what's used for general maintenance on the building. There's also a hazard insurance policy that would be used to pay for damage caused by events covered in the insurance policy.

In the association fee, you are paying for things you would pay for ANYWAY in a single family home, but you'd just be paying out of pocket for it, rather than in a monthly fee. AND, when purchasing an association maintained property, you have an AGENT who is following protocol in obtaining all of the financial information for you as the BUYER up front!!!

Good luck~
Web Reference:
0 votes
Linda Walters, Agent, Wayne, PA
Thu Feb 7, 2013
Every tonehouse community has different Covenants that were made up when it was first built. These state who is responsible for what expenses. You cannot know without seeing the specific documents for that particular community what is covered. Many agents are misinformed on this point. I have seen townhouse communities where the roof replacement costs were part of the monthly fee, where the community was assessed an amount to replace the roofs and where the homeowners themselves were reposbible for replacing the roofs (using approved shinges, usually).
0 votes
Donald James, Agent, Edina, MN
Wed Feb 6, 2013
Repair / replacement of the roof is handed by the homeowners association (unless damage occurred via act of God, storm, hail, etc.). The association sets aside reserves (money) each month to cover eventual repair / replacement of the roof and building exteriors as covered under the association's by-laws. This can vary from association to association so it is important to review and understand all docs prior to closing.
Web Reference:
0 votes
Christopher…, Agent, Bloomington, MN
Wed Feb 6, 2013
Yup the association pretty much handles all exterior issues so the roof is a very common example. The homeowner takes care of anything inside. Usually on the listing the association has their number on it, so if I ever have questions before a showing (or usually before writing an offer) I call them up.

And as I always like to point out with TH's and FHA buyers make sure that the unit is FHA approved! Maybe the most annoying thing about buying TH's, and why going conventional may be the smart choice.
0 votes
Kevin Goettl, Agent, Apple Valley, MN
Wed Feb 6, 2013
Some associations cover doors and windows and some do not. In Minnesota a buyer has a ten day window in which to review all of the association docs, covenants, restrictions, ammendments and most importantly financials. I worked in one association in Lakeville with quads and the doors and windows were up to the individual unit owners to maintain. I have also sold in one of the largest associations in Burnsville (402 units). One of my F.H.A. buyer used a lender that required the master insurance policy be upgraded. The upgrade was only a little over $100.00 annually but required a majority vote from the seven association board members to pass. Of course this came up during the final hour prior to closing. We were successful in contacting the association board members and abtaining authorization and closed on time.
0 votes
Jeff and Kaye…, Agent, Colorado Springs, CO
Wed Feb 6, 2013
Agreed, it is usually the responsiblity of the Homeowners Association. It can differ depending on your bylaws but it is typical practice for the Association to take repsonsibilty for it.
0 votes
stephen webb…, Agent, Kirkland, WA
Wed Feb 6, 2013
Hi Larry
In most states everything from the inside paint out is the Homeowners Association's responsibility. Most states require a disclosure of the assiociations finacial state be supplied to buyers before they purchase and provides an out for the buyer if the finances look shakey. Informative articles for home buyers at And loan officers available through the Trulia site. Also articles on your road home, Consultation, Interviewing Real Estate Agents. Good Luck
0 votes
Cameron Piper, Agent, Forest Lake, MN
Wed Feb 6, 2013
It will depend solely on the bylaws of the association, but typically a common roof is replaced by the association.

Cameron Piper
Coldwell Banker Burnet
licensed MN Real Estate Broker
Web Reference:
0 votes
Karissa White, Agent, Bloomington, MN
Wed Feb 6, 2013
Hi Larry,

It can differ from complex to complex. Most are handled by the assocaitions insurance company. If you have a question about a specific assocation, let me know and I can find out for you.


Karissa White
0 votes
Search Advice
Ask our community a question
Home Buying in Burnsville Zip Codes

Email me when…

Learn more