Next Steps for Damage Caused by Roofing Crew

Here’s the backstory. We have a crew here currently roofing our house.

It’s an old 1890s house, so when they tore off everything, we basically had rafters for a roof. They tarped it and then left for three days. During those three days, the tarps blew off multiple times, it snowed/sleeted directly into the attic for several hours. They came back to nail the tarp back on. (Part of it blew off again in the night) The next day all the snow and ice on the tarps was melting into the attic. We couldn’t get ahold of them, and it was a really nice warm day, so not sure where they were. The insulation in the walls got really wet and there’s some water damage to the plaster in one of the rooms.
That was their first three day break.

They came back and most of the roof is completely done now, but half of the front is not done at all, still the tarp and rafter situation. It looks like they tied their harnesses to the boards up there. This is the second day of this break and it’s going to get really cold tomorrow, negative temps. We can’t get ahold of them again. It was nice yesterday and is nice today (upper 30s).

What should the next steps be? Assuming they ever finish. We’re going to have to replace insulation in the walls, do mold mitigation and repair the water damaged room. (Maybe more? We haven’t taken the tarps off the stuff in the attic yet since the roof is still not done). Do we have a contractor quote us for repairs and then charge the roofers? Or take that amount out of our second payment?

Someone I talked to at the roofing company said that the roofers are liable. I think they might have subbed out this job. Lucky us.

Should add that this is a $21,000 job, which is pretty high for the Midwest. We were trying to go with a reputable company since it’s, admittedly, not the easiest job and we wanted it done well.

A $21,000 job, if high, should ensure enough profit is in place to support adequate insurance coverages. Do you have proofs of current insurance in the event mishaps occur? If so, file a claim with your insurance company and they will subrogate the losses to the installers insurance. That’s how it works here in my region of Canada.

Ivoman is right. Get it started now. 21K depends on how many SQ and job scope. Regardless, I always considered a tear off a controlled tornado. Liability for damages is paramount with a good roofer. These guys apparently didn’t care or there was nobody in charge. That tells me that any remedial work done will be inferior at best. How did you determine that the company was reputable?

I went based on their reviews - there were a lot of reviews and most were good. Sounds like I should give my insurance a call then!

Where did you find the reviews? BBB, Angie’s list?

This is a good idea but realize you’re opening a can of worms and should be prepared. Before you call your insurance company, you need to do some footwork. Although this may be uncomfortable, it’s not unreasonable to ask for “proof of insurance” when statements are made that coverages are indeed in force during the duration of the project. It’s normal business on commercial projects, and should be normal for a residential agreement as well. Verify these coverages prior to asking your insurance company to intervene and your hope is to have your insurance go after their insurance. Make sure “their insurance” exists before you send out your team.

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Once you make a call to put it on your policy, it’s listed as a claim on you.( C.L.U.E. list.) One of the worlds largest compilers of data in the world, LexisNexis.

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I used Angie’s List and Google reviews

Those are paid for by the contractor, should be sued for fraud.

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So I need to contact the roofers and get proof of insurance from them? I’m in way over my head here. This is my first house/first time hiring roofers. It’s going great!

If there is a bond, you can claim against that…

Scenario 1: You call your insurance company and they say, “Sure we’ll help out by going after their insurance company, and who might that be?” Do you know?
Scenario 2: There is no insurance in place … now you have a whole other bunch of possibilities to explore. If that’s the case, and they made false claims they were insured. They have little to stand on if this goes legal. Legal is the last thing you want as it seldom yields anything more than resentment.
Scenario 3: All is good and they will have their insurance cover this fiasco and you are on the road to being whole again. All companies make errors … few take steps to make things right. You might be lucky and have chosen well.

Accept this is one of those situations that all of us in the roofing industry hate to see because we all get painted with the same brush. Maybe it’s time for you to take the wheel unless you’re good with them driving the bus?

Question: Would you pay them the contract balance if they finished ?

I guess it would depend on if they are insured, my gut tells me to withhold payment until you have a clear response on what will be done regarding the damages to the home. Seems they did a very poor job of property protection and you stated your trouble getting a hold of them when you really needed them. I would be taking the wheel as Ivoman said.

Do not pay them a dime until your house is fixed. Insured or not doesn’t matter. Just because they have insurance doesn’t mean their insurance is going to cover them. You don’t know if they used uninsured sub and don’t have coverage for that matter as an example. Also, in the insurance world this is what’s called a third party claim… what that means for you is if you go their insurance route… well it’s going to be a process. This isn’t like wrecking your car and getting a check next week. This is a drawn out, pain in the neck process.

Best thing you can do is call your insurance agent and your attorney and follow what they tell you to do. But I agree 100% with others… it’s time to take control.

Thanks guys! I called my insurance to check what options they had and they can’t really do anything as it falls under contractor negligence.

So we’ll start trying to talk to the guys at the office and get a plan for them to pay for someone else to fix the damage. We haven’t paid them yet besides the down-payment (and definitely don’t intend to pay them the full amount), so we will withhold that second payment until we can reach a satisfactory agreement.

Does your contract say they’re bonded and insured, did they pull a permit? If they balk at all, you’d better lawyer up. My commercial liability policy would not cover “negligence”

Not only should you contact your insurance company you should contact an attorney. This kind of negligence may be enough to justify not giving them a chance to cure as it is beyond preposterous. As for the crew being liable that is not true. They company you contracted is liable to you, they can then go after the sub crew for their costs to you.

I would send them a letter demanding the roof be completed immediately and the interior repairs be completed by a contractor who does that work, not the roofers. When they fail to comply you hire another company to do it right and charge the contractor.

The contractor’s insurance is responsible for damage caused by negligence and weather but depending on the policy this degree of gross negligence may not be covered.

As long as your homeowners policy covers you in this event they will sue the contractor or their insurance company if need be but the contractor or their insurance company are the ones who should be paying to correct the mistakes. An attorney will tell you what the firsts step should be and a letter from one may be all it takes to get the contractor to get their act together.

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Darkthirty, you are correct. Back this summer, I waited on a contractor to complete an addition to a home, so we could replace the whole roof. They didn’t dry the home in and it poured in the house. State farm came out and denied the claim because the contractor was negligent. That was the first time I actually was on a job, to see a negligence claim.
And yes, the contractor was a homeadvisor listed guy, who never came back.

There are also exclusions on policies regarding making a reasonable attempt to dry a building in. I have it on mine. If we don’t at least attempt a dry in I have no coverage. I purposely accepted the terms to save a few bucks with a good carrier. The reason being, we NEVER leave at the end of day without being covered with at least underlayment even if there is no rain from here to Japan. If things go sideways with unforeseen woodwork then we may resort to a tarp but this happens, at most, a few times per year. If our underlay or tarp blew off we would have coverage. We quit tearing off a couple hours before end of the day and dry every job in every day.