Q&A – What does the timeline for fixing a leaking apartment roof look like?

Q&A – What does the timeline for fixing a leaking apartment roof look like?
November 26, 2023 at 12:00 p.m.

Working with a landlord to fix damage in an apartment can be challenging and frustrating for all parties. Mark reached out to our experts for some advice for handling a ceiling leak.

A ceiling leak is a nightmare, and struggles with a landlord were just the cherry on top for Mark and their partner. They were happy to work something out with the landlord, but were nervous about whether the repair schedule would beat the forecast of rain. So, they asked for an outside opinion on the timeline, saying:

New York's rain on Friday caused parts of my ceiling to collapse. My partner and I have had problems with the landlord before. We forgave them because they tended to be responsive. We chalked up any problems to mild incompetence. We were furious because of what happened on Friday. We negotiated our way out of the two-year lease we signed. The negotiations were not pleasant, but both sides got some of what they wanted. We were told by the building manager that they would repair the ceiling on Monday. Well, when we came back from work, we saw that nothing was fixed. We were told this was because parts of the ceiling were still "damp." No fixes could be installed. They promised to fix all of the damage on Wednesday. I doubt this is true, but we were able to sign a new lease, and will be out very soon. Unfortunately, it's going to rain again in three days. I'm not confident that the landlord will fix anything. Are they trying to pull one over me? Are they just stupid? Can a problem like this be fixed by Friday? Pic attached of the worst damage. There is more, but it isn't as bad.

Our roofing expert, Al of Elite Roofing responded, saying:

First, everything completely depends on the type of roof that Mark has, as the answers to his questions can vary based on the roof type! Also, it depends on where exactly the leak is coming in from. Keep in mind, the rainstorm that we had on Friday was a very heavy wind-driven rain, which in this case reveals some issues that sometimes aren't even from the roof. Although the roof itself can be the most obvious factor when it comes to leaks, wind-driven rain can easily enter any openings in the roof, siding, coping walls, windows, etc.

In terms of making any interior and exterior repairs, we'd first suggest that Mark and his landlord allow the interior ceiling to dry out before making any repairs, as leaving the insulation and sheetrock damp can lead to issues with mold. We would also recommend leaving this area open until Mark's landlord is able to identify the source of the leak, as it is very possible this leak can come back if not assessed properly, leading to yet another interior repair. Again, because of the wind-driven rain that we had this past Friday, it is very possible that it may not even be the roof, but various roofing technologies, such as an infrared thermal scan, would help to identify the source of the leak, and where the water may be traveling to/from. We hope this helps!

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