Managing Duplex Roof Repairs When Two Parties Own the Duplex

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“I own one half of a duplex in the State of Maryland and I have tennants.  After cleaning our gutters, we observed that the roof on the other half of the duplex had shingles missing and was in bad need of repair (this was at least 2 years ago).  We verbally notified the owner. Yesterday, we had the gutters professionally cleaned and the workers said the roof has many shingles missing, the whole roof is wavy and the shingles are in bad need of repair. My question is do we, as owners of one side of a duplex have any rights to have the owner of the other side of the duplex makes repairs to his own roof?  Our tenants said during a hard rain they can hear water dripping on the other side of the duplex. We are afraid his side is going to mildew/mold and fall down and cause our property to decrease in value.”

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

You didn’t mention what the other owner said when you notified them, which I take as a bad sign.  Still, you might want to try talking to them first.  Roofs are something that needs replacing every so often, so it shouldn’t come as that big a surprise to them.

It might help to mention (even if it’s not strictly true) that your insurance company is concerned about the risk of mold and water damage.

Failing that, you may be in a situation where you should consult a local attorney, because you’re getting into some fairly complicated (and, therefore, expensive) areas of the law of neighboring landowners. You can probably, in the end, force your neighbor to replace the roof, but find out how much it’s likely to cost before you jump into that one.  You may find you prefer to have the attorney just send a letter.



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Author: House Attorney

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