Taking care of a rental property’s roof poses a few challenges since you can’t always just climb up there and check things out. As a landlord, you have a legal responsibility to provide your tenants with a safe and habitable property in exchange for their rent, and the roof is one of your first lines of defense against damage to a building. A faulty roof can quickly escalate to water leaks, mold and mildew growth and weakened building materials. These can all put your tenants’ health in jeopardy. Knowing when to replace the roof before it starts to fail can save you serious headaches down the road.
In most cases, the roof on a rental property might need to be replaced more often than you would one on a person’s permanent home. This is because you may not be able to control how well or often the residents perform essential maintenance tasks that protect the roof from harm. For example, a tenant that allows tree branches to grow too close to the roof sets up a situation where the shingles could get damaged. Some tenants might also not report small issues as soon as possible such as a missing shingle. Educating your tenants about the importance of roof care can help to delay the need for a replacement. Even with perfect tenants, you’ll still want to keep the age of the roof in consideration when you make your judgment. Typically, you can expect a roof to be replaced after so many years depending upon the materials that are used on property.
•Asphalt shingles-15 to 25 years
•Composition shingles-12 to 20 years
•Metal roofs-50 to 75 years
•Wood shingles-20 to 25 years
Keep in mind that these are just averages. A roof might need to be replaced sooner if it is subjected to extreme weather on a regular basis or if it is made from a second layer of shingles on top of a previous set.
Know the Signs of a Roof That Needs Replacement
Ideally, you should make sure to inspect the roof between tenants. You can also work with your current renters to find a good time for a yearly inspection that lets you know when the roof needs replacement. Most tenants appreciate having a landlord that is proactive about protecting their property from water damage or an unexpected roofing emergency. You can also request that your tenants report any noticeable damage right away. For example, they should feel comfortable reaching out if they notice a water leak during a rainstorm. If you live near the property, then you might be able to sight damage as you drive by.
A roofing with missing or damaged shingles might need to be completely replaced if the damage has existed through a rainstorm or two. This is because the damage can extend below the surface into the underlying roofing materials. If you see curling shingles or ones that are missing a large amount of granules, then you can safely assume that they will no longer keep rain from potentially coming into the house. In some cases, you might also see rotting wood along the fascia and soffit. This is a sign that the roof damage is beginning to cause other problems with the structural integrity of the building. From a distance, you might also notice mold or mildew growth on the roof that indicates a high level of moisture has existed there for a long period of time. Noting any signs of damage is a warning that you need to arrange for a professional inspection that lets you know for sure if it is time to replace the entire roof or a few pieces of the roofing materials.
Do you need help with keeping a rental property roof in good condition? Give us a call! We regularly perform roofing services for landlords and property managers that keep tenants safe. Call 913-850-6556