L.B. from New Haven County writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I am looking for a great lawyer for not getting proper maintenance of my roof as every few years I keep getting damage from ice damming in the same spot.
Mister Condo replies:
L.B., I am sorry for your ice damming woes. It seems every winter my Inbox fills up with messages from condo residents like you who seem to get dealt a nasty blow every time winter deposits snow and ice on roofs that end up clogging gutters with ice dams and them flooding and damaging units as the ice melts and the water seeps in. An attorney may be able to help you but what is really called for are the services of a building engineer and a cooperative Board to take the necessary actions.
Ice dams are generally the end result of a poorly thought out winter drainage system. There are many factors, including building insulation and more that go into the ice dam creation. Here in the Northeast, we are going to get snow and cold weather every winter; that’s a fact. So it is important that our buildings are constructed with the knowledge that a beautiful-looking roof in the summer isn’t enough to t prevent ice damming in the winter. Attic space that isn’t properly insulated can cause just enough heat leakage to melt snow and ice and set up an ice dam as the water refreezes when it hits the gutter. Heated gutters, heated roofs, aggressive salting of roofs, roof rakes and more may all be needed as part of the solution. An attorney can’t do all of that for you but if you feel you need to sue the Board to get them to take action, you can certainly consult with one. You might even want to speak with your insurance company (the company that holds your homeowners insurance) to see if they will work with your Board to help prevent future ice damming and claims for damage inside of your unit.
The bottom line is that unless your Board takes corrective action to address the situation, you will likely be involved in a long battle with winter. It will be inconvenient and difficult. If you can bring the players together to take proactive steps at fixing or, at least, minimizing, the ice damming, I am confident that you can better manage the problem. All the best!
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