Unusual headache for homeowners: a couple owns a half maisonette, the roof is leaking on the neighbor’s side, and water is pouring into the side. What is being done about it? Nothing that they called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
Owning a home can come with some hurdles. Owning half a duplex can almost guarantee a headache.
Tiffany Swartz: “I feel like I’m on a sinking ship that, to be honest, we just can’t get out of.”
After James and Tiffany bought this side of the duplex in 2007, they had to replace their part of the roof, and their neighbor had to replace his side too.
Tiffany Swartz: “Every time it rained, all of his floor in the house would flood the whole thing, so …”
But their neighbor wouldn’t fix their site, and you don’t have to be a roofer to know what happens when part of a building leaks.
Tiffany Swartz: “It’s coming on our side, so we had to start shoveling the water on our side and, you know, towels and everything.”
They talked to their neighbor about his problem and how it had become their problem.
James Swartz: “He just lost interest in everything.”
Then the man died and the bank took control of the property.
Tiffany Swartz: You said you were not responsible. They actually told us that whoever would be the new owners would be the ones in charge. “
But due to COVID, the bank was unable to seal off the house and sell it to a new owner, so James and Tiffany have been suffering for months.
Tiffany Swartz: “And so every time it rains a lot, we get water on our side, and we have mold and just one big mess.”
James Swartz: “The walls go black every time it rains.”
The bank placed a blue tarpaulin on the neighbour’s roof, which soon burst apart.
And so water keeps coming into the Swartz’s side.
Your drywall blisters, your baseboards will rot and the mold will grow.
James Swartz: Oh, I’m very angry and very upset.
Howard, what can owners like Swartzs do?
Howard Finkelstein: “Technically, the lender doesn’t own the property until they foreclose it and the foreclosures have been pushed back due to COVID, but the lender can fix the roof. If not, ask the city to urge them to do so, or go to court and ask a judge to ask the lender to repair the roof. “
We spoke to Cooper City officials and they told us they were pushing to resolve this.
The lender’s attorney has now scheduled a hearing on March 9th to ask the judge to give him permission to repair the roof.
Cooper City will then do its part to write to us, “The city understands the urgency of the face of Swartz, and our common goal is to expedite this resolution on behalf of our residents.”
And after that, Tiffany and James have to deal with the damage to their house.
Howard Finkelstein: “First, get in touch with your insurance company. If they refuse to pay you will need to hire an attorney to find the lender, and if you can convince the judge that they were negligent by being too slow to react, they may have to pay for your repairs. “
Tiffany Swartz: There’s some light at the end of the tunnel.
Some light as hopefully the leaks will be sealed.
Tiffany Swartz: “At least if you fix your site, it gives us a chance to fix our site.”
And Tiffany said a city official told her they would try to help her get a scholarship to fix her side of the duplex.
Now it’s not just half a duplex that can be a nightmare. Many neighborhoods have decrepit homes in foreclosure. Push your city or county officials to help. If they want, they have a lot of power at their disposal.
A problem that divides you apart? Don’t want a watered-down quick repair? Come under our roof. Because our patchwork can form a beautiful solution.
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