Need help: To remove mold, property manager suggest to replace whole roof, that he can not guarantee too!

Need help: To remove mold, property manager suggest to replace whole roof, that he can not guarantee too! Looks to me very odd.

What is the best way to find and fix the issue?

Roof is made in 1975 and looks visibly fine ! Picture attached

Here are the details:

The tenants have just notified us that the bath room mold spots have returned. The spots are again appearing above the master bathroom vanity. The renter is requesting that we have a mold inspector come out to the property.

Back in June we had a few trades-people look at the mold issue. It appears that water is leaking through the roof and pooling up above the master bathroom ceiling. We had 2 roofers look at the roof back in June and neither roofer could find an area to repair. The current roof at home is an old-style tile roof with no underlayment. From the attic access point in the hallway you can see areas where light comes through the roof. It is likely that water has come through these areas during the recent rains and is what is causing the reoccurrence of mold in the ceiling. It may be that the roof will need to be replaced in order to solve this mold issue.

The two roofing companies that went out before said that the whole roof would need to be replaced. We can have one of the roofing companies come out again to take another look and ask them to give us an estimate for replacing the roof as well as try to take another look to see if there would be a way to make repairs. Let me know if you would like us to do this.

I cannot guarantee that replacing the roof will fix the problem. However, after looking at everything myself and having several trades people out to look at the issue, the only solution that I can see is to replace the roof.

The roofing companies both confirmed that this is an old-style tile roof with no underlayment and that overtime because of the age of the roof there may be various areas that water will start to penetrate. Both handyman we had out looked to see if there were any other potential sources for moisture and they were not able to identify any other moisture sources. They also confirmed that the water appears to be leaking from the roof and pooling up above the master bathroom. We had a plumber at the property around this time as well and I showed him the issue in the master bathroom. He said that there are no pipes nearby the mold spot and he too agreed that the issue looks to be coming from water pooling above the ceiling.

Please let us know if there’s anyone else you would like us to send out to have a look or if we should go ahead and have a roofer back out to the property.


It may be the real answer (replacing the roof section) but before then, I would open up all of the drywall sections in the bathroom ceiling and then either wait for real rain to come or do some rigorous testing with water hoses to mimic rain to hopefully see where the water is coming in. Without opening up the walls, how can you tell?

Yes, I understand the roof section, but the message given was whole roof which I was skeptical.

Second, as you said, I need t find the real reason. True, I need to find it out somehow…

Sorry but tile roofs suck…Replace it with comp and plywood underneath. .Comp is much safer in a quake and will not leak in your lifetime. …

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For all we know, the drywall may be compromised some anyway or there is some mold built up inside all this time there so you may as well open it up and see if there is any remedy short of paying an arm and a leg for a new roof right off the bat.

The recommendation to have a mold expert come out to do some testing may be a good idea if you can’t figure it out still after opening it up and doing some testing.

You may recall me mentioning that I have had one lawsuit in all my years of doing this and it was mold related. I was cleared, but my insurance company didn’t want to haggle over what ended up to be a 20k payment. My point is that mold is IMHO subjective but more and more tenants today are looking for avenues of opportunity shall we say. Don’t give them something to use against you.

I understand there are also companies who specialize in leak detection. Kind of expensive, so that is why I am suggesting the DIY approach first before writing that awful check. Good luck!!!

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It’s possible that you may need to replace the whole roof. As told, problem is the old style of the roof which is prone to leak. Even if you can figure out which section to replace, another section could leak again in a few years.

Is the property in Bay Area? If so, makes sense to just replace the whole roof since valuation is high and a new roof is not a big percentage.

If it is located in a low cost area, might as well move the tenants out and sell the house to someone with disclosures.

Of course, more research is good and the best is to find a roofing expert who has no incentive to asking you to replace unnecessarily. Is there any independent roofing expert who only gives inspection and repair opinions but does no repairs?

You do not need a twisted roofing scientist.

Even to change the roof, I may need to vacate the tenants. I was exactly thinking on this way, just to sell it with disclosures.

Yes, it is in South San Jose, good cash flow with 5% Cap rate! Since I held for 10 years, it has good appreciation almost 50% over what I bought.

That is what I asked property manager to do, get a roof report. Also get a whole roof quote.

Thank you.

Do you know appx cost of whole roof replacement with composite+plywood option for around 1250 sqft single story home? Or appx $/sqft in bay area?

You are lucky that SJ rent control is not super strict. Just give notice to the tenants and move the tenant out, give them full refund of deposit.

Bay area house is expensive so a new roof might not be very expensive percentage wise. You may get your money back for the new roof. If you can sell at a decent price with disclosures, it might be a good idea to sell.

If the walls are fine, you can replace the roof and continue to rent. But if you can 1031 exchange to another location, why not?

Figure $12k…but it is hard to get good deals anywhere these days…My handyman in Tahoe wanted $8/sf to install labor only laminate flooring…Going rate should be $2.5…I can do it myself with helpers for $1/sf.

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Since this SFH, it is not coming under rent control.

Is there any way to do damage control (patching where you see openings) before roof replacement? From a home-owner’s point of view, the house will suffer more the longer it is left unattended. From a tenant’s point of view, I would be concerned about the health risks and would suggest cleaning any existing mold and using a dehumidifier to help prevent worsening of the situation.

You are right.

Tenant asked us to actually reported the mold. we are trying to resolve the issue. At this stage, we do not know exactly what is the real reason for mold formation. Property manager suspicious that roof may be the reason, but he is not sure. There is no clear evidence roof is leaking too. Trying to visit the home soon, along with property manager, to understand the issue more.

The biggest concern is tenant. It’s better to ask tenant to move ASAP, probably with some assistance on moving. It would be very expensive if tenant sues you.

Will the insurance cover any potential tenant lawsuit?

Uh, hello… yes (see my post). Thank you Safeco!!! (And no crazy high renewal the following year)

Have you ever faced the court or sued? It is not so easy to sue anyone unless you have strong proof that it is others fault ! If someone blindly sues other party, it is a futile attempt or they may get into trouble by counter-sue issues !!!

Only if your tenant is wealthy. If you have a dirt poor tenant, counter sue is useless. There are many free lawyers available to low income tenant, they can create a huge legal bill for you without spending a dime

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That is not exactly correct. As my insurance company’s lawyer told me (this case mind you was within a few years ago), there are MANY ambulance chasing lawyers who look for cases like this where there was some gray area. But this is fact: HUD INVESTIGATED THIS INITIALLY AND FOUND IN MY FAVOR NO FAULT. That did not stop a follow-up lawsuit nevertheless. Now, keep in mind this went to arbitration and once the other lawyer saw who he was dealing with (meaning, if this went to a jury, he would lose) he promptly settled as fast as he could. Blind arbitration, you start with the asking lawsuit price and you negotiate down. Went for a few hours (back and forth), as we chit chatted in our own office. Come on, the arbritrator was even on my side. I vehemently said no to my insurance company rep to not settle but as he said it, it was not worth the time but more importantly THE EXPENSE to fight in court. They ponied up finally around 20k and said essentially, cost of doing business. Move on. It was funny, we left our belongings in the other room by chance and had to go back there and wouldn’t you know it, the plaintiff was angrily upset with the lawyer (presumably at the “measily” sum compared to asking price). And of course, who made some money that day, the lawyer, of course.

You all may have been fortunate enough to never have been sued but when I told my insurance company’s lawyer that this was the first time for me in 25+ years of owning real estate she WAS surprised. She point blank said I was lucky. TODAY folks, people are looking for ways or an angle to profit so def do your due diligence but there is no guarantee you won’t be hit with a lawsuit anyway. People are desperate and unfortunately there is legal representation willing to fish.

You live in California. Democrats has created tons of regulations and appointed numerous leftist activist judges to take advantage of you. Better avoid any slight hint of a suit, even it’s baseless.

Sure, but the suit came out of nowhere. I was never contacted by the tenant to discuss and come up with a solution. Should I have proposed something when HUD ruled in my favor??? Heck no, right???