The Truth About The Roofs

Let me try to explain as simply as I can what the real facts are regarding the roofs of the Quads and Villas in Southshore Falls.

First of all it needs to be understood that according to our Community lawyers who have studied our documents thoroughly, the HOA is responsible to carry out repairs and replacements of Quad and Villa roofs, if and when that need arises. That does NOT mean that the HOA is responsible for paying for the repair or replacement. That is and always will be the responsibility of the homeowner. How the homeowner will pay is the substance of the Amendment 5.1 which the Developer board enacted just prior to turnover in September of 2014. That enactment was not carried out according to the letter of the law, nor were minutes recorded of the meeting that presumably took place. However according to legal opinion, once the amendment is recorded with the appropriate County authorities it is legally in effect.

Prior to September 2014 the HOA was only allowed to make a special assessment on the homeowners to collect the money for the repairs. After September 2014, the HOA was given the option, if it so desired, to collect reserves for that purpose.

During the course of the last year, on behalf of the board, I conducted a significant amount of research into the roofs and learned a good deal about them. We have had a roofing engineer examine a selection of homes in order to establish that the roofs are well constructed, and also to find out what, in his opinion, the expected life span of the roofs will be (25 years approximately). We also interviewed the manufacturers of the roof tiles to establish what their warranty covered and also to ask them what they anticipated the likely lifespan of one of our roofs (25 years approximately). I researched the internet to find other communities in this area, with tiled roofs to find out how long their roofs had lasted. I visited several other communities with tiled roofs and always inquired how long the roofs had lasted, and in every case we got the same answer which is around 20-25 years, with some roofs being replaced in as little as 18 years and some lasting as long as 40 years. A community in Sarasota replaced all their roofs after 20 years. All these facts are regarding concrete tiled roofs and not shingle roofs.

You might well hear from some experts that will tell you that these roofs should last up to 80 years, and others might tell you 40 years, but the overwhelming evidence points to the fact that 25 years is the likely average lifespan of these roofs. (Note that the tiles will last a lifetime and are warrantied as such, but they are the least important and least expensive part of a roof replacement). What this means is that there are homes on Shell Falls, for example, that could need their roofs replaced in as little as eight to ten years. The actual life of the roof is not totally relevant however, as the HOA still needs some funds for repairs, which will be necessary long before even 18 years is up.

Because the HOA has the responsibility to undertake the repairs of the roofs and the replacement of the roofs, the question then becomes how to fund those repairs or replacements. The HOA has no budget line for this, therefore under current circumstances the board would have to obtain estimates and then ask the homeowners to pay for the repair or replacement before any work was done. This might well seem sound, but then what happens when one or more of the homeowners, for whatever reason, refuses to pay. Who then pays? The HOA does not have the funds and certainly the other homeowners under the same roof, will not be willing to pay for their neighbor's shortfall. Imagine what would happen in the case of an emergency repair or replacement being required.



In order for these repairs and replacements to be carried out smoothly, when required, the HOA needs to have a relatively small amount of money in the reserves, so that they can undertake these repairs without using HOA general funds. Once the repairs are carried out, each homeowner involved will be billed for the repairs or replacement as is appropriate.

In order to achieve this, it will be necessary for a small increase in HOA dues for quads and villas to be imposed, probably in the region of $5+ per month. This will provide a reserve line cushion for the HOA to carry out repairs and in due course replace a roof without having to use HOA general funds. In the event of repairs or replacements being made, each homeowner would receive a credit on their assessment to reflect any money they had already paid into the fund. Please note that by Florida Law, any specified Reserve fund, which this would be, cannot be used for ANYTHING else but for the purpose specified.

In the event that there is a defaulting homeowner, that homeowner would have a lien attached to their home. That Lien however may take 20-30 years to collect, until the home is ultimately sold. Who will fund that debt? (Up to $25-30,000 per home) The general funds of the HOA cannot do that, as the single homeowners have no responsibility for the roofs of the quads and villas. The reserve line set up, as described above, will provide the HOA with the funds to support that debt until it is ultimately paid. Without that fund, in an extreme scenario, there could be a possibility that the HOA could go bankrupt, which would not be acceptable to anyone.

There has never been any suggestion that the Single Family home owners would be part of this program, although if they all voted that they wanted to be, that could happen, with the appropriate change to the community documents.

There is however a possibility, albeit a slim one, that a reserve line will not be necessary, for the time being. Part of the Community's claim to Pulte as part of the transition process, is that they should partially fund the reserves for the roofs to cover the eight years or so when no reserves were collected. If we were fortunate enough to receive some funding from them, that money could then be put into a reserve line and used for the purposes described above, however, long term that may not be enough to cover what it is needed for and an increase to the HOA dues may then become necessary at a later date. We will not know the outcome for a few months yet. This is one of the main reasons why no action has yet been taken on Amendment 5.1, pending the outcome of the transition process.


With credit to John Higgins who sowed the seed for the above idea several months ago.