New roof leaks; some specific steps to take

Q. We had a new roof put on our house last fall, but it leaked within two weeks. The roofer said there was nothing wrong with the job and he refused to do anything about it. We wrote to the shingle company, the Better Business Bureau, and the state contractors license board, but no one replied. What do you suggest we do? A reader Long Beach, Calif.

A. The State of California has laws which govern contractors, one of which requires a guarantee on their work. New roofing has guarantees up to two years, as I recall.

If the roofer has a state contractor's license, his work should come under the required guarantee. How any roofer can say his roofing is not to blame for visible leaks after only two weeks is a near record in naivete.

I'd send a certified letter, return receipt requested, to the roofing contractor. Set a deadline as to when he must fix the leaks. Send copies to the registrar of contractors, the local state contractors license board office, and your attorney.

If the roofer fails to satisfactorily respond within the specified time, file a complaint with the state contractors license board local office and send copies to the roofer and your attorney. The state investigator should follow through. If he finds the roofing work at fault, the state will require the roofer to fix the leaks. Failing to do so, the roofer risks the loss of his license. Should no one act, consult your attorney.

Do not tamper with the new roofing or make any repairs until the issue is resolved, as noted above.

Repaint the ceilings only after the roof is watertight. The cost of repainting may or may not be the responsibility of the roofer, depending on certain legalities which will be determined by the state investigator.

If the roofer did not have a state contractor's license, the problem may become a whole new ball game.

Notify the registrar of contractors and consult your attorney.

Occasionally, homeowners hire nonlicensed people to perform building work for economic reasons. Sometimes it is not economy.

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