Justice Denied for Roof Customer in Hampton

The following is a true story:

Mr. Miller had a steep roof. It was so steep that he couldn’t walk on it. After a large storm, he needed a new roof. He contracted with a local roofing contractor to replace the roof for an amount over $10,000.

The contractors replaced his roof and he paid them. He trusted that the contractor had done the job he had contracted for. At the end of the job, from as far as he could tell, it looked OK from the ground.

Two months after Mr. Miller paid the contractor, the roof started to leak in several areas.

The contractor came back but could not fix the leaks.
(What would you have done at this point?)

Frustrated, Mr. Miller decided to take the contractor to court. Mr. Miller called us to inspect the job and serve as an expert witness.

We found that the contract said that all of the metal roofing was to be replaced. As you can see in the picture, the old rusty metal was still there. We also found they used the wrong shingles. Part of the shingle roof wasn’t replaced and the areas that were replaced were installed improperly.

When Mr. Miller checked with the City, he found that the contractor did not pull a permit. After Mr. Miller filed his lawsuit against them, they pulled a permit for a lesser amount than the roof cost and the City Inspector did a “cursory” inspection (the inspector’s words) from his truck. The City Inspector didn’t get up on the roof and in fact never carries a ladder on his truck.

It was inherently obvious to the most casual of observers that the contractor was negligent.

What was the result in court? The judge told the homeowner that if he paid for the job, he accepted it and the contractor was not responsible for anything!

The following is the text from an email that I received from Mr. Miller this week when getting his permission to tell his story:

“40 year shingles (they used 30 years), replacement of all metal roofing (none was replaced), new felt (it appears that none was installed), replacement of all shingle roofing ( they did not replace the back porch roof), replacement of all metal flashing (none was replaced; used all flashing bended over the new shingles).
I did not become aware of these items until about two months later when the new roof developed leaks. As you know, the judge declared that I accepted the roof as it was when I paid for it, I am no roofer and did not find out until I hired an inspector about these issues. Also, they never got a permit for the job. In 2005 I went to the City Hall and found out about it on a Friday. The next Monday the contractor came and applied for a permit and inspection. They declared the cost of the roof about 1/2 of what I paid for it ( a violation of the law). Who tipped them as to my inquiries I really do not know but this was no coincidence. The inspector visited the site and found items as “uncovered nail” and returned the next day and issued a permit after an alleged inspection. The inspection that you conducted found the same issues. When the inspector was questioned about his report, he stated that he only did a “cursory inspection.”

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