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New homeowner suspicious of HOA's sudden demands to make costly changes to their condo: 'This does not make sense'

"You would think the insurance company would have known this."

"You would think the insurance company would have known this."

Photo Credit: iStock

One homeowner was peeved when they were expected to spend thousands of dollars to replace a brand-new condo roof.

"Just bought a [Florida] condo, roof only 3yrs old," they explained in their post on an anti-HOA subreddit. "Now HOA states [there will be a special assessment] of $8000 because [the insurance] company won't insure a polyurethane roof. Seriously? Ah, wouldn't they have known this?"

According to the Redditor, the project would total $298,000, spread among 30 units. What was especially frustrating for the condo owner was that they'd just made their purchase four months earlier. 

"You would think the insurance company would have known this 1-3 years ago," they complained. "But now? 'Sorry, this roof made out of poly is no longer good' … this does not make sense."

Unfortunately, this Redditor is facing an issue that's hurting many Florida homeowners: Insurance is getting harder to find and more expensive to buy. With every natural disaster hitting the state, insurance companies are seeing their risk increase, so they raise prices to compensate.

Worse, as the planet gets hotter, natural disasters are becoming more common. Many insurance companies are responding by abandoning the riskiest states, and Florida is at the top of that list.

"Lots of insurance companies are ditching Florida because there are just too many claims. Those remaining can be very selective of who they will insure," said a commenter.

In that climate, choosing a polyurethane roof was probably unwise to start with. The thin plastic membranes that make up this type of roof are vulnerable to leaks and punctures, especially over time — not to mention that all that plastic is made from highly polluting oil and is almost impossible to recycle. Tile, slate, metal, and wood shakes are all more durable and eco-friendly options the HOA could have chosen.

Sadly, HOAs are notorious for getting in the way of affordable and environmentally friendly home upgrades. Often, the only way to improve the situation is by changing the rules from within.

This time, commenters advised the original poster to get involved and make sure the next roof installation was done right. 

"Follow up with the HOA to find out … how many bids are they getting, what criteria are they going to use to choose a contractor, what materials will be used, what sort of warranty will there be on the new roof," said one user.

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