5 Signs Your Rental Property Needs a New Roof

Roofs are not usually at the forefront of our minds. Out of sight, out of mind. However, the roof of a home is vital for keeping the overall integrity of the home intact. If the roof incurs unseen problems that are not detected for years, by this time the repairs can be expensive and involve other parts of the home. It is important to regularly inspect the roof of your rental property. As a matter of safety, it is important to keep rental properties in good shape. A problematic roof can be a health issue by attracting rodents and insects, causing mold or water damage to items in the home and even potentially allowing parts of the roof structure to fall in. Fortunately, there are obvious indications and signs that signal the presence of small problems, before they become big problems.

The Roof is 15 to 20 Years Old

Depending on what type of roof it is, the roof could need replacing as often as every twenty years. According to statistics from the National Association of Home Builders cited by U.S. News, different roofing materials have different lifespans. If the roof is made with composition shingles, then the roof has an average lifespan of 12 to 20 years. If made with asphalt or wood, then 15 to 30 years is the average life of the shingles. A tile roof can last more than 50 years with only individual tiles needing replacing, and a concrete roof may never need replacing. Rubber roofs can last up to 50 years, and metal roofs will last from 50 to 75 years. If the roof is near the end of its lifespan, inspect it for signs it needs replacing.

Damage From Storms

Tornadoes and hurricanes can cause extensive damage to roofs, of course. However, even a thunderstorm can cause some damage, if the winds are high enough or if it sends harmful debris onto the roof. Point Roofing says that not only can ice and snow from devastating storms put untold pressure on your roof but they bring a lot of moisture which can compromise your roof and interior by causing leaks, wet ceilings, siding damage and more. After any rough weather, check the roof for visible signs of damage such as loose, broken or missing shingles.

The Ceiling Below Shows Water Damage or Leaks

The roof should be inspected at least once a year, even if there are no precipitating events. This HuffPost article on inspecting a roof for damage recommends that you should conduct a visual inspection on the top of the roof, looking for loose, missing or broken shingles, examining the connections between the roof and the exterior of the house and around the chimney if there is one. Check the roof from inside the house, looking for water damage, sunlight coming in and evidence of animals or insects. Look for obvious sagging.

The Roof is Showing Signs of Age

Even though you own the rental property, you may not know the exact age of the roof. If you purchased the home recently and the previous owner could not provide you with the age of the roof, you will have to estimate the age of the roof yourself. Owens Corning recommends that you examine the outside of the roof, looking for shingles that are curling at the edges, missing rows of shingles and roofing debris at the roof corners and gutters. These are all signs of an older roof.


Moss on the roof can be a potential problem in damp and moist climates. If you see moss beginning to grow on the roof, This Old House details how you can take steps to remove it and prevent it from reappearing. Spray the area with plain water, then use a soft-bristle brush to remove the moss, swiping from the top downwards. Scrub gently, working on a small section at a time. If the moss is stubborn, there are special cleaning solutions that will work. In order to prevent moss from coming back, place zinc or copper strips under the top ridges on the roof and attach the strips with roofing nails. These metals are toxic to moss.

Timely roof repairs make good sense as they can extend the life of your roof. In the event that you need a new roof, you can depreciate the expense of the new roof on your taxes as a valuable addition to a rental property. As Legally Mine explains, this is just one of many tools you can use to reduce your tax burden as a landlord and higher-income individual. As a matter of course, you will want to provide a safe and comfortable dwelling place for your renters. Initiate a regular schedule of maintenance for your roof and don’t neglect to periodically check your roof for damages, especially after heavy storms. This will help you stay ahead of potentially serious problems and keep money in your pocket.


If you own rental property and would like top notch management for it, contact us today and we’ll be happy to help. We know your investment is important to you and we can help!