(WSVN) - From the “believe it or not” category: workers started tearing the roof off the wrong house. You read correctly. They were at the wrong property, so do they have to repair the damage or replace the entire roof? Find out in tonight’s Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

Natalie Alonso, roofers tore off wrong roof: “What is the sum of 4 plus 4 plus 2?”

Natalie Alonso was teaching her first grade class online from her home. At that moment, her Ring alarm went off.

Natalie Alonso: “I was expecting painters that day. They were going to come and start working on the house, so I didn’t think anything of it.”

A few minutes later, it started.

Natalie Alonso: “They were banging, the whole house was shaking. It was just loud.”

Natalie ran outside and saw workers on her roof.

Natalie Alonso: “They had taken off 10, 15 feet of my shingles off my roof, and it was just like shock, it was complete shock, because they didn’t knock, they didn’t ask.”

The company tearing the roof off Natalie’s house had gotten the wrong address and should have been at her neighbor’s house.

Natalie Alonso: “If I wasn’t home, it would be all gone.”

The damage was done. The company quickly put down new tar paper, replaced the shingles and offered Natalie a warranty. But…

Natalie Alonso: “You didn’t fix the problem. You just put a Band-Aid over the problem, and then, in three years, if it starts to leak, then what?”

Before the wrong house roofers showed up, Natalie’s roof was in great shape. This is the “before” picture. Now, in the “after” picture, you see the new shingles don’t match and stick out.

Natalie Alonso: “When I go sell this house, it’s going to be a patch. They’re going to think something’s wrong with the roof.”

Natalie knows what will happen if she tells a potential buyer, “No the repair was not from a leak, it’s from a company who tore the roof off the wrong house.”

Natalie Alonso: “Who’s going to believe that the wrong roofer came to my house and destroyed my roof?”

And so, Natalie wants the company to replace all the shingles.

Natalie Alonso: “I just want them to fix it. I understand it’s a mistake, but that’s why you’re a business owner, and you take your wins and your losses. You’re responsible.”

Well, Howard, legally, is Natalie entitled to a new roof or just a repair job?

Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “Legally, the company has to restore the roof to what it looked like before they tore it apart. If the shingles match, they can do a simple repair. If the shingles do not match, they have to replace all the shingles so that it looks like it did before, so in this case, Natalie gets a new roof.”

I spoke to the owner of the roofing company. He was open and honest. He said his workers followed their GPS and made a mistake. He said, “We fixed the problem and did a good job,” but he would not replace all the shingles, which would cost him about $5,000.

Finally, when we had the heavy rain a few weeks ago, there were no leaks.

Howard Finkelstein: “Natalie has a few options. She can take the roofer to small claims court to get a new roof. She can also file a complaint with the Construction Industry Licensing Board that licenses roofers, and they can take their license away.”

Natalie doesn’t know what her next step will be, but she does have a suggestion for the roofers.

Natalie Alonso: “Maybe it’s a lesson for them: check the address, knock on the door.”

What are the odds of someone ripping the roof off the wrong house? But mistakes happen.

Now, the roofer told me he had insurance, but he didn’t want to file a claim. If Natalie sued him, he might be forced to.

A mistake uncovered a problem for you? Need to patch things up? House the headache with us. We don’t hang out a shingle with our name, but here is how you can contact us.

Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN

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