contractor damage responsibility

I recently received a letter in the mail from my condo HOA attorney threatening immediate legal action if i don’t pay for damages caused by a flooring contractor I hired back in february 2017. The damages were done by the contractor’s driver while operating a company vehicle to a common area of the building.

Up until the day I received this letter I was under the impression that the contractor was responsible for the damage and the HOA would file a claim with their insurance company and/or go after the contractor in small claims court or other legal avenue in order to recover damages.

The letter came as a total surprise at no point was i informed that the HOA would take legal action against me for this damage caused by someone else.

The damage caused was approximately 4,600 I originally had to submit a deposit of 1,000, which they have kept now they claim i owe the balance amount of 3,600. The condo is located in broward county Florida.

Asked on December 19, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

As a general legal matter, a person who hires an independent contractor is not liable for any damage the contractor causes (so long as that person did not him/herself contribute to causing it). However, that can be modified by contract or similar legally binding document. So if the HOA rules or bylaws or any other documents to which your membership in the HOA and residence in this community makes you subject require you to be liable for damage done by your contractors, you are liable. If you are unaware of any such provisions, ask the HOA to show you the provision(s) which they believe make you liable; if there are such, you'd have to pay (though you could then sue the driver and/or the contractor he worked for to recover the money that the driver's carelessness cost you); but if there are no such documentary provisions requiring you to pay this, you should not have to.


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