Condo Contractor Demands Payment from Unit Owner for Unauthorized Work

G.G. from Florida writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

While I was out of the country, the condo security personnel opened the door of my unit and allowed to enter a contractor to perform work in my condo unit that I had not requested. The manager states that it was a misunderstanding. The company that performed the work states that as I had requested an estimate they also understood that they had to do the work. There is no paper signed by me requesting them to do the work. The contractor wants me to pay $1200 for a job that I never requested. The condominium manager and the BOD are not cooperating with me. After a month and a half of the incident, how should I proceed? Thank you.

Mister Condo replies:

G.G., since I am not an attorney nor am I an expert in Florida law, please consider my advice as friendly and not legal. You will most likely need some legal advice here and I would suggest you speak with a qualified attorney to help you. That being said, you have a few different issues going on here. As far as your duty to pay the contractor, unless they can produce a contract where you authorized the work, I don’t see where they have a leg to stand on. If your association ordered work on your behalf that you are bound to, they should be able to produce the contract with the association. If that is the case, you may need to pay the contractor and then sue your association for the money. I am not sure what the manager means by a “misunderstanding” but either the association ordered the work or they didn’t. There are situations where contractors work for the association but the unit owners are responsible for the work. Smoke detector maintenance and lint removal from dryer ducts come to mind as examples but there are others. In cases such as that, your name need not be on the contract for you to be the responsible party for the cost of the work performed. The long and short of it is that you need to get a copy of the contract for the work done. Once you have that, you can determine your next course of action.

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