Q&A: Contractor Blues

Q I hired a contractor to do repairs in my condo and my building is accusing my contractor of damaging the door. My contractor is not aware of the damage and they have not told him anything. They told me when I hired the contractor to make sure he had proper documentation. Apparently, he did so. My board asked for $500 security deposit just in case my contractor damaged anything. So when he allegedly did, they deposited the money without my consent. Do they have the right to do so?

—Aggrieved in Aurora

A “The owner has the contractual and covenant relationship with the board and the association,” says attorney Marshall Dickler of the Arlington Heights' law firm of Dickler, Kahn, Slowikowski & Zavell, Ltd., “The contractor has no relationship with the association only with the owner. The board controls everything in the condominium including the right to make any repairs or modifications within a unit and to require that the owner is responsible for any damage caused by the owner's contractor. They have a right to require a damage deposit and that the contractor provided them with a copy of the contract and all insurances, licenses and other "good papers" before the contractor is allowed to do any work. They are allowed to determine if the contractor has done any damage and retain any monies that they believe are necessary to repair the damage. The owner has a right to ask for documentation and proof that in fact there was damage. If they cannot substantiate the damage the owner would probably have a right to go to court and seek recovery of his damage deposit. Most of these requirements are in written rules of the association or the bylaws but may not always be clearly set forth.”