A Florida contractor is suing a condo owner, alleging that he was attacked by a bobcat in the owner’s unit while he was conducting a safety inspection. The contractor is also suing the condominium association, claiming that it allowed a bobcat to reside on the premises and failed to warn him of the known danger in the unit.
The owner in her defence claims that she owns two domestic cats and not a bobcat.
As the contractor was alone in the unit, there are no witnesses that can confirm that it was a bobcat in the unit. This raises the question as to why no one from the condo management staff accompanied the contractor when he entered the unit in the owner’s absence.
In Ontario, the Condominium Act, 1998 provides that on giving reasonable notice to an owner, the corporation or a person authorized by the corporation may, at any reasonable time, enter a unit of the owner or a part of the common elements of which the owner has exclusive use to perform the objects and duties of the corporation or to exercise the powers of the corporation. However, no notice is required in the event of an emergency, provided that any conditions or restrictions set out in the corporation’s declaration or by-laws are complied with.
Whenever it is necessary for a condominium corporation’s contractors and their workers to enter a unit, management should not be allowing them to enter condo units unescorted when a resident is not home. A representative from management should be supervising the entry.
When residents receive a notice that the condominium corporation requires entry into their unit when they will not be home, those who have pets residing in the unit should take precautions to secure their pet so that the pet is not freely roaming around the unit. This will prevent the pet from slipping out of the unit unnoticed and will also protect workers from any aggressive behavior from the pet. Even friendly, gentle pets may exhibit aggressive behaviour if they are startled or feel threatened by a stranger entering their home.
It will be interesting to see the outcome of the Florida lawsuit.