Is the Principal Liable for all the Actions of the Agent?

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I live in a condominium in Dallas,TX that is owned by my father, from whom I possess a properly executed power of attorney (POA) for all matters pertaining to the property. I am responsible for the payment of the monthly assessments on the condo, as well as the taxes and insurance. He does not live here and has only been on the property on one occasion. I wrote a letter to the BBB asking for their help in attaining information from the property manager. The information is not proprietary nor privileged and it should have been provided in the closing papers. Upon receipt of notice from the BBB that I had filed a complaint, the property manager spoke with the president of the HOA who called my father (the owner of record, whom she had never spoken with before) and intimated that the property manager would and could file suit against me (and since I have no money thus, him) in the event they determine that they lost business contracts as a result of a lesser rating with the BBB and that we should immediately retract the BBB statement. Reluctantly I did, but the BBB pursued it. The property manager responded to the BBB and thus to me. Now the matter has been resolved without diminishing their rating with the BBB. MY QUESTION: In regards to the POA, is the principal liable for all the actions of the agent? Is he responsible for all my actions here on the property just because of the POA? I have been trying to understand how the money that the association collects in monthly dues is being spent – but have not gotten far.

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

Assuming you are acting as your father’s legal agent (and that is a not-unreasonable assumption), then yes, as a general matter he would be responsible for any actions that you take. Basic agency law makes the principal (in this case, your father) responsible for the actions of the agent (you).

That’s only the start of the analysis, of course. If it came to an actual dispute, there are many details and exceptions to that basic rule, so in your particular case there certainly might be a reason that the HOA would not be able to hold your father responsible for some action you took. That being said, I will also say that the implication that you could be sued for making an inquiry with the BBB sounds a little fishy. It’s certainly possible for someone to open themselves up to a lawsuit in this manner, but unless there are some facts that I didn’t see in your description, it doesn’t sound like you did anything that rises to that level. So while it’s not out of the question, I would suspect that was just a tactic to try to pressure you into withdrawing your claim. That’s a guess, and I could be wrong, of course.



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Author: House Attorney