Barn Owner taking a chunk of my lease money??

Discussion in 'Horse Chat' started by SkyeTiger, Aug 8, 2018.

  1. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    Read about contracts and how they fit in with the state laws on boarding animals. There are many websites that give examples of legal disputes in the equine world.

    Most of the time, boarding stables try to stabilize prices and fees because they don't want to get a bad reputation in the community. Because they want to keep the barn full. If word gets out that they nickel and dime their customers to death they won't be able to fill their barn. A barn in my region has been struggling trying to keep stalls full because of that and will be sold. New owner/management will hopefully make changes.

    In general, contracts for board are not well-written. Many are so long and so 'legalese' that no one is going to read them very carefully. Even if they do read carefully they probably will not be able to keep track of everything in the contract.

    Many people don't have a contract. That's another issue. In 25 years of boarding, I only had to sign contracts fairly recently. Some places still don't have them.

    But in a way that doesn't much matter because the laws are written to favor the person who is providing the boarding service. As the quote from the legal website shows, they can add any charges at any time, they can increase prices as they please. You have two options: pay or leave.

    Another couple interesting things about contracts:
    • State law defines what can be put in a contract. Something being in a contract doesn't make that provision legal or enforceable. That provision could be null or the whole contract could be null.
    • State law defines what, in a contract, is enforceable. Many provisions put in a contract are not enforceable.
    • Signing a release or a contract that includes a release ('hold harmless' agreement), does not entirely protect a stable(or a horse owner leasing a horse or teaching students on it) from liability. If they are negligent, they are still liable. The judge, not a horse person, decides what negligent means in each case.
    If you have to sign any contract, even one that looks like standard or familiar text from legalese.com(or equinelaw.com), it's good to go over it with a lawyer first.
     
  2. StarPattern

    StarPattern Senior Member

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    If a contract for a service is for a specific service for a specific amount, one would think that contract would only be valid for that specific service in a specific amount. If that's not the case, what's to prevent barn owners from changing the fees at will? Are there not rules in place to prevent a barn owner, much like a landlord, from increasing "rent" without notice? If there is a provision in place to say "fees can change at any time", there should also be a provision to include a period of notice. For example, a landlord needs to provide X notice to increase rent or X notice if they wish a tenant to vacate. They can't just tell the tenant on the last day of a month that their rent is increasing X amount and expect it to be paid for the following month. There are rules to follow, steps to take and considerations to make. Is it not the same for other contracts? When I was a landlord, I was only allowed to increase rent once a year, with 3 months notice. If I wanted the tenant to vacate for any reason other than eviction, I had to provide 90 days notice. Even eviction came with 14 days notice before I could even begin legal proceedings. When a tenant stopped paying his rent, I still had to give him month to "catch up". Seems to me there would be a similar idea with boarding contracts. If the BO wanted to add the "membership fee", s/he would have to provide notice beforehand instead of just springing it on the leaser, unless it was specifically noted in the contract that this fee existed. If it was noted in the boarding agreement (read it carefully), then it's not considered a surprise fee because the boarder technically knew about it when they signed the agreement.

    Same idea for vehicle financing. I pay X amount a month at X amount of interest for X number of months. The financing company can't just change the amount, interest or term on me after the contract is signed if the interest rate changes. They have agreed to sell me the vehicle at X amount of dollars at X amount of interest for as many years as we've agreed on. They can't change that when they want more money out of me or add on other services randomly.
     
  3. Kristal H

    Kristal H Senior Member

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    You might want to stop and consider the Barn Owners point of view, before you have a conversation.

    Often on farm insurance you have to state how many boarders, lessors, students, trainers that you have using the property and your cost does go up accordingly.

    Bringing on a part lease, means that the BO has at least one more person that they need to communicate with, and they that they have one more person to collect from. If the girl is younger.... the barn owner may have been forced into a mentor/coach/child care situation. From your decision to lease.

    There is very little profit in boarding, for the investment and work involved. IF the BO feels like they are doing more work, or it is costing more for them to keep your horse than what they are receiving...the BO is often better off to have the stall empty.
     
  4. Rhythm 'n Blues

    Rhythm 'n Blues Senior Member

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    ^
    Insurance usually has ranges & when people get insurance their provider always suggests they over estimate - so 1 extra person should change their policy.

    Why would the BO have to communicate with or collect from a part boarder? All communication (aside from polite pleasantries) should run through the horse owner. Also the horse owner is collecting the part board fee to offset boarding fees.

    If the BO ends up in a mentoring relationship, that is their own fault. They have either taken on that task/duty/responsibiluty themselves or they should have discussed a minimum age/ability with the horse owner when the topic of a part boarder was brought up. Despite any of this, it would be no different if the BO took on an adult beginner boarder.......sure they could meet the person & choose to accept them or not, but they could have also communicated the same needs to the horse owner when the topic was approached.
     
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  5. Garfield70

    Garfield70 Senior Member

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    Nope. Leaser goes there and rides instead of you. You can permit anyone you like to ride your horse. The barn isn't a closed club where anyone going there needs a membership.
     
  6. GotaDunQH

    GotaDunQH Senior Member

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    I think you are being duped. It's one horse and two people sharing......board would be the same for ONE horse. I'd have a conversation with the BO and then based on that conversation.....move out.
     
  7. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    Read some equine law websites. The barn owner can raise prices when he wants. If you don't believe it is the way it is, ask a lawyer.

    A person who boards a horse for someone is not a landlord.

    There is a separate set of laws for boarding animals.

    No, it is not the same for contracts involving boarding animals as it is for landlords.

    It's not covered by the same laws as being a landlord, and it's not covered by the laws for selling cars.

    It's a different set of laws.

    The laws that are very specific involve taking ownership of livestock or selling it should the owner abandon it.

    The bottom line is that the laws about boarding animals are written in favor of the person who owns the land.

    The reason is that people often left cattle in the care of someone, paid nothing, then took the animals back, sold them, and profited unfairly. So those laws are written to protect the farmer who is providing the board for the animal.

    No, there are NOT rules/laws/regulations, in any US state, that restrict what someone can charge you for horse board.

    The reason is that it is recognized that the prices of bedding, hay, feed and labor, fluctuate - at the time the laws were written feed prices fluctuated WILDLY.


    StarPattern, post:

    ..... Are there not rules in place to prevent a barn owner, much like a landlord, from increasing "rent" without notice? If there is a provision in place to say "fees can change at any time", there should also be a provision to include a period of notice. For example, a landlord needs to provide ......
     

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