View Full Version : If I put stalls into a rented barn, are they mine or the landlord's?

Apr. 12, 2011, 03:24 AM
I'm glad I thought of this before I did something rash!

Two friends and I rent stalls in a barn. We are the only boarders and it is 100% self-care, from supplying own wheelbarrows/hoses/tools to fixing the fencing. I often tell people we lease the barn since it's just the three of us rattling around here, but technically we are boarders and pay a (very small) monthly board fee.

The stalls in the barn are made of pipe/corral panels. I have seen more than my share of injuries, some of them horrific. I am thinking about getting some modular stall panels and starting to replace the pipe.

However, on other matters I have heard my landlord refer to "capital improvements" that tenants and/or boarders are supposed to leave on the property when they move. The stalls would technically be permanent fixtures but if I possibly can take them when I go, I most certainly will.

We have done repairs and additions (i.e. put in a tack room) that I'm prefectly fine with leaving, but I draw the line at stall components. And stall MATS for that matter -- I'll wrestle anyon who comes near mine! So what is the scoop with items like these, or where could I go to find out?

Apr. 12, 2011, 08:28 AM
The general rule is that anything that is permanently attached / built in, stays and becomes the landlord's property when you leave. If this were a house, wall-to-wall carpeting would stay while area rugs are yours to move; a roll-around microwave cart in the kitchen is yours, but a wall-mounted cabinet becomes the landlord's.

So, part of your answer will be in how the stall panels are constructed / attached to the barn. Once you start pounding nails, you are on the road to giving the stalls to your landlord.

There may be other ways to make the pipe stalls safer, like attaching plywood panels to them. If you use clamps / cords, so they are not 'permanently' attached, you could remove them later.

The best sources for information on what is legal in your area will be the landlord / rental laws for your county / state. While they are written in terms of human housing, the principles will carry over to the barn.


Apr. 12, 2011, 08:36 AM
Why not just go talk to the landlord about it, and if he agrees that you may take the stalls if you leave, then get it in writing and have it at least witnessed or notarized.

Apr. 12, 2011, 08:42 AM
I agree about talking to the landlord. Its a big investment on your part to put in stalls, so you don't want to mess around and want to get it in writing.

As for stall mats, the person I bought my farm from took all the stall mats from the stalls. Maybe I could have made a stink about it, but it didn't seem worth it since the barn was a complete disaster. Frankly, I was more peeved that she didn't clean out the stalls before pulling out the mats and left an even bigger mess for me to clean up. But that's a whole 'nother story.;)

Good luck! I'm sure you can find some good modular stalls that will be portable later on!

Apr. 12, 2011, 09:00 AM
You can get the lighter, 1/2" rubber mats and hang them on the panels, that may work better than plywood.

Get modular, portable stall walls that pin together and you can take those with you.
If you already have good back walls, mount some fitting for your pin and the stalls are still portable, as long as you don't affix them to the structure permanently.;)
Store her old panels nealty somewhere, so she can use them after you move.:yes:

Apr. 12, 2011, 09:03 AM
Whichever way you go, make sure you have an agreement in writing!

Just sayin', the longer something like that is in her barn, the more likely she is to think it ought to stay permanently. That's just human nature.

Apr. 12, 2011, 09:08 AM
Yep, get a contract, in writing, that specifies they are yours. No problem.

The default rules only apply if you don't have a more specific agreement in place. You can do it differently if you do it in writing, laid out clearly, signed by both parties.

Apr. 12, 2011, 10:15 AM
As for stall mats, the person I bought my farm from took all the stall mats from the stalls.

When you signed the purchase offer for the farm, did you specify the stall mats to be included? If not and since generally stall mats are just laid down, like an area rug so to say, the owner had every right to remove the mats and probably sold them separately.

I'm not trying to stand up for the previous owner, but knowing that farm properties aren't the biggest sellers as probably only 1 in 10,000 are really interested in a horse farm so the farms stay on the market for longer than a house. I saw friends trying to sell their farm for probably 4-5 yrs and basically gave it away when they finally got an offer just to get out of NY state and the taxes we pay here.

I know when I sold my townhouse, I specified that a stained glass window that I had covering a window in the bathroom would NOT be included in the sale.

Apr. 12, 2011, 10:51 AM
When we bought our farm, they removed EVERYTHING
Screw eyes, stall mats, stall screens (hung on screw eyes) water trougths, small gates and left 10 years of manure pile!!

Apr. 12, 2011, 01:10 PM
Regardless of which way you go, get it in writing and then there will be no question of who owns what.

Apr. 12, 2011, 01:13 PM
Yep, get a contract, in writing, that specifies they are yours. No problem.

The default rules only apply if you don't have a more specific agreement in place. You can do it differently if you do it in writing, laid out clearly, signed by both parties.

This. I agree with others that the general rule is anything "permanently" attached becomes the property of the landlord, but you can get in one heck of a fight over what types of stall improvements are permanent, and what you should be able to take. Best bet, talk it out with your landlord and write it up. Since he/she has already made comments about "capital improvements" it looks like your landlord already has this issue on the radar.

Apr. 12, 2011, 01:16 PM
IMO if you use metal panels, I'd leave the bolt that is screwed into the wall and lift the gate off if/when you leave.

Apr. 12, 2011, 01:30 PM
I would look up the applicable law in your state in regards to rental units. I would also make sure in that contract that you address the board NOT going up because of your improvements.


Apr. 12, 2011, 01:38 PM
residential rental property is subject to different leasehold rules than business or other rental property. Check with your municipality as to the code that applies in the case of a rented barn.

In general though, for non residential property, the default is to either restore the property to the same condition that it was first rented to you in, or to leave any "improvements" you have made.

The simplest is to discuss it with your landlord and see what you can work it out and put it in wiriting as suggested by many.

When I moved into my farm, the previous owner took the chandeliers, the leaded glass french doors, several metal garden sheds, a chain link dog run and left untold piles of junk, even though our sales agreement had specified that the junk would be removed.

By the time we were done, the doors and light fixtures had been returned, and I didn't care about the rest. Doors and light fixtures have to be specifically excluded from the sale document in writing if the seller wants them, so a definite no-no on our seller's part, but the sheds and dog run, being the "portable" metal kit type, were legally removed. The junk took us thousands to remove ourselves, but it wasn't worth suing over a couple of thousand dollars.

When I sell the place, you can bet that my portable round pen, stall mats, pipe corral fencing, dog runs, portable arena surrounds, jumps and poles and portable kit greenhouses, will be removed or sold separately unless the buyer bargains them in to the purchase price and writes them into the contract.

Apr. 12, 2011, 03:29 PM
Would totally get anything you do in writing, for sure.

And maybe look into stalls like these: http://www.horizonstructures.com/stalls.asp
They're designed to be totally freestanding if you get all four panels, so you don't have to anchor them to anything inside the barn (thus hopefully avoiding that "capital improvements" thing).

Apr. 12, 2011, 03:54 PM
First thing to do is check your state's laws. Typically only permanent fixtures, or things that become part of the land (like new fencing or new buildings), would belong to the landlord. Water troughs, stall mats, buckets, feeders, etc would not be considered permanent.

If you put in permanent stalls, you are out that money when you leave. If you do portable stalls, that's another story.