Ask them to leave - 30 days notice ~ or less- and lock up your tack - monitor ~ monitor monitor! You need to keep your barn safe and clean as well as your sanity. Forget the friendship ~ they are not being good friends to you. IMHO Good-Luck Make a plan to have them moved out by end of August as they have not paid through that month. Like you move by August 15th and we forget the last half of board $ for August - would that work for you - I assume there is not contract involved as it appears they are not adhering to any rules or pre-set aggreements ?
Oh yes, there is a contract, they just choose to ignore it completely.
Thanks Zu Zu, I'm beginning to think this is my only option.....
Save your soul --- this will be very uncomfortable to say the least - I had to have a lawyer write an eviction notice once for me - and there was not contract but I wanted to do it "right" cost about $900.00 ~ as there was research to be done ?Think this through as it sounds like you do not really want them to stay even if they pay the rest of August today -- so guard against that. Decide what you want and then formulate what and how you need to state it -I wanted my boarder out !- no contract ~ but I gave her 30 days because it was December and she had alot of horses. I do think you can use the remainder of August board $ as a bargaining chip - to get them out by Sept 1st. Just stick to your guns --It is time to make a change - this is not working - I will forget the second half of August board ~which is unpaid but I need you to move out by August 31st - how does that sound???
I'd want them out....
If you don't want to go that route, let her know you're having trouble keeping up with the maintenence on the barn by yourself and that you need to make sure she chips in with the chores to maintain a neat barn and if not, you'll have to hire someone which will raise everyones expense....
Put together a "price list" for them and tell them they will be billed for services performed...
$10 per stall cleaning, which will be done every 2nd day if not done by them
$2.50 per "mess" left in the aisle way
$20 for blanket cleaning/washing/storage etc...
keep tabs and give them an invoice at the end of each month. They'll clean up their act or move.
Payment more than 7 days late (including invoiced items from previous month) get a 15% service charge, payment more than 30 days late will result in eviction... or a lien on the horse if they will not move it. I know a local BO who was able to take ownership of a horse after a few months of delinquent rent but she had to place a lien on the horse first. She actually ended up owning (and reselling) a very nice horse that way. Sad, but the owner would not leave and would not pay.
I doubt the friendship is salvageable - no matter how you approach it you'll be the bad guy. I'd get rid of them. Not worth the stress, etc.
I'm not a lawyer, but from my understanding, if one party breaks the contract, it becomes void. Therefore anything about 30 days notice in the contract also becomes void, and you can throw them out immediately.
Despite that, I would still sit them down - not to talk about what is acceptable to you and that they must change their habits, but why you are giving them 30 days notice to vacate. Get rid of them!
Personally, I'd kick them out - and until they are actually out, charge them $$ every time you clean the stall, they "borrow" your tack, etc. Let them know what the charges will be, in writing, and be sure to periodically send them a bill for those items so that they can't claim to have lost track of the accumulated charges.
Your "friends" have gone so far as to break the contract they signed with you. To me, they ain't friend no more, so treat them with firm professionalism.
Give them 30 days or to August 31, whichever your contract says you must. Require that they pay the rest of August board by the 15th. If they don't want to do that, and you'd prefer they leave sooner rather than later, offer them the option of leaving on the 15th.
Tell them, and then do this also in writing, citing breach of contract. They did that by not cleaning stalls as per the agreed-upon schedule. Make sure you know what stuff is yours, should anything go missing.
If things get ugly, take them to small claims court to correct what does. If you get a bit formal with them, reiterating the request to leave and citing the botched contract, they may have the sense to know that you aren't playing and they will just straighten up and leave in order to avoid the small claims court thing.
Sorry this happened to you. There's nothing wrong with attempting to do business with friends. But you need to keep your eyes peeled for things going wrong and taking steps to correct those before they escalate. If you lose the friend in the process, merely because you asked them to live up to a contract they signed, don't worry about it.
I would sit them down and say "Susie, I really value your friendship, and I don't want it to be messed up just because we have different ways of caring for our horses. I think that maybe it's best that you find another place to board, preferably by X date.". Explain that you're just losing money, and you don't want it to effect your relationship. Even if you don't want to be friends with her later on, it's best to keep things nice for the sake of things being civil until she leaves.
That's a toughie, good luck!
Thanks everyone for your advice! I was afraid I was overreacting to everything, but I'm happy to see that I'm not!!! The only issue with threatening to take legal measures is that the boyfriend is a lawyer :lol:. I would have assumed that this would mean he would adhere to the contract better, but I guess not! I will be having a meeting with them as soon as they return from their vaca. If things aren’t resolved after that, they will be asked to leave. I don't think I will mix business with friends in the future....I have learned my lesson the hard way.
Also, I will be raising the board at the meeting so they may decide to look elsewhere on their own (my hope). Although it will still be about $100 less per month than average.
I'd say that if the dude is a lawyer, if your side of the street is squeaky clean (you have adhered to the letter of your board agreement), and if you look the guy in the eye and say "breach of contract", they'll quickly decamp without a fuss.
Lawyers know three things: How to read contracts. That contracts are only as strong as your ability and desire to enforce them (hence the stoney stare with the right words). When to cut bait if it looks like they will ultimately lose in court and have to go through the total PITA of a trial. That's the good thing about lawyers. They know trials are a PITA and may work harder than the rest of the Judge Judy-watching population to avoid them.
I've been in similar situations (in general life), and I've learned some people just don't get it. With those people, you have to be BLUNT.
I'm sure the fact that you're friends is making them lax.
I would request a meeting to air your concerns-you don't have to be mad, but you have to be DIRECT (be brave), and spell them out in writing--have a copy for them and a copy for you. (I'm sure you have the big things covered in the contract, but in this list, spell out *everything* : winter blankets to be removed by... absolutely no defacing of facility and mention the stall fronts... THESE are YOUR saddle racks...etc.) Reiterate the stall cleaning, and the board due date.
Finally, add that failure to comply will result in "eviction". Have everybody sign. Explain that this is your HOME and remind them that they need to respect that.
I completely understand your frustration!! And I'm sure *every* thing they do will bug you now, because of the general annoyance. I been there! I'm thinking positive, but perhaps if you spell it out for them ("Boarding for Dummies"??), they'll get the picture.
I would raise the board to an astronomical high, not a mere $100 below the going rate! Raise it up so high that they move, and if for some reason they stay, and then they DO breach the contract in the future you won't care! Seriously!
I was at a barn that a trainer wanted to lease. The owner wanted to lease it to him, but she didn't want to just kick everyone out. So, she raised the board to about 3x the normal rate. Trust me - we all skeddaddled. :lol:
I own apartment buildings...If rent isn't paid by the 2nd day it is due, you the landlord are able to give notice to the renter, that they have 20 days from the day the letter is sent to vacate your property. If they pay within the 20 days, they are allowed to stay, unless they are late again, Then you are in the right to send them packing right away. I would venture to say it is the same for horse boarding unless you stated in your contact 30 day notice.
Make sure you have someone neutural with you when you have the talk with your "friends" better to have witness. Anything in writing that passes between you should have copies, and sent by register mail.
I have been in your situation...the boarder was the clean the stall every day. I wasn't allowed to touch the stall...I felt horrible for the mare. Finally I told the boarder, I would clean the stall in exchange I get to ride the mare whenever I want. I ended up buying the mare. If I ever had boarders again, I will do everything, but they are going to pay for it. No more "helping" people out...just isn't worth the headaches not to count the uncleanness of it all for both the horses and you.
Landlord/tenant law is a different animal in most states- you're talking just straight up contract law here.
I would sit down with them for a meeting and have one document with three things in writing for them to sign... a list of all violations of the contract that they have committed (important to document), a list of expectations going forward, and a price list that will be charged per each time something isn't done. Include in that that you will be raising board effective on x date. Should they choose not to sign, they have 30 days (or whatever your contract says) to leave. You can also use this new document to amend the original contract to 15 days notice or whatever you like.