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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul. 17, 2007
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    270

    Default Thirty Days' Notice Situation--Advice needed

    I moved my horse very early in the month of December and admittedly did not give thirty days' notice. One of the BOs called, said the board agreement required thirty days' notice, and I verbally said ok, I would send a check for the remainder of the month.

    The problem? I reviewed the boarding agreement and there is no such language in there. Either they are mistaken or are trying to bully me into paying them for the rest of the month. I actually think they truly believe I owe them but I am telling you there is not a clause in there that states that thirty days' notice must be given.

    So my question is two-fold. What do I do when I inevitably get a bill from them at the end of the month? And what should such language look like in an enforceable thirty days' notice provision (in other words, could i see examples from your boarding contracts?)?

    For background, I am certain I am reading the agreement in full, I am well-educated and deal in contracts of all kinds. Also have had other people look at it and they agree with me about the notice provision (or lack thereof). TIA



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan. 6, 2003
    Location
    CT
    Posts
    3,564

    Default

    Don't wait for the bill.
    Send them a copy of the agreement w/cover letter outlining its' omitting the '30 day notice' rule, and tell them not to expect a check. you can send it via certified mail if you like, but I doubt it'll go further thhan this.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar. 4, 2007
    Location
    Western Washington
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    2,994

    Default

    You said you would pay. I would call the BO, say you've reviewed the contract, and there's no language requiring it. And negotiate the settlement.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan. 1, 2008
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    Apparently Everywhere
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    I would send them a copy of the boarding contract plus a REALLY PLEASANT note saying that you are so sorry to leave early and without much notice, but you think there's a mistake. You can't see in the contract where you are required to give 30 days notice and so didn't think you broke any agreement. Thank then for all that they've done taking care of your horse. Alternatively, I'd call and with a very pleasant tone, say the same thing.

    The nicer you are (despite the actual circumstances) the easier it will be to end the relationship. Good luck!

    A.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan. 1, 2008
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    Default

    If you were not out by December 1st, the BO had a reasonable expectation that you were staying for the month. You owe the December board. Most judges will treat a month-to-month boarding agreement just like an apartment lease. You stay past the first, you owe for the whole month.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul. 17, 2007
    Posts
    270

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    Here's the problem. Even though this was an "A" show barn and the facility was supposedly top shelf, there were some major problems with the care. I did not feel like, for the horse's welfare, I could leave him there for any amount of time longer. Don't want to get into any more specifics but will say that for the few days after I gave my notice and the horse remained there, they did some pretty crazy things. If there is no provision for 30 days board payment then how can it be owed, especially if they were not living up to their side of the obligation?

    For what it is worth the only other two times I have left show barns the board was pro-rated. These were instances were there was no boarding agreement or contract.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep. 4, 2007
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    805

    Default

    How long into December did you stay? Did you pay them anything for Dec?



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul. 17, 2007
    Posts
    270

    Default

    A few days. Yes I paid them the pro-rated amount. After they got the check, I got the call about the 30 days notice.

    Let me emphasize that my horse needed to get out of there. If there is no 30 days notice provision in the agreement, I don't understand how Go Fish could think I was obligated to pay through the end of the month.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan. 7, 2002
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    1,534

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Go Fish View Post
    If you were not out by December 1st, the BO had a reasonable expectation that you were staying for the month. You owe the December board. Most judges will treat a month-to-month boarding agreement just like an apartment lease. You stay past the first, you owe for the whole month.
    This sounds odd to me, simply because I pay my board for the month to follow, same as rent. So when I write a check on December 1st, it is for December 1st-31st. Same as my own rent check for my apartment. So, if she were to write a check at the end of the month, would that not be for January?

    The other question I have is whether you actually mean you were pro-rating it. Did you take your monthly board and divide by 30 days, then multiply by the number of days you were at the barn in December? If so, then you may want to look for language regarding pro-rating in the contract. My BM will pro-rate board for horses coming IN to the barn (like Mocha got there on the 26th of the month, so I only had to pay 4 days worth), but will not pro-rate for horses going OUT of the barn (if we left on the fourth of the month, we'd have to pay the whole month). But that does not mean the same thing as 30 days notice.


    ETA: That doesn't mean she's unreasonable, I'm sure if someone were to work it out with her in advance, she would prorate leaving the barn on a case by case basis, but due to the language, she does not HAVE to, and in most cases, will NOT pro-rate a horse leaving. Which makes sense in terms of her budgeting.
    Last edited by achcosuva; Dec. 25, 2008 at 05:21 PM. Reason: Clarification



  10. #10
    Join Date
    May. 31, 2007
    Location
    Aiken, SC
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    I blogged on contracts.

    If your horse was in danger or not getting the services you were paying for then don't pay. If a judge wants to liken horse board to human rent then he can liken your leaving to constructive eviction--not habitable so you had to leave.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug. 3, 2004
    Location
    San Francisco
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    3,825

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    Quote Originally Posted by APirateLooksAtForty View Post
    , I don't understand how Go Fish could think I was obligated to pay through the end of the month.
    Because you said you would. Rather than saying you would get back to her. . .
    A man must love a thing very much if he not only practices it without any hope of fame or money, but even practices it without any hope of doing it well.--G. K. Chesterton



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep. 4, 2007
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    I think you saying you would pay is your sticky point. I would initially say you owe for the full month, since you stayed past the first BUT if you have genuine risks to your horse, that's another story. I do hope you have documented proof, not just so-and-so said they were fed late, I heard they got 2 flakes of hay instead of 3, etc. If indeed your horse was in danger, either by things being done or things not being done, then you had to do the responsible thing and move him for his safety. Danger and unhappiness aren't the same thing, though. Without any details there is no way for us to know which you were faced with. Unhappiness, yup you owe the full month, danger probably not contract or no contract.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul. 17, 2007
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    270

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    No I said I would IF IT WAS INDEED IN THE CONTRACT. I was assuming, you know, they actually knew what was in their own board agreement. Silly me. LOL

    In other words, I said I would pay in reliance on their statements that I had signed a contract to the effect I had to give 30 days' notice. Again there is no such provision in the contract.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    May. 31, 2007
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    Aiken, SC
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    If its not in the contract you have no contractual obligation. They can't add oral terms later.

    Sounds like they breached first if the services you were paying for are in the contract.

    I know that's a blow to a BO, but why else should they do their job well if not to keep horses healthy and customers paying?

    If there were no written contract they may use the common law, but with a written agreement that leaves it out? I might chose that barn simply because of its flexible terms



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul. 9, 2007
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    997

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    I would send a copy of the board agreement along with a note stating that there was no provision in the contract for 30 days notice. Also notate that you will not be paying.

    I might call as well and leave a pleasant voicemail.

    "Hi BO. This is Pirate. I wanted to let you know that I am sending a copy of my contract over to you for your review. I have reviewed it and found no clause stating there was to be a 30 day notice before leaving. As such, I will not be sending a check for the remainder of the board you are requesting. Please let me know if I can help you clear up any other confusion......"

    Gotta LOVE people that don't know what is in their contracts! I once had a lawyer couple (who owned a farm) jack board by $75 with less that 28 days notice. In their contract it said they wouldn't raise rates for a year. At that point I PROMPTLY called them and said I was leaving - and then they told me I had to give 30 days notice. To which I said, "UH, you are breaking YOUR contract, and I am giving you as much notice as I can considering you gave me less than a month's notice of the increase....." Said lawyer said he would sue me. Guess what? He never did and I filed a complaint with the BBB and they were investigated.......
    Sarah in New Hampshire
    My Blog - Adventures in Eventing



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep. 4, 2007
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    805

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    Well you have to do what's right for you and your horse. If they weren't smart enough to provide a contract that would actually protect them, then sounds like you are off the hook. My contract clearly stated 30 days notice, plus asked for a pre-arranged appointment to pick up the horse. I also had to give them at least 30 days notice before any changes to boarding rates, or changes in services. I tried to give them at least 30 days, 60 if possible.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug. 25, 2007
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    9,459

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    Quote Originally Posted by equinelaw View Post
    If its not in the contract you have no contractual obligation. They can't add oral terms later.

    Sounds like they breached first if the services you were paying for are in the contract.

    I know that's a blow to a BO, but why else should they do their job well if not to keep horses healthy and customers paying?

    If there were no written contract they may use the common law, but with a written agreement that leaves it out? I might chose that barn simply because of its flexible terms
    There's a bunch of stuff we don't know, here.

    What state is this in?

    What did the contract say?

    Does the contract permit oral modication? If so under what circumstances? What steps, if any, must be taken to memorialize the change?

    What is the common law, if any, on notice to vacate an animal boarding arragement? Are there any lien statutes that might apply?

    What was the conduct that induced the OP to move? Was it of such moment that it constituted "constructive eviction" (or its equivalent)? Did the conduct constitute of breach of contract?

    If the OP agreed to pay then they should pay as they gave their word. If they gave their word conditionally ("I'll pay if that's what the contract called for") then they are likely not obligated to pay further if the contract constitutes the entire agreement and there are no other statute or common law thay say otherwise. If they removed the horse in violation of an agister's lien then they could have additional problems.

    Or, put another way, there's no way to give effective advice when so much is unknown.

    G.



  18. #18
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    Jan. 1, 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by equinelaw View Post
    I blogged on contracts.

    If your horse was in danger or not getting the services you were paying for then don't pay. If a judge wants to liken horse board to human rent then he can liken your leaving to constructive eviction--not habitable so you had to leave.
    Ah, but you must show good faith effort to remedy deficient services with the landlord. You cannot just boogie on the rent...



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jun. 17, 2001
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    chilliwack b.c.
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    rent goes month by month,whether it is an apartment or a stall.You owe the full month.
    mm



  20. #20
    Join Date
    May. 31, 2007
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    Aiken, SC
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    Quote Originally Posted by Go Fish View Post
    Ah, but you must show good faith effort to remedy deficient services with the landlord. You cannot just boogie on the rent...
    With no lease is it a hotel or a house? If you do not like a hotel you leave. OP actually Pm'd she and she did everything she needed to do and she is well qualified to take care of the matter. I think she was looking for moral support

    I don't think she really wanted legal advice, she just needed to check out the reaction of her peers. I think she was justified and she had every right to boogy. Legally, we have no clue what that particular judge might rule.

    My guess would be split the difference (maybe their day rate) and get those horse people out of his courtroom



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