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When people don't pay

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  • When people don't pay

    So I'm sure that this is coming up more often these days --- when someone is not paying for either board or training of their horse(s).

    1) How long do you give it?

    2) What do you do if they continue to not pay?

    3) At what point do you have the "right" (if at all) to sell their horse for the money owed?

  • #2
    I'm a boarder not a trainer, but I would think you would not have the right to sell their horse. But if it is your barn, you have the right to kick them out. Are the people that are slow paying or not paying also the most demanding? If so how much better would things be if they were gone.

    Comment


    • #3
      Depends on the state that you are in (and the laws for each state) as well as what your contract allows.

      The contract at my current barn specifies that the owner can put a lien on the horse and sell it to recover monies owed for board or agreed upon services if those charges are not paid. The specific language says something like, "the manager may, at the manager's discretion and without process of law, retain said horse(s) until the indebtedness is paid in full and/or sell horses as provided for by law to recover such unpaid fees.."
      **********
      We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
      -PaulaEdwina

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      • #4
        A business owner DOES have every right to sieze something placed in their care/custody/control when it is not paid for. It is sometimes called a mechanics lien or similar.

        Each state has specific laws governing abandonment and siezure for non payment. You must abide by them as business owner.

        Typically there must be a written contract and that contract should spell out how long non payment will be tolerated and what steps will be taken after that point to sieze the horse for non payment.

        Most contracts also stipulate the horse does not leave their care/custody/control or thier property unless all outstanding bills are paid.

        It's usually about 90 days when the stable owner can start procedings to sieze for non payment...but, again, that varies from state to state. Almost always, after that 90 days, the owner must be notified by certified mail and given a final deadline for payment after which the horse is forfeit.
        When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

        The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

        Comment


        • #5
          We're dealing with this at my barn. We're actually a club, and members can board. I'm on the board of directors, and we have a couple of people who are behind. After talking to an attorney, there are a few things we can do. First, we can deny them access to the property since we're a club and they're not paid members. We can also put their horses into a locked situation (safely of course - as in locking a gate to a pen where they're outside with water, hay and shelter) where if they did come out, they're not going to be able to ride. We have also turned their account over to a collection agency. Now, according to the boarding agreement, they're not supposed to be able to take the animals away. However, we also feel as though we'd rather the horses just be gone than to keep feeding them for free. These are not horses that would be worth selling to try to recoup expenses.

          Each state has various laws, and it may also depend somewhat on what your boarding agreement says. Check with an attorney - it will be money well spent.
          A proud friend of bar.ka.

          Comment


          • #6
            I'm amazed that barns don't take in a security deposit, like you would if you were renting an apartment. In fact, renters usually have to give a deposit AND first and last month's rent, so it's like 3 months up front.
            Man plans. God laughs.

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            • #7
              i have a couple of boarders here. Board is due on the first with a grace period til the 5th. If that check is not here or they have not contacted me about why it isn't, you can bet I'm at the courthouse filing papers and getting things started.
              I'm willing to work with people but they need to let me know what's going on. Dont just not pay.
              I'm not running a horse rescue out here.
              "Perhaps the final test of anybody's love of dogs is their willingness to permit them to make a camping ground of the bed" -Henry T. Merwin

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Flash44 View Post
                I'm amazed that barns don't take in a security deposit, like you would if you were renting an apartment. In fact, renters usually have to give a deposit AND first and last month's rent, so it's like 3 months up front.
                So am I. If I were to start a boarding barn, I would require a deposit and the first and last months rent. Maybe it is going overboard, but this would give barn owners a little bit of comfort from boarders who quit paying.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I think you are talking about every BO nightmare. Most BO really like the animals and people the deal with.

                  It is very hard to go the legal route, but BO's can't afford to support the world.

                  Every state has different laws.
                  Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                  Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Flash44 View Post
                    I'm amazed that barns don't take in a security deposit, like you would if you were renting an apartment. In fact, renters usually have to give a deposit AND first and last month's rent, so it's like 3 months up front.
                    Don't forget a criminal background check and references!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I think it depends on the situation.

                      If a boarder that has always paid and suddenly loses their job, or has a major illness etc... that hat is beyond their control, then I think the BO should work something out with them.

                      I think the main thing is communication. Maybe the non-payer if they have a good history before this, can work off owed board or trade equipment or some other service to the BO in exchange for a short term non payment.

                      I think in the circumstances today, people need to be willing to work with each other. Sometimes it's beyond a person's control what happens in their job or health, and they have every good will intention to pay their bills.
                      One of a Kind Studio
                      Fine Art Paintings, Horses, Dogs, Wildlife and anything else that inspires.

                      New convert to the cow horse world.. love my QH mare.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I'm also a boarder, but like mentioned before... it really depends on the situation. Why aren't they paying? How far behind are they, etc.?

                        I owe my BO my life right now! I lost my job AND got in a car accident and am now a month and a half (about $400) behind on board! I'm doing everything I can to make ends meet and my horse (since he's leased) will be leaving this Friday.

                        My BO has been overly nice about. He "reminds" me about once a week by saying something then dropping it. He knows there is no point making me feel awful. I just can't pay it.

                        He'll get the one month on Friday and the rest as soon as I get a paycheck (May at the latest ) And I fully intend on adding some interest onto that because I feel so horrible. In the mean time, I will be leaving my tack at the barn as "collateral" so he doesn't feel like I'm running out and he'll never see me again.

                        I would sit down an talk to the boarder. Can she make a partial payment? (Getting enough for hay is better than nothing.) Can she work around the barn for a few hours a week? Does she have some "extra" tack you can take/sell to make up some of the difference? If she's like a lot of people in tough times, she will do whatever she can to make it work. If she's not willing to work with you in any way, then it's time to get serious and think about some of the other things mentioned.
                        Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by La Gringa View Post
                          I think in the circumstances today, people need to be willing to work with each other. Sometimes it's beyond a person's control what happens in their job or health, and they have every good will intention to pay their bills.
                          Yes, this is very nice in theory, but please realize that not every BO has the means to accomodate this. Have you seen the news re: home foreclosures? If the banks can't support people going through a rough spot, can a small-time BO really be expected to afford this? I think a conscientious BO will try to be flexible, but please remember, it's just like any other business where the business owner has to meet their own bottom line.

                          I am amazed at the folks who ask for board/training discounts. Do these folks do the same thing at their doctor or dentist's office? At the grocery store? At their kid's private school? Why don't BOs get the same respect?
                          Please don't sabotash my conchess.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Haalter View Post
                            Yes, this is very nice in theory, but please realize that not every BO has the means to accomodate this. Have you seen the news re: home foreclosures? If the banks can't support people going through a rough spot, can a small-time BO really be expected to afford this? I think a conscientious BO will try to be flexible, but please remember, it's just like any other business where the business owner has to meet their own bottom line.

                            Why don't BOs get the same respect?
                            People often think that because they are paying large sums of money for board, that BOs are making lots of money. They tend to think along the lines of "I'm paying BO $x a month, but my horses feed and bedding only costs $x so BO is profitting from all the rest." That is not the case! They often forget all the "other" less obvious expenses that go along with a boarding and/or training business. Those include: taxes (real estate, excise, payroll, etc.), utilities, licenses & permits (local & state), equipment (the drag for the arena, tractor for a variety of jobs, dump truck, etc.), dumpster/trash hauling, manure removal, supplies (feed & water buckets, hoses, jumps, repellent for the automatic fly system, etc.), repairs & maintenance (a huge variety: fences, jumps, feed buckets, new shingles on buildings, stall mats, etc.), and so much more!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              So I'm with the crew who say that you should work things out with people if they otherwise have had no problems before. Times are tough and if you can afford to work with someone on a payment problem you should. But only if you CAN! Some BO's don't have the means to work with people, they are in a ship sinking just as much as the rest.
                              HOWEVER, the things that annoy me are the clients that don't pay you when you ride their horses.
                              I for one would get a contract signed if I got a new client but I know people who don't and they don't get paid for weeks! Money adds up after a while and then the people want to complain about the huge check they have to write you. To me, and I would say this to my clients, "I come and ride your horses when you need/want me to, shouldn't you pay me when I need/want to be paid?"
                              What would you guys do in this situation? What about the people who aren't BO's they are just catch riders who have clients whom they ride horses for and that's how they make their living?

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Huntrs+eq View Post
                                Don't forget a criminal background check and references!
                                How about credit check vs. criminal record. Of course that is important but people can have minor infringments and still be able to pay their bills.... Credit score, however, would be MUCH more important in assessing the ability to pay your bills.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by katie16 View Post
                                  People often think that because they are paying large sums of money for board, that BOs are making lots of money. They tend to think along the lines of "I'm paying BO $x a month, but my horses feed and bedding only costs $x so BO is profitting from all the rest." That is not the case! They often forget all the "other" less obvious expenses that go along with a boarding and/or training business. Those include: taxes (real estate, excise, payroll, etc.), utilities, licenses & permits (local & state), equipment (the drag for the arena, tractor for a variety of jobs, dump truck, etc.), dumpster/trash hauling, manure removal, supplies (feed & water buckets, hoses, jumps, repellent for the automatic fly system, etc.), repairs & maintenance (a huge variety: fences, jumps, feed buckets, new shingles on buildings, stall mats, etc.), and so much more!
                                  I agree with you. In addition, even if you ARE making money on your boarding business, which I know most people are NOT.... Why shouldn't you be allowed too. If I agree to pay $850 a horse then that is what I agree to pay, even if one of those is a small pony who lives on air and is out much of the day. My point is, whether or not the boarding business makes money DOES NOT mean you can default on your payment agreement, you should have discussed it up front, once you agree, you have to pay no matter how well you think the barn is making out. It is tough times but it is for everyone, so if you are feeling it, chances are the farm owner and trainer are too. I just feel bad for the horses, they can't just be disposed of....

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    There are Agister laws in 49 of the states and dictate what a BO may or may not do under theses circumstances.

                                    In California they are complicated, and it is hard for a BO to do anything, but in Ohio for instance it does not require much more than a registered letter to the owner and a public notice that the horse is being sold.

                                    Check your state Agister lien laws.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by little miss View Post
                                      So I'm sure that this is coming up more often these days --- when someone is not paying for either board or training of their horse(s).

                                      1) How long do you give it?
                                      In reality over the decades, there's been a variety of approaches. I've actually taken folks to court and got my money plus all costs, I've reached private agreement and been paid over time and I've also ended up owning some very nice horses.

                                      Depends on the circumstances. Strictly speaking my customers pay a month in advance. (though practically I have some long standing customers that always pay when they see me and I'm happy to let them run up a bill for a few months). However if someone just defaulted without saying anything, then I'd approach them and say something if I was concerned. Then it would depend on the reason why and whether it was just a simple oversight or if this was a deliberate intent or they were in financial difficulty. Then it would depend on what the horse was like and in particular it's value and if I was remotely interested in taking possession of it.

                                      Then it would depend on the circumstances and if I was concerned that I was going to get dumped on, then I'd enforce my legal agreement and rights quickly.

                                      2) What do you do if they continue to not pay?
                                      See above. I'd always start by talking to them and seeking an agreement to pay off the debt. If I thought they were in real difficulty then I'd reach some sort of deal whereby they paid over time with something whereby the horse came to my ownership well before it reached its market value.

                                      3) At what point do you have the "right" (if at all) to sell their horse for the money owed?
                                      Ordinarily, unless it was a horse I wanted either for myself or to sell, I'd take action long before I got to that stage.

                                      My contracts say:

                                      Credit Terms and Payment: Billing is monthly on the last day Sunday of each month and is for a period ordinarily one month in advance. Payment is to be made within 7 days of receipt of an Account to Pay. Late payment fee of £10 per month is applicable to overdue accounts. Accounts overdue by more than 30 days may necessitate recovery through County or Small Claims Court. It is understood that in such event that the Owner will be obligated to pay any legal fees and other costs incurred to the Proprietors of Flodden Edge Farm Riding and Driving Centre

                                      Termination of Contract: This contract will consider to have been terminated in the event of any breach by either of the parties, by mutual consent and agreement or by giving 60 days notice of termination and on payment of all Livery fees and other costs due.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Haalter View Post
                                        Yes, this is very nice in theory, but please realize that not every BO has the means to accomodate this. Have you seen the news re: home foreclosures? If the banks can't support people going through a rough spot, can a small-time BO really be expected to afford this? I think a conscientious BO will try to be flexible, but please remember, it's just like any other business where the business owner has to meet their own bottom line.

                                        I am amazed at the folks who ask for board/training discounts. Do these folks do the same thing at their doctor or dentist's office? At the grocery store? At their kid's private school? Why don't BOs get the same respect?

                                        I think with today's climate of massive job losses, things are different now. Have you ever lost your job and had no income? Have you had a catastrophic car accident?

                                        If the BO can't accomodate, then they should try to help the owner find a place to keep the horses that they can afford, or can arrange a working exchange or something.

                                        Banks are working with people today.. they have to. They are giving people options to reduce payments, there are programs to help people in trouble. We are in a near depression people. Wake up.. The banks don't win if they take the houses... they end up losing too.

                                        Good honest people are being majorly affected by this every single day right now.

                                        It's going to have impacts on everyone.

                                        Maybe the horse owner is trying to sell and get rid of the horse to pay the BO, but with the current market, horse sales are down too. People are abandoning horses and dogs, and houses etc.. I think if an owner is doing everything in their power to pay, people should work with them.

                                        It's a very bad time right now. Sure not every BO will be able to do this, they won't be able to afford the feed etc... but in cases where there are field board options or the ability to exchange work for board.. that option should be looked at for people that are just in hardship right now.
                                        One of a Kind Studio
                                        Fine Art Paintings, Horses, Dogs, Wildlife and anything else that inspires.

                                        New convert to the cow horse world.. love my QH mare.

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