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Weird sales contract -- mandatory boarding at seller's farm

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  • Weird sales contract -- mandatory boarding at seller's farm

    Hi all, long time COTH lurker here and for the first time ever, I could not find an answer from former posts.

    I am in the beginning stages of purchasing a second horse from the owner of my current stable.

    She sent along a contract (prior to the bill of sale) which looks a little funky. Specifically, there is a provision that states the horse must be boarded at her farm for the duration of his life. Obviously, I will be paying his board, all other costs, etc. once she signs the bill of sale. She also states, that if I move out of state, she had right of first refusal to buy the horse back.

    My question is, this not only seems unenforceable but is it even legal??

    I'm asking my personal lawyer as well but figured this might be a strange enough question that those with horse-wise minds can answer. Thank you in advance!

  • #2
    No idea on the legality...but I would have to reallllyyy like the horse to even bother wading in to this type of crazy.

    Comment


    • #3
      I would not buy a horse with those stipulations. Number one reason: BO is going to be all up in your horse care business. The only way I would agree is if I already knew I was moving out of state and then give ROFR with a hefty price tag.

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      • #4
        Sounds more like a lease or adoption contract, than an outright sale. If those parts of the contract are non-negotiable, I'd walk away. Seems like this owner wants to continue to be in charge/control of the horse after the sale is complete, and that is seriously problematic.
        ~~ How do you catch a loose horse? Make a noise like a carrot! - British Cavalry joke ~~

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by knic13 View Post
          No idea on the legality...but I would have to reallllyyy like the horse to even bother wading in to this type of crazy.
          Ha! This is very true, but I already keep my other horse at the same farm and don't have any plans to leave. I'm quite happy with the boarding situation and the seller's company. I've been training this horse and have been effectively already paying his bills, etc. So this situation is intended to transfer ownership officially as she doesn't want to be liable for his costs anymore. The sale price is low so I'm not worried about losing money. At least, not on the sale...

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          • #6
            I wouldn't buy a horse that I was required to keep at the seller's barn. I have sold horses with 'right of first refusal.' I'm guessing she's overly protective of her horses. However, the net effect of that is that you are assuming all costs and liabilities and the horse is basically still her horse. Would you buy a car you had to park a the seller's house - and pay for parking to boot? If you have fulltime access, are the only rider and you really like the horse - counter with a lease agreement proposal. I would pass otherwise.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by ahorseofmanycolors View Post

              Ha! This is very true, but I already keep my other horse at the same farm and don't have any plans to leave. I'm quite happy with the boarding situation and the seller's company. I've been training this horse and have been effectively already paying his bills, etc. So this situation is intended to transfer ownership officially as she doesn't want to be liable for his costs anymore. The sale price is low so I'm not worried about losing money. At least, not on the sale...
              If you are happy with the boarding situation, the sellers company, and presumably you are expecting nothing to change than why does the legality of the contract matter?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by knic13 View Post
                No idea on the legality...but I would have to reallllyyy like the horse to even bother wading in to this type of crazy.
                Yea, pretty much.


                Once a horse is sold, you relinquish control. Some people are not ok with that. I don't want to be involved with that.

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                • #9
                  BO/seller is trying to have her cake and eat it too. She gets the sale revenues and guaranteed board revenues for life. Nope. Nada. No fruitbatting way.

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by DarkBayUnicorn View Post
                    BO/seller is trying to have her cake and eat it too. She gets the sale revenues and guaranteed board revenues for life. Nope. Nada. No fruitbatting way.
                    Right but again, I have no problem paying her for board since I AM happy there and I do already pay her board. She is the type of person who wants to make sure the horse is safe and sound, which is why she has this provision about board. But practically speaking such a provision is impossible to maintain. If I move or decide to move and actually move the horse, would a judge award her the horse? I doubt it but I don't know my legal risks here.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ahorseofmanycolors View Post

                      Ha! This is very true, but I already keep my other horse at the same farm and don't have any plans to leave. I'm quite happy with the boarding situation and the seller's company. I've been training this horse and have been effectively already paying his bills, etc. So this situation is intended to transfer ownership officially as she doesn't want to be liable for his costs anymore. The sale price is low so I'm not worried about losing money. At least, not on the sale...
                      Arrangements like this work fine, until they don't. And they inevitably don't at some point. There will eventually be tears and hard feelings.


                      "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
                      that's even remotely true."

                      Homer Simpson

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        but is it even legal??
                        unenforceable
                        only if you sign the contract agreeing to the terms .... there is nothing to probate such clauses being inserted ...sign the contract with the terms intact then from what I have experienced with contracts the clause would be enforceable

                        G is an attorney he might have clearer insight

                        But for me I would not even sign such a contract with the line stricken and counter signed by all parties, I would want a new contract without the phase what so ever
                        Last edited by clanter; Mar. 12, 2019, 12:57 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Not a lawyer, but I imagine if you agreed and signed the contract, that it would be enforceable.

                          Send the contract back without signing it, and tell them to entirely remove that statement or no sale.

                          To me, that would be an untenable provision for a sale contract. Assuming the best of the barn owner that she is not trying to have her cake and eat it too (which it sounds like she is, by controlling a horse she no longer owns), there's still too many variables in a person's life to guarantee they'd be boarding at one place a horse's entire life. I think I know of maybe a handful of boarders that have boarded a single horse at their barn[s] for 10+ years. I can't imagine a lifetime. What about retirement board when the horse is no longer usable? What if horse needs rehabilitation at a vet facility for months?

                          Way too much changes in people's lives to possibly guarantee you could board forever at one place. People move, people die, changes in fortune, changes in jobs, needing to support older family members, needing to move for work, needing a better trainer, needing different management... thousands of reasons people move barns and not all of them related to burned bridges.

                          I would walk.
                          AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012

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                          • #14
                            Count me in the no way camp. Even if things are totally peachy now, you can't predict the future. If the seller trusts you with the horse, then she needs to trust you to ensure he's always well taken care of. A right of first refusal clause takes care of the "if you ever sell" aspect.

                            This clause would tell me that the seller doesn't trust my ability to find good care for the horse.

                            The easiest way to approach this may be by shifting the "concern" to the lawyer, though. As in "I'm so sorry, but my attorney has several concerns with this clause right here and has strongly advised me to not sign this contract. Can we remove it/modify it/whatever? Of course I'm just so happy keeping Poopsie here in your care!"

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                            • #15
                              There is no way I would sign something like this. I've been in the horse world long enough to see countless friendships, business relationships, and boarding agreements go sour even between people who were formerly best friends. Just because you are happy there now doesn't mean you will be happy there forever. If the care becomes crappy or you have a falling out with the BO or you get a new job an hour away and need a new barn, would you be willing to give up this horse?
                              Flickr

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                This is not the first time I've read this type of clause to a sales contract in the past year.
                                Everyone balks.
                                What's the upside?
                                I'm sorry, but once the horse is sold to you, it's yours to do with as you please until you sell it.

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by Sansena View Post
                                  This is not the first time I've read this type of clause to a sales contract in the past year.
                                  Everyone balks.
                                  What's the upside?
                                  I'm sorry, but once the horse is sold to you, it's yours to do with as you please until you sell it.
                                  That's the thing, I don't doubt for a second that this provision is crazy. I understand her concern and share the same devotion to care for the horse. But with the bill of sale in my hand, what can she do? Throw herself in front of the trailer?

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    This clause is a flashing neon sign for future drama, hurt feelings, legal issues, and headaches.

                                    If seller will not strike it from contract, hard pass. Regardless of the legality of such a clause, if you sign it (in good faith? In bad faith?) you are giving her ammunition for an argument that then it rebounds to you to batten down the hatches and fight back over.

                                    Additionally I find it suspicious re: ROFR if you ever move. The way you shared it it sounds like if you move you must give her the opportunity to buy the horse back, not if you were OOS and the horse came with you and you ever decided to sell she would be given ROFR (which is less hinky to me).

                                    If BO is a reasonable soul and knows you well (horse care, work ethic, trustworthy) then maybe you can negotiate the first clause out (and clarify the second). Something like "BO, I love the quality of care you provide and I adore this facility and have no plans to leave. However, life is unpredictable and in the event something ever changes in my current situation that requires a potential move I need to know that I can take Horse with me without legal complications arising. I would entreat that you consider removing this provision from the sales contract."

                                    and then also, be careful that ROFR is clear: you can give her the opportunity to buy the horse back but that doesn't mean it's at a price she dictates. I believe there have been several COTH threads to this topic (with much drama) over this point. If you buy horse at $ price, put in $$$ training and get a good show record, for example, if you ever sell you can list horse at $$$$. BO cannot say you need to give her the chance to buy back at the $ price.
                                    Last edited by Edre; Mar. 12, 2019, 02:56 PM.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      A term like that is called a restraint on alienation or post-sale restraint. Generally the law frowns on them because the right to sell goods without restrictions is considered important to commerce. That said, there could be legislation or case law in your state that would make it enforceable.

                                      Regardless, I agree with everyone else that I would not sign that and I might not want to buy the horse. Even if you are super happy with the care at the barn right now, there are infinite reasons why it might no longer work for you in the future. Plus the very fact that the seller wants that term suggests that she will be second-guessing your horse care decisions.

                                      What about suggesting a lease instead, since it sounds like that's what the seller really wants and you said the purchase price is low?
                                      Building and Managing the Small Horse Farm: http://thesmallhorsefarm.blogspot.com

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Its a lifetime (your life) "at location" lease. You are paying the lease fee upfront, in one payment rather than each yearly fee. Paying his monthly costs is the same as any lease.
                                        I don't object to it, but it doesn't have an exit (for you) term.
                                        When you want to exit, how does that work?

                                        Otherwise it,IMO, has some upsides.
                                        edited: a lot of people posted since I started this post.

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