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Leasing out my barn, in my backyard

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  • Leasing out my barn, in my backyard

    I suck at doing searches, so I apologize if this has been covered a hundred times!

    I have a horse property on 1.25 acres. I have a 3-stall shed-row barn with run-outs attached to each stall. I also have an area (attached to the run-outs) and a round pen plus two hay/tack sheds. Due to finances, I would like to lease/rent out my horse facilities. I do not want to be involved with anything, like feeding or cleaning. I will do maintenance and blade the arena.

    Where do I go from here? I know I'll need a good contract. Does anyone have a good one to start with? What are considerations I need to think of? Let me know the good, bad and ugly. I am only doing this so I can keep my house. I need the extra income.

    By the way, my greatest fear is people not taking care of their horses, deserting them, not paying, and then I'm stuck with their horses and all the problems that come with it.

    ETA: The horse facilities are literally in my back yard, only feet away from my house. No luxury of space!
    Last edited by JumpQH; Dec. 12, 2012, 08:41 AM. Reason: more info

  • #2
    You need liability insurance. Contact a company, like Broadstone, that specializes in horses.

    I board 8 horses at my private barn; I've found asking for references -- and calling them! -- as well as trusting my gut to be useful in screening people. Never take someone who's raising red flags for you, even though you need the money as they could turn out to be more costly in the future!

    You could put the word out with your local Pony Club -- that's a generally knowledgeable audience who would potentially be better educated about self-care, and also on a budget.

    I'm sure there are things I'm leaving out but those are my initial thoughts.
    https://www.facebook.com/SugarMapleFarm
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    • #3
      This is probably obvious to you, but on the off chance you haven't thought about it, don't forget to address in your contract longterm items like upkeep of the turnouts (as in seeding and such if you don't plan on just dirt lots) and, esp. with that small an acreage and its proximity to your house, things like manure removal (who is responsible, how, and how often). For comparison, we spread our manure from 5 horses in unused or resting fields, but we have 36 acres. With 3 horses and 1.25 acres, I don't think your land would handle that option. You are hopefully in an area where your setup is typical and there are ways to handle these management issues, but I throw that out as you don't want a giant manure pile just outside that barn that is only feet from your house.

      Try to anticipate issues like -- will your tenant have a weird schedule where they are driving up in the middle of the night, setting your dogs off barking, shining arena lights through your bedroom window? Not something you can probably help, as anyone leasing the whole facility is going to want completely free access, these are just things to consider on the front end so you are ready to cope. Good luck and with the right tenant, your setup could be a godsend! Make it attractive to lease your barn rather than have to pay separate board for 3 horses ...
      If thou hast a sorrow, tell it not to the arrow, tell it to thy saddlebow, and ride on, singing. -- King Alfred the Great

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      • Original Poster

        #4
        Thanks, guys! You have brought up things I hadn't thought about, which is why I love COTH!

        Comment


        • #5
          Pay up front and in advance, maybe 6 months. It's a lease not a month to month boarding situation, yes on the insurance and if there is anyway to separate the parking from your parking do that, rope it off. Is there a bathroom in the barn, running water?
          If you could find a really big barn in the area (who would not consider you competition) go speak to the owner there. If your lucky, they will be sympathetic and give the ins and outs for your area. If you are really lucky, you might suggest your barn as a layup barn for overflows of the big barn or for horses who need a quiet rehab, but keep it clear that it must be run by them.
          I think that would be best, because this is a big project.

          Comment


          • #6
            PS I don't own a farm, run a farm or anything of the sort.
            Personally I think I'd do something else, maybe lease to a smaller animal, goats or sheep or chickens, though there wouldn't be as much money in that.

            Comment


            • #7
              Write your contract carefully. Be sure to list the maximum number of horses to be kept at ANY time. Address damages versus normal wear and tear. Think about utilities? Is your barn separately metered? If not, how are you going to split electric? Ditto water if it is not from a well. If you don't have bathroom in the barn, then stipulate that the tenant MUST rent and maintain a porta-potty. Address emergency situations -- what are you to do if nobody can be found and it's an emergency? Insist on a hefty security deposit and make sure the tenant keeps current on rent. Insist that the tenant carry liability insurance as well.

              Most of all, be picky about who you take. Check references carefully.

              I think for the right party, this could be a wonderful situation. It's a real bonus to have a horse person living on the property 24/7 to keep an eye on things. I know the OP doesn't want extra work, but just knowing there is back-up to feed if there is an emergency at home or a big snowstorm makes the rental attractive.
              Last edited by IronwoodFarm; Dec. 12, 2012, 02:16 PM.
              Where Fjeral Norwegian Fjords Rule
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              • #8
                If I had a horse at present this would be the ideal situation for me.

                However, do your homework on each person who inquires - ask for and follow up on references (have 1 be a vet), and I'd ask for first and last month rent for a security deposit. The people who are willing to pay this are generally the ones I'd think to be the most serious.

                Decide whether you want one person renting out the entire facility, or if you are okay renting stalls and their attached run-outs. Make sure to have SPECIFIC responsibilities spelled out in the contract as well, and do not be afraid to enforce them.
                Lucy (Precious Star) - 1994 TB mare; happily reunited with her colt Touch the Stars

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                • #9
                  PM me your email and I'll send you my Self-Care Contract. It covers all bases, including rules.
                  <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.

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                  • #10
                    Make sure the increased wear on the property and use of lights/heat/water justifies the income.
                    i would do a 30 day probation then 6 months- 1 year contract with payment of several months....

                    In a situation where they do all the care I really don't think you can have "barn hours". I would however, specify if they have to wear helmets, if they can have visitors come out (and ride), and bring dogs. You have to protect yourself from liability.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Consider the increase in cost for electricity and water and make sure you work that in to your rate.

                      I leased in a situation like yours for a few years and I loved it. I didn't have any contract (duh!) because it never occurred to me before I joined COTH. I had just gone door knocking at horse properties trying to find a place for my horses and landed upon a lovely one owned by an older lady.

                      I would suggest that you try to find someone who has done self care before--either at their own home or in a coop or something because then you increase your chances of having someone who understands what is required.

                      Not sure where you live, but who will mow the pasture? Maintain the fence? Fix stuff in the barn if it gets damaged? Plow snow if needed? How will you rotate if you have 3 horses on that small of a place? What are your rules about guests on the property? Hours?

                      I think that if you're patient, you can find the right person. But another consideration going into winter is that it's harder to get hay in a lot of places this time of year. I always had all my hay lined up by the end of July. It can be difficult to find and difficult to transport depending on your area this time of year.
                      A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                      Might be a reason, never an excuse...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Run a credit check and get first and last months lease payments as a deposit up front.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          ...we did sort of what you are going to do.

                          We set the farm up as an independent corporation which then leased the land and improvements back from us to use as a for profit boarding barn.

                          We did this specifically as a level of insulation as this was before the Professional Equine Liability Acts were put in place.

                          ----

                          There also were tax reasons as to why we did this. By the farm being a for profit activity, the improvements were put on a deprecation schedule, the farm had its own income from the boarding of the horses which allowed the farm to pay the workers. Since the farm was a C-Corp it could award scholarships.

                          I just advise you to consult with a tax attorney versed in farm/ranch tax law. In our case we owned the land, the farm was a privately held C-Corporation and the stock that was boarded was owned by our business which was a S-Corp.
                          Last edited by clanter; Dec. 12, 2012, 04:47 PM. Reason: expanded explaination of why

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Google the heck out of anyone you are considering. While you may not find everything, you may find things that are good to know. Check to see if the courts in your state put active legal cases on the web. I wouldn't lease to someone involved in a bunch of litigation, cuz that's a red flag that they are a headache.
                            I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
                            I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I allowed a woman to lease my barn space/pastures once when I had no barn pets. She was supposed to lease the space for her horse (for a few months only) and then provide all the care and food. Boy, was that a mistake. She was good for about three days and then didn't show up to feed her elderly horse and then stopped providing hay and never brought in bedding.

                              I was completely unprepared for someone to simply not show up to feed their elderly animal so I thought something horrible had happened to her and called her - then fed the mare myself. Turns out her excuse was that she was sitting poolside with a glass of wine and didn't feel like going out.

                              Grrg. After this happened multiple times I told her to leave. That poor mare.

                              After the fact people all over the Town contacted me and told me she had done this over and over with everyone in the Town. She had been brought to my farm by a horsewoman up the road that knew this and didn't tell me.

                              A good lesson for me. Even if I didn't have my place filled with my own pets now I'd never do it again.

                              Sounds like you are going about it in a responsible way (not like me). The best of luck to you.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I sure wish you luck with this and you have gotten great suggestions. I can say my family have done this, for free, as they have a great spot, and had thought, "as long as we are not responsible, what could go wrong??"

                                Well....as others have mentioned,

                                horses getting loose at all hours
                                drunk boyfriends!!
                                dogs (barking, snarling, etc)
                                lax fencing
                                managment of mt manure
                                two boarders who did not get along
                                "guests" of boarders (see above)
                                wierd hours (as others have noted)
                                driving all over the wet lawn (leaving GIANT divets)
                                concern about adequate horse care

                                These can be overcome and if you get a great person, its fabulous. But if you don't...talk about a drama llama!! I also support you looking at the extra electricty, particularly if they use heated buckets-she had an extra hot water tap put in but that sure isn't cheap.

                                good luck! sounds like quite an endeavor!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  In addition to the rest about how to inspect the bejesus out of your tenant and protect yourself as a landlord, I'll speak to one change in yourself that I suggest your consider.

                                  OP, you sound not-psyched to do this, "just doing this to raise the money to hang onto my house." Whoever ends up in your little back yard, I think that you should wrap your mind around the facts that 1) being a landlord is work; 2) even when they are a PITA, your tenants are helping you get something you want.

                                  I promise you, there will be some unwanted "customer service opportunities" in this gig. Know that going in so that those surprises don't make you bitter.

                                  Oh, and another suggestion: For things like maintenance and manure management (which will be a big deal on a small property), I suggest that you do those things and built those costs into your rent. If you want a job done well, by and large you have to do it yourself. So do that, but charge for it.

                                  Best of luck to you. I think you *can* find the right people for your place.
                                  The armchair saddler
                                  Politically Pro-Cat

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    the leasee needs to carry commercial liability ins (even if they are not running a business) and list you as the additionally covered. That way, it cost them, not you. You will be giving up your privacy. Remember that. Possibly delivering pizza 3 nights a wk is better?

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Are you in a horsey area? maybe start with your neighbors - does anybody need an extra stall or two for winter? heck, maybe you could rent the building for hay storage and skip having animals there at all. Store trailers in your paddocks? If your neighbors are already in the habit of taking care of their own horses, maybe someone would jump at the chance to have an extra stall or two available just down the road? and being in the neighborhood and a "known" quantity maybe they'd be more invested in taking care of things?

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I am trying to wrap my head around how much money you could actually charge just for rental of the space and am having trouble understanding how this would be financially beneficial given the additional considerations. I suppose it depends on your area though...have you researched the going rate for rough board with limited facilities?

                                        I second considering trailer or RV storage as a possible option.
                                        Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

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