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Background checks on boarders? Discuss

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  • #21
    I guess I'm looking at it like renting an apartment for my horses isn't really different than renting an apartment for myself and these days landlords generally want to do a background check. So I'm not at all offended by the idea. As I think about it, though, it's not the same since a BO does not have the same legal obligations as a LL. In any case, I'd have no problem being asked for references which would probably be the most useful to the BO. I wouldn't be thrilled but also wouldn't balk at being asked for 1st and last. And I would consent to a credit check (even though my credit isn't very good I do see it as part of a picture someone I will be owing money would want to see). But I would expect a very well run ship in return.

    I have much greater reservation about a criminal background check. But that's based more on my own philosophical beliefs than on having anything to hide. I have no criminal record but I do think we should have a system where people can to move on with their lives after paying their debt. But do I realize that's a sticky business.
    An auto-save saved my post.

    I might be a cylon


    • #22
      Originally posted by jetsmom View Post
      When you rent a home, you aren't borrowing money either, but most landlords run credit checks. So do car insurance companies, and many employers.
      Yes, and as I posted those are entirely different issues.
      If I'm renting a car, or renting a house from you, - I am in possession of something that you own, therefore of course you need my info, and I'm fine with that. Just as I would be fine with having either run on me by an employer if that was pertinent to my actual job with them.

      However.. following that argument - the BO is now in possession of something I own / and I employ them to take care of it
      - I should be getting a credit check and criminal check done on them I guess.
      Originally posted by ExJumper
      Sometimes I'm thrown off, sometimes I'm bucked off, sometimes I simply fall off, and sometimes I go down with the ship. All of these are valid ways to part company with your horse.


      • #23
        I think asking for a security deposit is always a good idea for a BO, and I've always been willing to offer one as a client. I've only gotten scr*wed out of it once, at a barn in CT where the BO threw my trainer out on a couple days notice, and kept my deposit when I followed her - despite giving the required notice - claiming my horse had damaged his stall. (She actually claimed he had bent the STEEL bars of the grill, LOL...)

        I would not be willing to submit to a credit check nor a background investigation as a condition of boarding, simply on principle. I can provide any number of references from trainers, vets, farriers, etc and if that is not sufficient, well, I'd simply board elsewhere.
        We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


        • #24
          Originally posted by ako View Post
          I will pay a one month's security deposit before I would give a BO access to my social security number and credit info. References and the rest I'm OK with. But my credit info (spotless) is absolutely none of their business!!
          I too have great credit and I'm cheap. Together, that makes your solution make no sense to me.

          The point of having good credit is to not have to pay to lessen the financial risk someone takes when they do business with me.

          I never care (in principal) if someone wants to check my credit score. But if I told them it was good, I'll be damned if I'm going to pay their cost of checking that out... and finding that lo and behold! I make word, deed and money match.

          Sigh, OP. Such a huge range of opinions here! This doesn't make standardizing the industry any easier.
          The armchair saddler
          Politically Pro-Cat


          • #25
            I don't do background checks, but I have gotten to the point where I only take boarders by referral(s), or that have come up through my lesson program so I know them.

            For me it isn't so much if they will pay on time/at all, as much as if they will fit in to my barn atmosphere.
            Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


            • #26
              While I have never been subject to a background check other than when I was hired into a medical setting, and have never considered a background check as part of boarding, I can see where it makes sense. Unless you are boarding at some huge equestrian center, a lot of these boarding barns are run on the property of somebody. These somebodies, in my experiace, are often very generious with things like leaving their house open for bathroom useage, inviting boarders into their house to discuss horse care, even inviting boarders for meals. I can see where a BO would want to do a background check on somebody before letting them onto their property and into their homes.
              Maggie Bright, lovingly known as Skye and deeply missed (1994 - 2013)
              The Blog


              • #27
                I don't think background checks are appropriate for borders at all. Personally I would not want the BO to have that information about me - it is none of his/her business. If she wants to check references, get referrals from past BOs/Trainers, fine. But a background check is something you do for someone you hire, not on someone who is hiring you (which is often forgotten in this situation).
                "Choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance the tides" - Garth Brooks
                "With your permission, dear, I'll take my fences one at a time" - Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey


                • #28
                  As a BO, I really think that doing background checks is not a good solution. I think it might offend some potential clients who are honest normal people and good payers as well. To be sure, some owners end up paying me much more each month than a rent check, but it just isn't industry standard to do a credit/background check for boarding right now and I think it wouldn't come across well.

                  I also think that prompt board bill payment doesn't necessarily correlate with an owner's wealth or credit score. Red flags for payment issues are: out of state/absentee owner, low value horse, overly keen interest in special deals/discounts, or any mention of financial issues. It's amazing how often people discuss financial woes up front--I guess they are thinking I will feel sorry for them and give them a break, but since I'm running a business I really am not interested in taking on clients who are letting me know up front they might have problems paying their horse's bills.

                  If I'm worried about a person's criminal background or mental status, or sometimes just randomly for no reason, I check references--like a quick phone call to their vet or to their trainer or previous BO or so someone that we both know. These conversations are typically very productive. Occasionally a quick google search is helpful. As far as I know, it's hard to get an accurate criminal background check because a lot of times people with a criminal bent like to move around a lot and a lot of records are kept locally. As far as mental health, a person's psychiatric issues are private information--there's no legit way to access that.

                  I agree, it's tough because one of the most uncomfortable aspects of boarding other people's horses (for me, at least) is the incredible amount of access boarders have to your property, your barn, your animals, your other customers, your customer's animals, your equipment and if you live on site, even your house. I once had a boarder just walk on into my house one day through the back door, it was innocent enough but yeah, it scared me.


                  • #29
                    Some of the most problematic boarders I have dealt with (as a fellow boarder and as a part-time barn employee) have been the crazy drama queens who were obsessive about paying bills on time and have spotless credit if it were ever checked. The most recent one was wealthy, but bat sh*t, baying at the moon crazy. That kind of stuff doesn't show up on a credit check.

                    I think asking for and actually checking references would be a better way of weeding out the bad seeds.


                    • #30
                      I think references are great. I would be fine with a security deposit, although I've never been asked.

                      But running a credit check on me? Sorry, no. The only "people" that I've ever given that kind of info to were companies (I've never rented a home from a single owner, only an apt from a rental company), and I like that one-step-removed format. And the sense that even if one employee is a screw-up or whackjob, there would still be sane people to deal with at the company.
                      Proud Member Of The Lady Mafia


                      • Original Poster

                        Originally posted by CHT View Post
                        I don't do background checks, but I have gotten to the point where I only take boarders by referral(s), or that have come up through my lesson program so I know them.

                        For me it isn't so much if they will pay on time/at all, as much as if they will fit in to my barn atmosphere.

                        And that's important also. But having been the subject of many a background check, plus credit checks for rentals, mortgage, car loans, I guess I am not offended by them. I sense that several people are aghasted by the thought of someone doing a check, and while that's a foreign concept for me, I *do* actually understand where some people feel it's an invasion of privacy.

                        I don't know how boarders were screened where I used to work, and I only had one boarder who was a nutbar when I was BO, and the only reference she had was her last boarding facility as she had just gotten into horses. Naturally THAT BO gave her a stellar reference . So reference will only go so far. What about the person who is just getting into horses, just bought or is looking to buy, etc? A standard check done at most rental agencies would cover scary credit and warrants/criminal history, nothing else, and they are done by outside agencies that are hired for just this.

                        This is the one near me used by most rental agencies.

                        I mean, think of all the threads about people up in arms about child molesters at barns. Probably something good to know, right? Just a thought, loving the discussion . I obviously don't want convicted felons at my barn, that's a bit of a problem for me.
                        COTH's official mini-donk enabler

                        "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl


                        • #32
                          Originally posted by TheJenners View Post
                          I mean, think of all the threads about people up in arms about child molesters at barns. Probably something good to know, right? Just a thought, loving the discussion . I obviously don't want convicted felons at my barn, that's a bit of a problem for me.
                          Ah, but sex offenders are easy to look up on the sex offender registry. That doesn't take anything more than a name (assuming it's not an alias). Nothing is 100%, but I would just have to draw the line at providing my SSN#. I have a security clearance and I won't take a chance of messing up my credit.

                          I still believe former BOs, vets, farriers, trainers should be sufficient reference. Let's face it, checking with vets and farriers is a good way to gauge how someone pays their bills, how they treat their horses, and generally what level of crazy that person is.


                          • #33
                            I have no idea what my credit score is because I've never had any debt or a credit card. I saved up and bought my car in cash when I was 17. I've never been late on a payment for anything--including leasing fees, lesson fees, and other barn related purchases.

                            That being said, I wouldn't consent to a credit check because I believe my financial history is none of a BO's business. If multiple references for other barns on my ability to pay on time are not enough, then I can move on and find someone else. I'd view it as a warning sign if a BO wanted access to such private information. I don't even feel comfortable giving my SS# to employers.

                            At the same time just because somebody is doing well now doesn't mean they always will be.


                            • #34
                              Well, regarding ex-felons, isn't the point of serving time that you've paid your debt to society?
                              Even people on the sex offenders list, in some states it's legal to marry at what? 16 with permission? but have relations without permission and bingo, you're a pedophile - perhaps (apocryphal, maybe) stories about 17 year old boyfriends being arrested by parents on their 18th b-days for statutory rape have me being less than enthused about "lists".

                              So, what's the difference between a boarding barn and an apartment? I know there is a huge lack of standardization in boarding barns and a lot more codified for apartments and what they have to offer as their minimum - how about making an analogy between a college dorm and a boarding barn? What standards and checks would people be comfortable going through in the dorm situation and how would it relate to animal custody and control?
                              Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                              Incredible Invisible


                              • #35
                                I would not consent to a credit check. I honestly think this is ridiculous -- the boarding barn is providing the service. The boarder is hiring the barn to provide a service. Would anyone here ask for a credit check on a potential employer because they want to be certain they will be paid??
                                Why must you chastise my brilliant idea with facts and logic? **picks up toys (and wine) and goes home**


                                • #36
                                  I would (and have) happily pay a security deposit and give as many references as needed, by I don't feel a background check and credit history are necessary in a boarding situation. If a potential barn wanted to run them on me I would look elsewhere, no concrete reason why, it's just my personal feeling on the matter.
                                  My blog: Crackerdog Farm


                                  • #37
                                    Hey, I love my low-value horse. He's mah Boo . Besides, it's not like big ticket horse means the owner/rider is any good right?

                                    I think you'd get alot more information about the kind of boarder a person is going to be by referral and reference more than a credit score. I would also fall into the category of not giving up my ss# without you having some serious secure document protocol in place.

                                    He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).


                                    • #38
                                      I would be happy to consent to a full check of my credit, criminal record, psychiatric diagnoses and any other kind of check that a BO wanted to do.

                                      However, she would have to sign consents for me to do the exact same checks on HER.


                                      • #39
                                        Jenners, I think that a lot of people nowadays are very sensitive about giving out their personal information. There are a lot of horror stories about identity theft or other misuse of personal information. A lot can happen--a small business may not store information in an appropriately secure manner or the BO/BM might gossip inappropriately, or a BO/BM might charge someone differently for services knowing that they just bought a two million dollar house or $120K car. I know of one local small business that recently accidentally sent out an email that contained some customers' credit card information to a group of other customers--that's pretty bad, but what if they had accidentally included SSNs? Also, while I like to think of myself as a responsible businessperson, the fact is that many boarding barns come and go in a fairly fleeting manner and there are plenty of stories of unethical/dishonest/disorganized BOs/BMs out there. To be sure, the same could be true of an apartment rental company, but I guess people are just used to that. As a BO myself, I still would not be comfortable giving a boarding barn the information necessary to run a credit check or allowing them to do so.

                                        And ladyfreckles, I don't know how you get away with not giving your SSN to your employers, they kindof need that, legally, for tax purposes.


                                        • #40
                                          I think it would be completely appropriate for a BO to ask for a security deposit and personal references. Those things are far more insightful. Most of the problems at barns occur when peoples' personalities clash or if someone brings in a crazy horse that causes trouble. Personal references can give you some inkling about those types of things.
                                          Last edited by SnicklefritzG; Dec. 21, 2012, 11:56 PM.