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Non-reliable boarder - can I give her 30 days?

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  • Non-reliable boarder - can I give her 30 days?

    This is a little long, but please bear with me:

    In the spring I got a call from an old acquaintance of mine. She said her sister was in a bad boarding situation and needed to move her mare ASAP. Mare is on pasture board, which is fine with me since stall space is at a premium here. Everything was great. She (the sister) signed my boarding agreement which of course has the clause in it that you have to pay on time, I reserve the right to give 30 days notice of eviction, etc. A month or so later I hear from one of my farriers that this woman has a history of bouncing checks. She used to be her farrier and had it happen to her a couple of times. Around the same time she bounced a check to my vet. I became watchful, but since she was paying board on time I was fine. The thing that bothered me however is that no one from the family ever came to see the mare. The woman's daughter, who is a college student, never rode and and no one comes to see the mare. Ever. No farrier appts. are made for the mare and she has not had her feet done in about 5 months. Fortunately she's one of those mares that just has great feet, but still. Her excuse has always been that she's ill (she has cancer) but this is behavior that has, from what I've heard, always been a problem with her regardless.

    Fast forward to August. I didn't get a board payment. I sent numerous emails, left plenty of voicemail messages. Nothing. She kept saying she would get the money to me, but never did. September arrives. About mid-September I receive a voicemail message (I was on my honeymoon) that she would drop a check off during the week. I get back and she hadn't. A board check for August and September finally appeared last week. But I guess in my book it's too little too late. Even though she has *finally* paid board for August and September I'm inclined to give her 30 days and be done with it. Now of course legally I can, but what would you do? I've never been in this situation before and I've never had to evict a boarder. Would you guys do it? We have a long, hard Michigan winter approaching and I really don't need the headache of a boarder that I can't trust to pay on time when hay prices are expected to be quite high. WWYD?
    Thanks in advance.

  • #2
    Sadly I am about the same with one of my l-o-n-g time boarders here. Add to yours the horse is old 29 - I have cared for her for 17 years. But she is uber behind the mares teeth and feet need to be done and the owner is permanent SSI All I got was empty promises and now she has not answered her phone in a month or more.

    I feel your pain! I am preparing the 30 day letter today.
    "If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there"

    Comment


    • #3
      fargone, your boarder should have made an effort to at least contact you with an explanation or at least return your calls promptly as a courtesy. You will save yourself a great deal of anxiety and turmoil if you end this now. Good luck!
      "We need a pinned ears icon." -MysticOakRanch

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      • #4
        Get it done before winter sets in ~ give her 30 days notice today * this is 10-1-09 ! She has shown you twice ~ don't allow her to do it a third month: she has had ample time to come to you and explain if she has a problem and work out some alternate payment schedule. IMHO
        Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "

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        • #5
          I have learned that you need to trust what people are showing you about themselves and stop giving extra chances and the benefit of doubt. I had to ask someone to leave who had multiple horses here. Horses just weren't getting good care and when I pushed about that I didn't get paid and got treated pretty badly. Don't want to be associated with people who don't do right by their animals and who steal and cheat.

          The horse has not had it's feet done in 5 months, no one comes to visit her and they are starting to get funky about paying their bills. Give them their 30 days notice. It's not worth the aggravation to have to chase people around to try to make them do the right thing and they'll just get mad either way.
          2016 RRP Makeover Competitor www.EnviousBid.com

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          • #6
            win-win situation here: Can you help find the horse a lease or new home? It might be a good thing all around.

            Comment


            • #7
              I think Chall is right: try to help her find a boarding situation.


              The woman is (you state) being treated for cancer. I think it would be good karma to do her (and her horse) a good deed.

              JMHO.
              "The formula 'Two and two make five' is not without its attractions." --Dostoevsky

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              • #8
                I think Chall is saying find the horse a new owner; if you can that would be win-win. I wouldn't try and find a new boarding situation, though. Either the new boarding barn is great, and then why would I recommend someone who doesn't take care of their horse or pay their bills; or the new barn is not great, and then why would I recommend they move their horse there?
                https://www.facebook.com/SugarMapleFarm
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                www.PeonyVodka.com

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                • #9
                  I would give her notice today as well - it might take some time to actually evict her.

                  Not your fault she has cancer. They own the horse, they need to rehome her if need be.

                  You are running a business. If you like the mare, offer to buy her outright, but I would not just ignore the situation. It will not go away!

                  Good luck.

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                  • #10
                    I couldn't do it to her if she has cancer and is perhaps going through a terribly rough time right now, but that's just me.

                    I've had this on my boarding stables. A highly tragic cancer story. Multiple horses, owner paid first month and thereafter fell behind. Months went by without board payment and then the death of the cancer victim. Horses were sold at owners request and receipted payment was given to me in lieu of board owing. At no time did I pressure the owner to pay as this really was an awful situation for her to be in; and you know what? To this day I am so glad I didn't. I feel good for allowing her the time to grieve over the death of her child and to get herself back on her feet again. I knew she would do the right thing by me and she did.

                    Obviously every situation is unique and you have to weigh up the pros and cons of everything. I am in a fortunate position to be able to carry a number of horses for months on end should anything untoward happen to their owners, if you aren't then perhaps you should just give her 30 days notice.

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                    • #11
                      It sounds like you're inclined to act now because she has a reputation for being late/off with payments, etc. I see the sense in that, but I also would have major hesitation because in this instance, at least, she has a very legitimate reason to be inconsistent and inattentive to her normal responsibilities. Maybe call or visit her and tell her "Look, I've mailed the 30-days notice but I wanted to tell you in person. I'm sorry about your situation, and I'd like to keep your mare, but I can't afford to not know when your check is going to arrive." Maybe she apologizes and offers a solution and you believe her, or maybe you think she's still a bad risk - either way, it's all out in the open, which is usually better, and you braved the horror most people have of confrontation to speak directly to her, which is always better. Good luck!

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                      • #12
                        Chall is saying.. yes, if you can, help horse find a new Mom. Cancer patient has much on her plate. You are trying to responsible financially to your self and horse needs caring and attention= new owner or lessee. (And yes, you can be the new owner if that works for you.) Aiming for the highest good all around.

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                        • #13
                          you might want to add a clause to your contract that you can terminate the agreement at any time, for any reason (or for specific reasons, if you prefer), so you don't find yourself in this situation again. Good luck!
                          "I gave my life to become the person I am right now. Was it worth it?”

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Zu Zu View Post
                            Get it done before winter sets in ~ give her 30 days notice today * this is 10-1-09 ! She has shown you twice ~ don't allow her to do it a third month: she has had ample time to come to you and explain if she has a problem and work out some alternate payment schedule. IMHO
                            She has a history of being bad pay. The first few months lulled you into thinking you were exempt. True colors are now showing.

                            Get rid of her ASAP, before she gets too far into you.
                            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


                            • #15
                              Yikes, how do you evict a 29 yr. old horse you've known for 17 years? The horse would be part of the family by that time.
                              "You gave your life to become the person you are right now. Was it worth it?" Richard Bach

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                There's no excuse for not paying. It's easy to set-up automatic payments thru your bank account. Some barns accept credit cards or even Paypal. You can send several months worth of checks to be deposited a month at a time.
                                Paying your board is not just paying a "parking fee". That barn owner uses your board $$ to buy food for your horse! To pay for shavings in your horse's stall! To pay for seed on the pasture your horse grazes on!
                                Believe me, you don't get rich from boarding!

                                If you (boarder, whoever) are having financial difficulties you need to fess up and make arrangements to catch up. The worst thing is trying to pretend there's no problem, saying "the check's in the mail" and it never appears.

                                I require a deposit from my boarders, yes, even those who are long time friends. My boarding contract states that the deposit CAN be used for farrier, vet, or board bills and is to be REPLENISHED ASAP. At the very least I know I can pay my farrier, vet, so they don't start avoiding my barn!
                                I also offer a 10% discount for payment of 6 months or more at a time. With the $$ up-front I can purchase in bulk and save $$.

                                But all this is great for the OP to think about "from now on".
                                Today, I'd give notice to the delinquent boarder.
                                You're entitled to your own opinion, not your own facts!

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Thanks for all the replies thus far. I did indeed email her this morning giving her 30 days and I will be sending a certified letter this afternoon to her mailing address to the same effect. A couple of months ago she did email me to say that she and her daughter had decided to sell the horse because they "didn't have enough time for her". My feeling is that the reason was not because of time issues, but money issues. I had also called her sister (the acquaintance that had sent her to me) and she didn't even get back to me. Either this family never learned to use a telephone or they just want to avoid the situation.

                                  I guess I do not feel inclined to help find another boarding situation because a) they want to sell the mare anyway and b) why make this someone else's problem, especially considering they bounce checks all over the place. And as far as selling the mare, they really have made no efforts from what I have seen to do so. In my letter I alerted her to a Paint and QH auction at Michigan State University (mare is a Paint) and told her that from what I understand it's a great place to sell and relatively safe from unwanted buyers (slaughter).

                                  So honestly I can see that I could get sucked deeper and deeper into a bad situation if I'm not careful. So I went ahead and pulled up my big girl panties and gave her notice. Now we'll see if she actually does something about it.
                                  Last edited by fargonefarm; Oct. 2, 2009, 08:22 AM. Reason: spelling

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Good for you. It is hard to do this, but you have to protect yourself - and it isn't as though this is the first time they have bounced a check. I agree with you that you shouldn't help them find another place - putting your reputation on the line.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I think that the horse's welfare should be paramount -- which, in this case, sure seems to mean finding another owner OR a lease situation.

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        I actually did offer to help. I offered to take flyers of the mare to the local 4-H Fair week in July and encouraged her to use Dreamhorse or other venues, but I never got a response. And since these people live locally I can say that I haven't seen any "For Sale" type flyers or ads for the mare. So if they want to sell her the way they say they do, they're sure not trying. And while I am concerned about the welfare of the mare and will obviously try to do right by her, my primary concern is for my business which is my only income. I should not be expected to take care of someone else's horse pro bono at the expense of other prompt and courteous boarders.

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