Boarding stables are the homes away from home for many horse owners. Yet, as a stable owner, there might come a time when you have to make the tough decision to evict a boarder. Let’s unravel the myths and provide clear, actionable guidelines on how to handle such a situation responsibly and legally.
Understanding Boarder Evictions in Boarding Stables
Firstly, let’s debunk a common misconception. While boarding stables do have similarities with apartment rentals, evicting a boarder from your stable is a distinct process. The key difference? Horses are viewed as personal property. So, the eviction process is typically driven by contract rather than state landlord/tenant laws, unless the boarder physically lives on the property.
Grounds for Eviction
While stables generally have the discretion to evict for a myriad of reasons, it’s vital to ensure no eviction is grounded in unlawful discrimination, such as race, age, gender, or disability. Common reasons might include:
- Late or missing payments
- Unruly or destructive horses
- Unsafe horsemanship practices
- Conflicts or mismatched personalities
But remember, technically, you might not need a specific reason at all.
Providing Proper Notice
This is a cornerstone of the eviction process. If you have a written contract (which you always should), adhere to the notice period detailed in it. No contract? Experts recommend a month’s notice as a fair standard, granting boarders ample time to secure alternative boarding. There are exceptions, though, especially if immediate eviction is warranted due to safety or legal concerns.
Drafting the Eviction Notice: Key Points
- Brevity is Key: Only state essential details, such as the move-out date/time and any due payments.
- Incentivize Early Departure: Mention a prorated refund for early move-outs to encourage a swift departure.
- Add Daily Charges: Include daily charges for horses and personal property storage if the boarder overstays.
- Format: Always in writing, signed by an authoritative figure, like the stable manager.
- Delivery: Use methods like UPS for quicker, more reliable proof of delivery. Avoid personal hand-deliveries to circumvent unnecessary confrontations.
Can’t Locate the Boarder?
If a boarder who owes a considerable amount becomes hard to track down, don’t worry! consider turning to professional process servers. These experts have the tools and expertise to track down even the most elusive of boarders.
Navigating Financial and Property Concerns
Refunds: Even if not required, consider offering refunds for unused periods. This can smoothen the process, diminish resentment, and minimize disruptions.
Lien on Horses: Boarding contracts often have stipulations about automatic liens on horses for unpaid dues. This allows for the sale or disposal of horses if they’re not removed in a specified period post-contract termination. However, executing these rights without proper legal advice is risky.
Selling Tack & Equipment: Depending on state laws and your contract, you might have a lien on the boarder’s personal property. This can be more valuable than the horses themselves. However, always consult with local counsel to ensure you’re on solid legal ground.
Post-Eviction: The Boarder’s Return
If a boarder attempts to return post the eviction date, they’re trespassing. It’s crucial to report this to local law enforcement. For smooth handoffs of their property, consider setting a rendezvous at the entrance, preventing any potential disruptions inside.
Boarding stable evictions, while emotionally taxing, can be managed efficiently and legally when done right. Ensure clear communication, follow contractual and legal guidelines, and always prioritize the safety and well-being of everyone (and every horse) involved.
To stay updated and ensure your stables operate smoothly, always consult with experts and legal counsel regarding evictions and related matters. Remember, the equestrian community thrives on trust, respect, and mutual understanding.