Legal Questions and Answers for the Horse Community

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Rachel Kosmal McCart
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Rate Hikes at Boarding Stables: What Choices Do Boarders Have?

Q: Our boarding stable just notified us that it is increasing its rates by more than 60%. Is there such a thing as rent control?for boarding stables? Are there any laws to protect boarders in situations like this? What can we do?

A: Horse boarding is almost completely unregulated (unlike housing landlord/tenant situations) and therefore the relationship and its terms are governed by contract. Whether your boarding stable can raise its rates (and by how much) depends upon what your boarding contract says. If your boarding contract is oral rather than written, the boarding stable can amend it at any time. Most boarding contracts do not specifically address the issue of raising rates, but instead have a price list and a clause stating how the boarding contract can be amended. Typically, the boarding stable can unilaterally amend the contract (that is, without your consent) simply by notifying you.

If you don't like the price increase, you can try to talk to the boarding stable owner and work out a solution. If that fails, your only choices are to accept the price increase or terminate the boarding contract and move to another facility. If you do decide to terminate the contract, you will want to read your boarding agreement carefully to make sure that you give the amount and type of notice that the contract requires.

FYI, many boarding stables in the Bay Area are having a hard time staying in business right now. We are all familiar with skyrocketing land values and the pressure for boarding stables to sell their land to developers is huge. Less obvious is the impact that high gasoline prices have had on boarding stables. Because transportation costs have increased so greatly, all stable supplies, from hay to shavings, are simply a lot more expensive than they were a year or two ago. The cost of liability and property insurance, always high for California residents, is increasing every year. Many boarding stables have no choice but to pass some of the cost increases along to their boarders. The dwindling number of boarding stables in our area means that horse owners have fewer choices, resulting in less competition and higher prices.

About the Author: Rachel Kosmal McCart, the founder of Equine Legal Solutions, is a lifelong horsewoman and experienced lawyer. Equine Legal Solutions, the Legal Counsel with Horse Sense TM , offers a full range of legal services for the horse community, including dispute resolution, customized contracts and risk management assessment.
Copyright ©2008 Equine Legal Solutions and the Bay Area Equestrian Network. All rights reserved. The above article is the property of the Author and may not be duplicated or redistributed in any way without permission.