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Old 12-17-2008, 05:30 AM  
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late board payment

How do YOU handle late board payments? We run a very small boarding and training operation, and 2 of my 3 boarders have not yet paid for the month of December. And this is a chronic problem. Maybe in a larger opperation this would not be a problem, but this is my bread and butter or should I say oats and molasses. All kidding aside how would you handle this. I do not want to tick them off too bad, but they need to pay NOW!
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Old 12-17-2008, 05:36 AM  
 
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When I had my stable, we would ask them straight out for their board when they were late.
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Old 12-17-2008, 05:38 AM  
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I too have one and unfortunately in the small farms it seems to be an issue. I finally evected her this month AND took the horse cuz she is behind 500 bucks . Start looking for someone that appreciates your services, then toss.

ETA: I also tack on late fees, if board is a week late then it an extra $15 and after the 15th of the month its $25.
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Old 12-17-2008, 05:40 AM  
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Are you assessing a late fee after say the 5th of the month( that is if boarding fees are due on the 1st of each month), if not I would make sure that you started. Money is tight for everyone and having to come off an additonal 10 - 20 % late fee may make them think twice.

If it is a chronic problem then a reminder to folks that just as they wouldn't like there paychecks to be late because they depend on them, you are in the same situation.

When I boarded, chronic late payers were put on probation after the third time in a row, and they knew that they could possible loose there spot if someone with up front payment was looking for board.
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Old 12-17-2008, 06:04 AM  
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As was already stated you need to tell them and and on a late fee, sometimes it is better to have them pay in two payments, perhaps that will work.
If not start to look for another boarder .
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Old 12-17-2008, 06:50 AM  
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Do your board contracts address the issue of late fees? How good is your relationship with your boarders?

Life has "happened" to me a lot as a single mom over the years. Following my divorce, I had to juggle all of my bills for a very long time. It was frustrating, it was embarrassing, and I felt like I was constantly having to tell everyone my life story.

Among the creditors I had to do this with was my landlady. Basically, what she told me is that she will work with me as long as I call her in advance. There were a couple of months where she collected my rent in two installments. If I am just late without talking to her in advance, however, I will be charged a late fee. I was deeply grateful to her for working with me, and I made darn sure it didn't happen very often.

My suggestion is to talk to them about it. There may be extenuating circumstances as to why they are late. You can tell them, nicely, that you need their board checks, and that you will need to charge a late fee. Definitely talk to them, though, so that they understand that paying their board checks on time is a requirement. You don't want this to become a habit.

My roommate just lost his job, and did not qualify for unemployment. It was unwelcome news, and I need the money. However, he's an exemplary roommate when times are good, and he is a big help to me in many ways, so I am working with him. Money - in installments - is better than no money at all, and I am sure if I get nasty, he will be outa here, and then I won't collect a dime. He is very, very worried about it, and talking to me almost every other day with how his job search is going - and slipping me cash when & where he can - so I am being nice and working with him. Honesty makes the difference.

On the other hand, there are people like the boarder who brought 4 horses to the farm where I board my mares, and she is not feeding and not paying board on her horses, and not answering her telephone. It affects the BO (not me so much), but it infuriates me because they are very nice people, and are being taken advantage of. Not to mention that she's being completely unfair to her horses.

There are also people who claim to be broke but spend their money on other things. We've all known those kind!

Deal with them directly. Nip it in the bud. They need to pay up.
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Old 12-17-2008, 09:09 AM  
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I definitely agree with Rhiannon, I would talk to them about it first and then do what everyone else is suggesting. Those late fees are a good idea
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Old 12-17-2008, 09:29 AM  
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There are some circumstances for one of them. There always are for her. When I went to pick up her horse from the old farm she had him boarded at she had a $1,500 balance, and the BO would not let me load the horse on the trailer until she got there which was about 2 hours. I don't know if she was trying to skip out on the bill or what. I know the economy is bad, but this is a business and I have due dates on my light bill, Christmas is here and no money to buy presents, and all of this womans presents have been purchased. Oh and this animal really puts meaning behind eating like a horse.
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Old 12-17-2008, 09:53 AM  
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The fact that she had a $1500 balance at the last farm should have been a huge warning flag for you. Bills should be paid first if the person is the least bit responsible,and presents second. We are not doing Christmas here due to extra bills and truck repairs that popped up that need taken care of, the kids are older and understand.Tell this lady to grow up or look else where to mooch.Really if she can't pay the board on time she should not own the horse.
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Old 12-17-2008, 10:08 AM  
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How late is she? What does your contract state?

As dimpleflirt stated, the $1500 unpaid at the last place should've been your big warning that she was going to be trouble. You can't change the past, but you can make sure that horse doesn't leave your property without her paying up.

I agree that you need to be more assertive about being on time with board payments. Don't be afraid to spell it out clearly about late fees, etc.

It's not easy but sometimes it has to be done. Niceness, with the wrong people, leads to being taken advantage of, and you just can't afford that.
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Old 12-22-2008, 07:13 PM  
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This might sound crazy but after this person missed 3 months payments the relitive who runs the Farm put the horse and the tack in a Trailer,took it to the home of the owner and tied the horses to her tree and left the tack . Knocked on her door and said here's your horses we are square
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Old 12-24-2008, 08:47 AM  
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Late Fees

I run a boarding farm. I have a contract that states the late fees. I am pretty steep but it gets them there on time. I have been luck except one boarder. I charge $5 per day per horse late fee starting on the 2nd of the month. Most of my boarders give them to me early and post date them for the 1st. I have only had one try to skip out. I cought her and blocked the drive way. Made her leave a check with me for the full amount owed. I didn't care if it bounced because I would still win. If it is over a certain amount it is a felony and will have them charged. Also florida law says I can sue for 3 times the amount of the bad check. So I informed them of this and they wanted me to hold it for a week. I did and it cleared at there bank. Some times you have to fight fire with fire.
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Old 12-24-2008, 09:58 AM  
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Do you think it is that they can't pay, or just that they are lazy about paying? If she is just lazy, then mail her bill and ask for post dated cheques. I don't think people use cheques very often anymore, so some people just forget to bring one to the barn with them.

If it was that she couldn't pay, then I would suggest installments, and possibly the option of working off some of her board if that works for you.

Definately on board with the late fees, and possibly even offering a discount if people pay with post dated cheques.

It may be easiest to give/send her a letter that outlines her options: pay now in full plus pay January, Pay for Dec and send post dated cheques for future months, or an installment plan to bring her up to date. This may be the easier way if you are not good at confrontation.

Good Luck!

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Old 12-24-2008, 09:32 PM  
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Well, now that you mention her being in arrears at the previous stable for $1,500...

And the fact that she's bought Christmas presents, while YOUR family is going without...

I say Bull___t on that one!

I think you need to call her up and get in her face. You can be professional and business-like, but I think Sonseeahray is right on the money with this. I think she's the kind of person who takes advantage of people. If she did it to someone else, she will do it to you. It sounds like she's already moving in that direction.

Nip it in the bud! Horses are a luxury item. They are NOT like heat, lights, food and shelter. If she cannot afford to pay her horses' bills, she should not have them.

Let us know how we can help!
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Old 12-24-2008, 09:43 PM  
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straight from Stable Management book

Lien and Mean

The stable manager started with the best of intentions. It had been months since a customer paid his board, and the debt was large and growing by the day. Remembering something she had heard about stables putting “liens” on horses under similar situations, the manager unilaterally declared the stable to be the horse’s owner. Then, the stable found an interested buyer and sold the horse, never expecting the trouble that would follow. But it did.

The police lodged charges of conversion and theft against the stable for the illegal sale. The horse’s new owner sued the stable because the breed registry denied registration papers and because she failed to receive clear title. And the former owner, the one whose failure to pay board started the problem, filed a lawsuit of his own against the stable for theft and conversion.

Problems like this occur when stables, in an attempt to eliminate a few hundred dollars of unpaid board debt, take drastic action without following the laws of their state. These problems can be avoided if stable managers review the law before taking action and follow the law to the letter.

Stablemen’s Lien Laws
Almost all states have laws on the books that are specifically designed to give lien rights to horse boarding stables. Many of the laws also give special lien rights to people who provide certain services to horses, such as veterinarians or farriers. These laws are often referred to as “stablemen’s lien” or “agisters lien” laws and they differ widely across the country. They usually explain:
• whether a stable can have a lien on a boarded horse
• how the stable can secure a lien on a boarded horse
• how many months must pass without payment of board before a stable can enforce its lien rights by selling the horse or by sending notices announcing a sale
• whether the stablemen’s lien sale must take place through a public auction, “public sale,” private auction on the stable’s property, or through other means
• what procedures, if any, the stable must undertake before the horse can be sold to satisfy the debt. For example, in some states the stable must send special notice letters to the non-paying horse owner. Other states, such as Ohio, require the stable to advertise legal notices of the forthcoming sale in the local newspaper. A few others, such as California and Massachusetts, may require the stable to go to court and ask a judge to approve a lien sale before it takes place.
• who must conduct the sale. Some laws require a court officer to do this, and others may allow a public auction sale.
• whether the stable may insist on keeping the boarded horse in its possession before the sale occurs—which it can in Wisconsin, Michigan and many other states.
• what, if anything, the stable must do after the sale if the sale brings in more money than the amount of the debt. Some states, such as Texas, require the stable to refund any excess money to the horse owner.

How the Laws Differ
State laws differ significantly as to stables’ rights when board has not been paid. A few examples:

• Laws in some states give stables a lien automatically, with no obligation to file anything, until the stable is paid in full. These laws can also give the stable the right to insist on continued possession of the horse until the debt is paid. For example,

1) Michigan Compiled Laws Section 570.185, states, in part: “Whenever any person shall deliver to any ... person any horse ... to be kept or cared for, such ... person shall have a lien thereon for the just value of ... the keeping and care of such animals, and may retain possession of the same until such charges are paid.”

2) Nevada Statutes, title 9, Chapter 108.540, states, in part: “Any person furnishing feed, pasture or otherwise boarding any animal or animals, at the request or with the consent of the owner or his representative, has a lien upon the animal or animals, and may retain possession thereof until the sum due for the feed, pasture or board has been paid.”

• Some laws require stables to go to court before they can take action in selling off a horse due to unpaid board. For example,

1) Missouri Statutes, Title XXVII, Section 430.160, regarding enforcement of liens, requires stables that claim a lien to make a special filing in the circuit court within its county. The non-paying boarder is notified of the filing, and the matter is brought to trial. If the stable wins, it could receive the right to sell the boarded horse.

• Similarly, Arizona Statutes, Chapter 11, § 3-1295, states, in part: “If possession continues for twenty days after the charges accrue, and the charges have not been paid, the person retaining possession of the stock may perfect the amount of the lien by filing an action in either superior court or justice court, according to the amount in controversy, in the jurisdiction of the holder of the stock.... If the prevailing party does not receive payment due within ten days after the final judgment of the court, the prevailing party becomes the owner of the stock. The court shall award the prevailing party court costs and reasonable attorney’s fees.”

• Some laws allow stables to hold a horse when board has not been paid and then sell the horse without first going to court. For example, Connecticut Statutes, Ch. 847, § 49-70, states, in part: “When a special agreement has been made between the owner of any animals ... and any person who keeps and feeds such animals, regarding the price of such keeping, such animals shall be subject to a lien, for the price of such keeping, in favor of the person keeping the same; and such person so keeping such animals may detain the same until such debt is paid; and, if it is not paid within thirty days after it is due, he may sell such animals ... at public auction, upon giving written notice to the owner of the time and place of such sale at least six days before such sale, and apply the proceeds to the payment of such debts, returning the surplus, if any, to such owner.”

Because of these and many other differences among the laws, stables should read carefully the law that applies to them. Stables that follow what others have done—after learning over the Internet how they handle their own unpaid board problems, say—could be asking for trouble. Since stablemen’s lien laws are often complex, and since harsh penalties could potentially follow if stables violate them, it makes good sense to hire a lawyer to protect your rights.

Alternatives to a Lien Sale
When confronted with unpaid board, stables have alternatives to the stablemen’s lien laws. They can file a lawsuit against the non-paying horse owner. If a stable chooses this option, it bears the burden of proving the existence of the debt, who owes the money, and the exact amount due to the stable.

Stables can improve their chances for success by maintaining good records, such as copies of veterinary and farrier invoices that the stable may have paid for the horse.

If the stable wins a judgment against the non-paying horse owner, the state law may give many options to enforce it and collect the money. These options can include selling off the boarded horse, seizing certain bank funds, or having certain deductions made from the non-paying boarder’s paycheck. These options can also vary by state, so it’s wise to discuss them with a lawyer.

This article does not constitute legal advice. When questions arise based on specific situations, direct them to a knowledgeable attorney. Julie I. Fershtman is an attorney with over 21 years experience who serves the horse industry. For more information, visit www.equinelaw.net.
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Old 01-05-2009, 09:36 AM  
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Altho this doesn't help you, Ontario has the Innkeeper's Act and the Innkeeper (from a bygone era) or Stable Owner has an automatic lien on a horse for an unpaid bill.I'd let them know that you intend to put an ad in a local paper stating their names and how much is owed for horse board and if not received in full within 30 days that the horses will be sold at public auction.
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Old 01-05-2009, 10:38 AM  
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Time for a barn meeting. contract in hand stating the rules of payment with late fees etc.. make everyone sign it and enforce the rules. We all know poop happens but if your lively hood depends on payment then you have to get tuff. you could give them options like say payment in full or pay on the 1st and the 15th of the month and make them sign off on what one they are going to choose.
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Old 01-11-2009, 12:17 PM  
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I have a contract the very clearly states late fees and automatic lein on any horses with an unpaid bill.. if they get to 30 days late the monthly board bill acually triples.. (includes late fees which is compounded weekly.. which is 20% of total bill per week..
so board is $150.. first week its late ad 20% which is $30.00.. now the bill is $180.. second week ad 20% OF $180.. $36.00
New Balance is $216.00. third week ad $43.20 new total $259.20 fourth week ads $51.84 so total for being one month late is $311.04

It's pretty steep but it keeps people paying..
And I have 14 boarded horses.. so obviously the honest peole aren't scared of the fee
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