Think about a contract you’ve signed. Whether it’s a loan on a vehicle or a lease on an apartment, there are consequences if you don’t pay. The vehicle might be impounded or you might be asked to move out. Your clients should know that there are legal ramifications for failing to pay fees for boarding, sales, lessons and more.
“We want to have a powerful incentive for boarders to pay us on time," said Rachel Kosmal McCart, an attorney and founder of Equine Legal Solutions, PC. "Also, we're concerned about reports from all over the country about boarders disappearing and leaving horses behind. If that happens to us, we want to be able to find the abandoned horses new homes,”
For the first time in nine years, Samantha V. Buncher, founder of Sky High Equestrian Center in Lake Charles, Louisiana, had a client with a past due bill who stopped responding to phone calls, text messages and emails.
“Our contract includes a clause that explains to a client that they can’t touch or pick up their horse without paying in full,” she said. “It also says that if the bill is not paid and property picked up in 30 days, it becomes our property.”
Despite the statement in the contract and the follow-up, the client didn't respond.
“In the last communication I had with the client, I stated a date I needed to receive a response," she said. "If I don’t, I’ll be contacting our lawyer to be sure we’re following the correct process.”
For this reason and others, it’s critical to work with an attorney familiar with the horse industry in your state to draft a contract that can protect you and your business when people don't pay their bills as stipulated.