Problem Boarders

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Credit: Thinkstock

Credit: Thinkstock

Some people are hard to please no matter how hard you try. In a boarding situation, these are the ones who are always complaining, or making unreasonable demands far above the expected provisions of your boarding operation. Some boarders are problems because they are discourteous to others; some flaunt the rules and upset the normal rhythm of the facility. Some create dangerous situations, while others fail to clean up after themselves. Some are consistently tardy in paying their board bill or fail to pay altogether.

So, what can be done about such problem people to restore harmony and peace within the boarding facility?

Prevention is always the best medicine in limiting future problems. Ask for character references and make it a point to contact these people before accepting the boarder into your barn. Interview the prospective boarder to find out what their exact expectations of your service might be, and also to inform them in detail about what you will and won’t provide for them and their horse. Have an advance credit check done to ensure that the prospective boarder can pay the board bills.

Running a boarding operation is an arduous job that can be satisfying when things go well. But, when one or several people upset the flow and the routine, it can make the barn manager’s life miserable.

What do you do when your diligent screening process has failed to identify that someone is a problem boarder?

No matter the circumstance, it is always best to pull the problem individual aside into a private conversation to discuss the complaints (on both sides) and to seek resolution through some form of compromise. If the boarder is that unhappy with the service provided by the farm, then they may be eager to be released from their boarding contract. Then everyone can go their separate ways and spare themselves further hassle.

But, if an amicable agreement can’t be reached, then look to your boarding contract for details about your rights as a barn owner. In most cases, the relationship between a boarder and the owner of the boarding facility are under the governance of the boarding contract signed by both individuals rather than being under the auspices of any particular laws.

Your boarding contract should include exact stipulations as to cause and manner of boarding termination and eviction. A common clause states that either party can terminate for any reason with 30 days’ notice, but you should also include a statement of “termination for cause” that releases the boarder with shorter notice, usually seven days.

With regard to a boarder who fails to pay, a barn owner might want to include a contract clause that describes how termination of the boarding agreement enables taking possession of the horse and any equipment if they are not removed from the premises within 90 days of termination. 

Remember that your attorney should write, or at least read and approve, your contracts.