In an increasingly urbanizing world, boarding horses has become an ideal way for people to still participate in equestrian activities and horse ownership without the need to purchase their own farm. However, boarding arrangements are often far more legally complex than meets the eye. Boarding barns are truly businesses – even if your boarding arrangement is with a private individual at his or her residence. Here’s what you need to know and look for going into one of these agreements.
Basics of a Horse Boarding Lease Agreement
Boarding agreements are governed by a mixture of contract law, business law, and property law. When examining these agreements before you sign, there are a few things to consider:
Who pays for damage caused by the boarded horse?
Having a boarding agreement that details how damages are allocated can help avoid disputes down the road. A number of options are available, like:
- Stable owner as the caretaker pays for damages
- Horse owner as the responsible party pays for damages
- Combination/shared liability depending on the circumstances or type of damage.
With the responsibility for damage clearly defined in the boarding agreement, potential disagreements or legal disputes down the line are nipped in the bud from the beginning.
What happens if the barn owner is informally boarding horses on their property?
An informal boarding facility can still be considered a business and can still be liable in accordance with business standards, even if it isn’t established as a legal entity separate from the property owner’s personal finances.
This lack of distinction can bring about insurance problems if or when damage occurs. Even if you’re only intermittently boarding outside horses, you will want to maintain an insurance policy in accordance with business standards.
What access does the horse owner have to the property?
Oftentimes, because boarding facilities are businesses, they have hours where they are open to the public. These can be subject to change due to emergencies and other circumstances. Open, written communication about the hours to boarders and clients can help barn managers control the flow of traffic on their property and keep everyone satisfied with their accessibility to their horses. Generally, a horse boarding agreement does not give clients the right to do whatever they want on the barn property, but rather allows them access and use of the facilities in their typical function. However, depending on the personal preferences of the parties involved, this is one section where a typical horse facility lease agreement template would need to be updated or amended to protect everyone involved.
For horse owners and boarding facility owners alike, clear terms in the horse stable lease agreement help the situation remain friendly and minimize confusion during the lifetime of the arrangement. Whether you are boarding a horse or running a business, contact BB&C for all your horse boarding contract and facility arrangement needs. With an experienced team of contract drafting and business attorneys who are well versed in the unique needs of the equine industry, we can help in various aspects of arranging your equine business. This even includes LLC formation to protect the property. Please consider using BB&C for all your equestrian business and ownership needs.
The content of this blog is intended to be general and informational in nature. It is advertising material and is not intended to be, nor is it, legal advice to or for any particular person, case, or circumstance. Each situation is different, and you should consult an attorney if you have any questions about your situation.