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Collecting Past-due Board without the Song & Dance, by Julie I. Fershtman



Boarding stable owners sometimes feel pressured by ever-increasing costs of hay, shavings, and feed, while their clients resist rate increases and sometimes fail to pay. What can a stable do? Many stable owners believe that non-paying boarders are a reality of the business, but boarding contracts can help the stable in these situations. For example:
The contract can allow the stable the option of raising rates by giving each customer notice of an upcoming raise, such as thirty days or more. The contract can also allow boarders the option of giving the stable notice of termination within that time so that a boarder unhappy with the increase can plan to move out before it takes effect.
The boarding contract can include an interest rate for unpaid balances (where allowed by law). Because maximum allowable interest rates vary from state to state, be especially cautious before recycling a form contract from another state. Remember that interest rates charged by a bank or credit card company are probably much higher than the rate a stable can charge.
Where allowed by law, the boarding contract can include a specific and reasonable late payment fee/administrative charge that the stable can impose when board is not timely paid.
The contract can include an attorney fee clause.
Carefully worded contracts can help avoid disputes, but boarding stable owners should review their state’s stablemen’s lien law carefully, as well.

Categories: Boarding, Contracts,
Julie I. Fershtman, Shareholder, Farmington Hills, T: 248.785.4731
Julie Fershtman is considered to be one of the nation’s leading attorneys in the field of equine law. A frequent author and speaker on legal issues, she has written over 200 published articles, three books, and has lectured at seminars, conventions, and conferences in 28 states on issues involving law, liability, risk management, and insurance.
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