Help - horrible situation at my yard(20 Posts)
A casual friend of mine came to me last September to say that her horse was being evicted from the yard where he was grazing and she asked me if she could graze him instead on my land. I agreed to this verbally and she asked me how much she could pay me, so we agreed on a sum of money in cash per month.
Nothing else was verbally agreed and nothing was put in writing. Unfortunately over time her behaviour at my yard became more and more unreasonable and, despite a number of written requests to stop, the behaviour (some of which I considered to be dangerous at times) did not improve. As well as this she became very difficult to deal with at times and would refuse to communicate with me. She would also be late most months in paying.
Eventually, as I could not make contact with her face to face or via the phone, I sent her a text message on her mobile phone to say that I was going to have to give her one month's notice. I sent this text message on 27th May and asked her to vacate by or on 28th June.
Since I sent this text message to her the situation has seriously deteriorated. She has unfortunately played out the situation via the medium of Facebook, to which I have not responded. Her husband has also been verbally aggressive during an encounter down at the yard. He brought me another overdue payment in cash and then a few days later followed it up by asking me to issue a receipt. I do not and never have issued receipts for anything, so I did not acknowledge his request.
Yesterday I bumped into the lady down at my yard and politely asked her what her plans were for moving as I would like to make arrangements to collect the keys to my property from her and ensure she had all her property upon leaving my yard. She told me she did not know exactly which day it would be and then promptly left.
I have since had the following text message from her husband saying the following: "I still haven't received a receipt for the June field rent paid to you. Nor have we yet received written notice to leave. As I'm sure you know, the legal position is that the notice period commences on the date at which we receive the formal written notice from you. Unless you are happy for the current arrangement to [potentially] drift beyond the end of July you ought really to issue the formal written 30 day notice without further delay, along with the overdue receipt."
Please could someone please advise me about where I stand with this? This person is due to leave my yard with her horse this Friday (28th June), yet it appears they seem to be implying that they will stay as long as they like unless I do as they ask. I am starting to feel quite intimidated and very distressed by this situation.
Thank you in advance.
All I can do is send you a hug, and fingers crossed some one will have answers
Did they acknowledge you text regarding leaving your yard on Facebook or by text? If they did I presume this could cover you in terms of the notice period.
Why do you have an issue with regards to a receipt?
I am not a lawyer.... So someone may have better advice.
I would issue a receipt - it just removes the situation.
With regards to the notice - has she acknowledged on Facebook u have asked her to leave/given her notice. Or do you have a copy of a text from her acknowledging the notice.
If you do , I would print a screen shot of this, and write a polite letter, advising that as per your verbal contract, you issued notice on x date via a text message. This was acknowledged by such and such on y date and as such , you are not prepared to revise this date, and you expect your premises to be vacated, and left in a reasonable condition on that date.
What you want is evidence that they recognized that notice had been given.
Even better if you have a friend who is a lawyer - ask them if they would mind writing the letter on your behalf.
If you don't have evidence of them acknowledging the notice, then you may have to issue again - but I would send it recorded delivery so they have to sign for it - and you have evidence that they have received it.
What a pair of bullies.
Mmm, makes you wonder why they were evicted from the last place doesn't it? I do feel for you, I hate situations like that, but people here have given some good advice by the looks of it. Hope you get rid of them soon.
Thank you so much for your replies so far.
I can't go too much into the details about why I don't want to issue a receipt at the moment, suffice to say I feel they might use it against me at a later date.
Thank you very much again.
Have you not declared what they have paid you?
I'd go and see a solicitor if I were you to find out where you stand. I think you can usually get the 1st half hour free. It sounds like a nightmare situation, I hope it all gets sorted soon!
Can you not just take the horse to her house & tie it up in her garden?
There is no "legal requirement" for you to issue written notices or to give any particular notice period. You have in effect given them a licence to use your land, and this can be subject to any terms and conditions you like.
You have made things a bit difficult for yourself by not having a formal written agreement and it will be more difficult to prove what has or has not been paid as you don't issue receipts, but that does not matter in the end. If it came to a legal dispute, it would just be a matter of proving what your agreement was, partly by one person's word against another and partly by any evidence that can demonstrate what your customary practice is.
As you have no written agreement, you can just terminate their licence without any warning what so ever. They don't have a 'right' to any notice. However, to make things easier for yourself if you do have to take legal action to evict them, it is better for you to cover yourself by issuing them with a letter (keep a copy for yourself). Your letter could give them one week's notice, if you want them gone, but if you think they are going to kick up a big fuss about having one month's notice but they would leave after the, you may decide it is easier for you to issue them with this, rather than get into a legal fight trying to get them to leave.
Also, if they are being verbally aggressive to you or by written form (block them from Facebook for starters) then you could always ask your local police to give them a harassment warning, which means that if they continue they can be prosecuted for harassment.
Ring your insurer,most of them include legal cover in their policies and will be able to advise.Good luck,I had a similar situation with a pony a couple of years ago and it was very stressful.
Seek legal advice.
If it were me, if the horse was not removed by the aforementioned date, I would put up an abandonment notice stating that if the horse was not removed by its owner within 14 days then it would be sold at the soonest auction.
See also: http://www.redwings.org.uk/welfare/advice-and-information/abandonment/
In my neck of the woods after notice has expired, the horse is sold at auction or taken to the hunt for dog food depending on its condition, no messing. It's a shame people act so irresponsibly but I guess that's the world we live in...
Here the horses are held to bill paid in full
I'm making an assumption that you don't want to issue a receipt because you are not declaring this income and that is entirely your business , however in order to end this situation would it not be worth just writing the notice letter , but give them 1 week and give them the receipt for the month they asked for . If they have been paying in cash they will not be able to prove that they have given you any other money should they report you to the HMRC other than the month for which they have a receipt. If you never had a formal agreement in writing I don't see how you are obliged to give them a months notice so just give them a week . If horse is not gone at the end of the week report it to the police as abandoned and either get your keys back off them ( with or without police assistance ) and change your locks.
Just a quick message to say thank you so much to everyone who has taken the time to reply to my query. I really appreciate your help.
Call their bluff and send a written notice by recorded delivery (so they can't deny they received it). At worst,they will be there for a few extra weeks. Just keep an eye on your property in case ou get vengeance theft/damage. People can do upsetting things.
Can you change the locks? Not something I would ever advocate but I have known a yard owner take belongings and the horse put them the other side of the fence and change the locks. Horse was tied to the gate just before the time the owner was expected?!
If everything were verbal I wouldn't put anything in writing or issue a receipt. Well you put your text in writing!!
How awful for you.
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