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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71158
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I have 5 horses and a horse box that have been abandoned on

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I have 5 horses and a horse box that have been abandoned on my rented land. I have sent an invoice for payment for the care of the horses for the past 5 weeks stating payment required within seven days and if payment was not received within 30 days the horses would be sold to recover my costs. I have also posted abandoned horses posters at the entrance to my stables, notices on each stable and posted one to his house stating that if the horses were not collected within 14 days then they would be re-homed, sold or humanely killed. I have also sent a notice that the horse box should be removed within 14 days or alternatively that he may wish to sign the vehicle over to me so that I can sell or scrap the vehicle with no cost to him. as of today I have received no response to any of the requests that I have sent to him and need to resolve this matter as I can no longer afford to care for the horses the deadline stated on each letter for the requests has past. I would like to sell the horsebox and horses to recover some costs and would like to know where I stand with this. I have been told that the bailiffs have recently visited his home address and that the person who owns the horses has left the property.

Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

Are you asking if you can sell?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.


Hi Jo, yes I would like to sell them to recover some costs if I am unable to do this then I would have to try and re-home or regrettably have them are some of them humanely destroyed. as for the horsebox lorry I would be happy to give away or scrap if I can't sell it.

Do you have a CCJ against him?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi Jo,


No, i don't have a CCJ against him.

Thanks for the information.
I do completely see your position and I don’t blame you for not wanting to have these on your property.
This is an issue of the law of abandonment of goods. As a general rule you are under a duty to take reasonable care of the property of others if its left in your care. However, there are obviously limits to that.
Abandonment is very badly defined in law. Goods are generally abandoned if they have been left for a period of time that is not ‘reasonable’. What is reasonable depends on the facts of the case - in particular the value of the item either financial or emotional but also the inconvenience to you. A small item would be easier to store and so you would be required to keep it longer than a bulky one which clogs up your space.
Overall, though I do think you have given him fair opportunity to collect these. You can only do what is reasonable. If he is refusing to engage with you or not giving you numbers upon which he can be reached then thats his problem. Personally I would send him one more text saying that he has one week to collect his belongings and in default you will remove them. Then if he does not you would be justified in removing them.
Of course, it is possible that he will turn up at some point and start making threats about this. Then you will have to defend any action that he brings on the basis that the goods were abandoned.
In terms of whether you can recoop your costs, the simple answer is that in legal theory you cannot but in practice its often a very effective way of settling a claim. If you have a dispute in law you are supposed to sue to resolve it but since there are counter claims potentially here keeping the funds would just mean he would have to sue you and then you could counter claim for your losses.
Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.
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