Scotland: ownership dispute

Miss L Toe

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OK, dont all jump with criticism.
I want to know if ownership of my horse has been transferred because the girl has paid half the money.
I told her at the outset he belongs to me until paid for.
She claims ownership after paying 50%
Police think it is joint ownership and tell me not to take him home.
The contract was payments every week, this has not been kept up. Therefore the contract is broken.
The horse has lost 75kg in 150 days, his condition score is now 3/10, but apparently her vet told police the horse was in good condition! He looks about 28 , backbone sticking out, no muscling, depressed.
An interview with a solicitor is £120............ no point if the answer is available on here.
Anyone want to know her name, just pm me.
I want to get the horse back as he is so sad.
 
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Brightbay

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Can you speak to a Citizen's Advice Bureau rather than a solicitor? I think they are more helpful with civil issues.

Poor you and poor horse, why are people so mean and unreasonable? :(
 

s4sugar

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What does the sales contract say?

If he were in joint ownership why couldn't you fetch him home?
 

ozpoz

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BHS have a legal advice hotline for members. Really hope you manage to sort it all out.
 

Miss L Toe

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Unfortunately I let my BHS gold Membership lapse, due to thinking I had sold the horse. I am sure the answer is available here.
The gates are locked and I cannot remove him without breaking in.
I do not understand why people want horses when they are not able to afford to feed them.
The reason I offered horse for sale was that I could not afford to keep him.
Some money has been paid. At one stage they want it all back in spite of the fact that I have had considerable problems and expenses and they have broken the contract. communications have broken down.
 

Miss L Toe

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What does the sales contract say?

If he were in joint ownership why couldn't you fetch him home?
Joint ownership is something the police came up with, it is not something I have agreed to.
I have been told to keep away from him by the police.
As in many disagreements, the agrieved party [me] is outraged while the swindler is smiling.
 

Dry Rot

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Can you not get an initial consultation with a solicitor for free? I think it used to be 30 minutes free but wouldn't be surprised if they'd stopped doing that. Why not phone and ask?

My instincts tell me that there is a legal contract for sale as part payment is "consideration" and the horse is hers, but she is in breach of contract and you should sue for the balance which she still owes.

It does frighten me when people say, "I told him/her xxxx". All she has to do then is turn around and say, "Oh but you didn't" and it is one person's word against another. Another thing is that you might very well have said that, but did she agree? It takes two to make a contract.

It is really quite simple. When you've made a deal, you go home and sit down and write a friendly letter while your memory is still fresh. "Dear xxxx, just a short note to clarify what we agreed today. Blah, blah, blah. If I have misunderstood, please let me know. Otherwise, I'd be grateful, if you would sign and date the enclosed copy of this letter and return it to me". She signs above a statement, "I hereby agree that the above is an accurate record of he facts" or similar. So much easier if things go wrong. Sorry to be a know-all but these situations are very upsetting and it really is best to be prepared for when things go wrong. Been there, done that, got the T shirt.
 

zaminda

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If he has lost that much weight, could you involve welfare organisations? Also why, if police say it is now joint ownership, are police telling you to stay away? Surely as you still own at least 50% of him you have a right to at least see him, and check on your asset?
 

MagicMelon

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I dont think the police have any right to tell you to keep away. The girl I understand, has paid 50% therefore you still own half. You also say she has stopped her monthly payments (I assume this was to pay for the horse in full?), so she has breached her contract. Assuming you had a contract drawn up?

Personally if it were my horse and there was fear for its health, I'd just go and get it immediately. Screw the girl, he's your horse as she hasn't paid for him. I assume the passport is still in your name (although that doesnt stand for much). It would make things a lot easier if you had the 50% that she's so far paid you, then you could just leave a cheque for her at the same time.

You do need proper equine-specialist advice though, so why not join the BHS right now then you can access their legal helpline?
 
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Its not 50% ownership!

You need to speak to a solicitor. Not all solicitors charge that and is there not a possibility you could get legal aid.

As someone with a Scots Law degree I have no idea where the police got that from! That wasn't what you agreed and if anything the payment would be considered a deposit at most.

You do need to speak to a solicitor though, someone specialising in contract law. Call the Law Society of Scotland on 0131 226 7411 and they will be able to advise you of a solicitor that can help that's near you and that does legal aid. Also you find initial consultations can be free.

Don't let the solicitor be put off about the fact its a horse, if it was a car or an inanimate object they wouldn't think twice. The thing you need to take into account is not that you want the rest of the money but that you want the horse back, that's where you will have to argue the welfare point.

I don't want to offend anyone but police officers are NOT legally qualified, especially not in areas of private law so can assure you the 50% ownership thing is literally a guess... and a bad one at that.

I wouldn't feel confident giving you reliable legal advise over here but a solicitor will. My mum is a solicitor specialising in horse accidents as doesn't deal with contracts and sales etc but may know someone who does that would be willing to speak to you.

I hope this helps and again the best thing you can do is seek legal advise as that will put you in the strongest possible position.
 

elijahasgal

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I would go along the path of
1) write her a letter with registered delivery, stating that as they have broken their contractual agreement with you, you reqquire the horse to be returned, giving them 7 days to reply, or furthur action will be taken.
2) I would apply to the PIO and ask for a replacement of the passport, and state that you do not give any permission for change of ownership.
3) If they do not reply, I would get vet and police presence to see him. Vet to give you and police an honest opinion of his condition. As he is still partly you, use the condition to remove him with their covering to a place that he is back under your care. I would also not do it where they first saw him, but somewhere really secure and seperate.
4) IF they then complain and demand their money back, I would say that you will after vets bills that they have run up by neglecting the horse have been paid off, plus the new costs of advertising him.
I would have to hand copies of your original adverts, bank statements to proove what they have paid, and written statements of anybody who heard the original agreement.

Alternatly, do you have the equivalant of the small claims court?
I would be chasing her through that, stating that you want the horse back in the condition he was when he was sold, due to breach of contract, and lack of payment.
 

Miss L Toe

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Its not 50% ownership!

You need to speak to a solicitor. Not all solicitors charge that and is there not a possibility you could get legal aid.

As someone with a Scots Law degree I have no idea where the police got that from! That wasn't what you agreed and if anything the payment would be considered a deposit at most.

You do need to speak to a solicitor though, someone specialising in contract law. Call the Law Society of Scotland on 0131 226 7411 and they will be able to advise you of a solicitor that can help that's near you and that does legal aid. Also you find initial consultations can be free.

Don't let the solicitor be put off about the fact its a horse, if it was a car or an inanimate object they wouldn't think twice. The thing you need to take into account is not that you want the rest of the money but that you want the horse back, that's where you will have to argue the welfare point.

I don't want to offend anyone but police officers are NOT legally qualified, especially not in areas of private law so can assure you the 50% ownership thing is literally a guess... and a bad one at that.

I wouldn't feel confident giving you reliable legal advise over here but a solicitor will. My mum is a solicitor specialising in horse accidents as doesn't deal with contracts and sales etc but may know someone who does that would be willing to speak to you.

I hope this helps and again the best thing you can do is seek legal advise as that will put you in the strongest possible position.
Thanks, I have asked my vet for a solicitor, one has accepted, it is £120 for first consultation.
pm
I have tried to pm you but this site seems to have some virus on it. Can you pm me please.
 
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Miss L Toe

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I dont think the police have any right to tell you to keep away. The girl I understand, has paid 50% therefore you still own half. You also say she has stopped her monthly payments (I assume this was to pay for the horse in full?), so she has breached her contract. Assuming you had a contract drawn up?

Personally if it were my horse and there was fear for its health, I'd just go and get it immediately. Screw the girl, he's your horse as she hasn't paid for him. I assume the passport is still in your name (although that doesnt stand for much). It would make things a lot easier if you had the 50% that she's so far paid you, then you could just leave a cheque for her at the same time.

You do need proper equine-specialist advice though, so why not join the BHS right now then you can access their legal helpline?
I tried to remove the horse, and I called the police to ensure my personal safety.
 

Polos Mum

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Do the new owners want the horse? If not the simplest (and probably cheapest route) is to give them their money back (even though they are clearly in the wrong morally) get your horse back, build him back up over the summer (hopefully grass should help) and sell him to someone else.

If this really isn't financial/ physically possible for you - you might have to consider just walking away from the money that they owe you and writing it off to bad luck/ experience (not ideal from the horses persepective - if it was a car this would be the best option). Do you think if you called their blough on this they might hand him back or do the want to keep him in poor condition!!

Suing them for breach of contract will be lengthy and expensive and then enforcing them to pay you even more so.
If the police don't support you physically removing him that route could get you in even more trouble.
 

Miss L Toe

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I would go along the path of
1) write her a letter with registered delivery, stating that as they have broken their contractual agreement with you, you reqquire the horse to be returned, giving them 7 days to reply, or furthur action will be taken.
2) I would apply to the PIO and ask for a replacement of the passport, and state that you do not give any permission for change of ownership.
3) If they do not reply, I would get vet and police presence to see him. Vet to give you and police an honest opinion of his condition. As he is still partly you, use the condition to remove him with their covering to a place that he is back under your care. I would also not do it where they first saw him, but somewhere really secure and seperate.
4) IF they then complain and demand their money back, I would say that you will after vets bills that they have run up by neglecting the horse have been paid off, plus the new costs of advertising him.
I would have to hand copies of your original adverts, bank statements to proove what they have paid, and written statements of anybody who heard the original agreement.

Alternatly, do you have the equivalant of the small claims court?
I would be chasing her through that, stating that you want the horse back in the condition he was when he was sold, due to breach of contract, and lack of payment.
He is not "partly mine" he is totally mine, the contract was quite clear, I own the horse till it is all paid for.
The contract [ a regular payment plan] has been breached and the sale is cancelled.
 

Miss L Toe

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Can you not get an initial consultation with a solicitor for free? I think it used to be 30 minutes free but wouldn't be surprised if they'd stopped doing that. Why not phone and ask?

My instincts tell me that there is a legal contract for sale as part payment is "consideration" and the horse is hers, but she is in breach of contract and you should sue for the balance which she still owes.

It does frighten me when people say, "I told him/her xxxx". All she has to do then is turn around and say, "Oh but you didn't" and it is one person's word against another. Another thing is that you might very well have said that, but did she agree? It takes two to make a contract.

It is really quite simple. When you've made a deal, you go home and sit down and write a friendly letter while your memory is still fresh. "Dear xxxx, just a short note to clarify what we agreed today. Blah, blah, blah. If I have misunderstood, please let me know. Otherwise, I'd be grateful, if you would sign and date the enclosed copy of this letter and return it to me". She signs above a statement, "I hereby agree that the above is an accurate record of he facts" or similar. So much easier if things go wrong. Sorry to be a know-all but these situations are very upsetting and it really is best to be prepared for when things go wrong. Been there, done that, got the T shirt.
No fixed abode
 

DabDab

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He is not "partly mine" he is totally mine, the contract was quite clear, I own the horse till it is all paid for.
The contract [ a regular payment plan] has been breached and the sale is cancelled.
Is that contract written down?

It really depends on whether your aim is to get the horse back or to get the balance due on his sale price. If it is the former then I would offer to return the money they have paid in return for the horse back, if it is the latter then you could really do with getting a solicitor to write you a letter, unless you want to chance having a go at taking it through the small claims court by yourself.
 

Wolves

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My instincts tell me that there is a legal contract for sale as part payment is "consideration" and the horse is hers, but she is in breach of contract and you should sue for the balance which she still owes.
Does 'consideration' apply to Scotland? I was taught that it was an English thing?

Does your contract state when ownership should pass? Did she make payments via bank transfer or direct debit?
 

Wolves

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Sorry, just noticed contract states ownership should pass on full payment. Surely if you have proof (ie if she has paid via transfer etc) that she has breached the contract you would have a leg to stand on.

Did CAB offer you any advice at all? My local CAB has dealt with people in similar positions to yourself. Could you try going to another CAB?

You could also threaten to take her to court and quote the relevant statute for breach of contract to her... Maybe she will take you more seriously then?

Have you thought about taking her to a small claims court?
 

lachlanandmarcus

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Note, if taking the horse back, while breaking a padlock etc would e criminal damage, if you know what make and model it is, get a new one identical and replace the broken one with that, then it would be very difficult for the owner to pursue it as there's no loss (other than the horse who you hold is yours anyway).
 

DabDab

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Note, if taking the horse back, while breaking a padlock etc would e criminal damage, if you know what make and model it is, get a new one identical and replace the broken one with that, then it would be very difficult for the owner to pursue it as there's no loss (other than the horse who you hold is yours anyway).
Yes, but if the owner of the land has removed the op's assumed right of access over/into it (which I assume is why the police told the op to stay away), then she would get in trouble for accessing the yard. If the horse left the premises without the op accessing them then yes, the other party would have to sue the op to get the horse back. It's a very difficult situation, and not one that could be tackled easily without some legal clout - a solicitor's letter can be a very powerful thing.
 

lachlanandmarcus

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Yes, but if the owner of the land has removed the op's assumed right of access over/into it (which I assume is why the police told the op to stay away), then she would get in trouble for accessing the yard. If the horse left the premises without the op accessing them then yes, the other party would have to sue the op to get the horse back. It's a very difficult situation, and not one that could be tackled easily without some legal clout - a solicitor's letter can be a very powerful thing.
Hmm unless it's in house curtilage then Scotland's access rights allow responsible access on foot pretty much anywhere else. Not the same in rest of the UK....
 

DabDab

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Hmm unless it's in house curtilage then Scotland's access rights allow responsible access on foot pretty much anywhere else. Not the same in rest of the UK....
Oh right - that was the only reason I could think of that the police would tell the op to stay away
 

Shadow the Reindeer

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I'd take the money she's paid, throw it at her and take the horse tbh... you wouldn't be the first person to do that and I know of people who have.
 

Oberon

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This happened to someone I know some years ago.

The breeder reported the horse stolen but the police insisted it was a civil matter as some money had been exchanged.

The breeder cut it as a loss (he didn't know where the horse had been taken anyway).

A few years later, I went to the breeder to buy said horse's brother and happened to mention I knew where it now was. It had been sold from the 'thief' to a local farrier and his family.

Breeder promptly jumped into his wagon with his boys, drove down the motorway and demanded the rest of the money or his horse back from the farrier :eek:

It all ended well as the farrier went and bought all the other bloodline from the breeder and they had a good relationship from there.

Moral of the story is I suspect you are between a rock and a hard place legally.......

If you can live with a possible criminal conviction on your record and it won't affect your career - then stealing the horse back is an option. Just make sure it doesn't end in violence to get the least punishment possible :eek:
I have learnt the current legal system is unhelpful to 'normal people' but the good thing is that you are unlikely to be sent to jail unless you've been VERY naughty.....:eek: And he is technically still partially your horse.....
 
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Part payment of debt is not good consideration. Payment is also generally a condition of the contract, breach of which gives you the right to terminate the contract. What I would do is send a recorded letter clearly staying what you want. Report the horse as stolen so that you have a leg to stand on if they sell it on. Mention in the letter that you have done this. Also say that you will drop any claims that may arise against them provided that they agreed to termination of the contract. You will probably need to give the money back but it will be cheaper than pursuing them for damages.
 
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