Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
253 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I've been poking around, trying to figure out why people choose to use written agreements and what might be included.

Snippets of what I've heard and read are in this mind-map.

mindmap140402.jpg

What's missing? Is there anything in it that's just wrong, or misleading?

The emphasis here is on urban beekeeping, not the straight-up pollination contracts or beekeeping aimed directly at honey production.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Just out of curiosity what would be the intent of the agreement,

for you to keep your bees on a homeowner or property owners land?
as a homeowner I would be very afraid of an agreement with that much detail, but then again I am a handshake deal type of person.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
253 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Just out of curiosity what would be the intent of the agreement,

for you to keep your bees on a homeowner or property owners land?
as a homeowner I would be very afraid of an agreement with that much detail, but then again I am a handshake deal type of person.
The idea is NOT to get into an agreement with that much detail, but to find a way for the parties to narrow down to what they think is most important. It's like a menu of options.

Personally, my intent is to find new locations for myself in a mixed-up urban situation. My own backyard already has three langstroth hives in a nice sunny location, and maybe a few nucs. That's about all we have room for here. I'm reluctant to get into a formal contract with legal paperwork, but I understand how a written agreement may give a framework that supports an outyard arrangement.

Also, I'm trying to help my local beekeeping association. If they're involved, they want a written agreement (see comment at the bottom of the mindmap). We are in touch with various non-profit organizations that want to have bees on site, and they tend to want something in writing.


If you're a handshake deal type of person, you may be in the minority. Check out the poll at the top of another thread I started a couple of weeks ago:

That builds on discussion in another thread:

There's been other conversations about this on BeeSource, so I want to move it along and ask if beekeepers with more experience can help wrestle with some of the specifics.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Ok I think i understand, i find it a little funny though... everyone trying to cover themselves from lawsuits. doesnt matter what kind of agreements even contracts are in place if a dumb kid goes and kicks hives on someone's property and goes to the hospital because they had a reaction all fingers are going to point towards the landowner then the beekeeper. and someone will have to pay most likely the landowners insurance or the landowner themselves.

survival of the fittest, we should all teach children it is not smart to play with fire.

i could be wrong most of this is just opinion.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
253 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
It seems like two essentials are to have insurance (either business or homeowners), and to have the apiary registered so insurance is more likely to apply. Then to keep everything upfront and tidy, so the 'gross negligence' tag won't stick. After that, I don't really know ...

I've seen one agreement with a "hold harmless" clause, and maybe you can tell in the mindmap I think they're pretty ridiculous if it ever goes to court. Another dense legal contract turned out, on closer reading, to be focused on not letting the beekeeper sue the non-profit if the beekeeper got hurt (or died) while on the property.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
371 Posts
If you're a handshake deal type of person, you may be in the minority.
Not to start a fight but around here, and most of rural america, a handshake is a mans word, no paper needed. If I walked into a landowners home with a contract or agreement for them to sign, they would show me the door.
I understand that no one wants to be held liable for anything these days, but a simple agreement in writing isn't going to stand up in court to big time liability lawyers fancy paper work anyways, so why go thru the false sense of security by having one. If someone is worried about getting sued, spend the time to get insurance and cover yourself that way, not thru a piece of paper with no legal significance.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
253 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
... but around here, and most of rural america, a handshake is a mans word, no paper needed.
The poll is still open (till April 4). Which would you choose, of these two?
  • I only deal with people who are comfortable with a handshake agreement (3 votes, 18.75%)
  • I generally prefer a handshake agreement, but if someone wants it written down and signed, let's see what we can work out (3 votes, 18.75%)
If I walked into a landowners home with a contract or agreement for them to sign, they would show me the door.
I understand that no one wants to be held liable for anything these days, but a simple agreement in writing isn't going to stand up in court to big time liability lawyers fancy paper work anyways, so why go thru the false sense of security by having one. If someone is worried about getting sued, spend the time to get insurance and cover yourself that way, not thru a piece of paper with no legal significance.
Basically I agree with you, and I made sure to include those points in the mindmap: "Just asking for a written, legal contract may be off-putting." "Would this contract hold up in court?" "Insurance."

Most of the time in the situation in my area, if someone wants paperwork it's the property owner (or a non-profit organization running a program there) rather than the beekeeper.

If I've learned anything in this whole excursion, it's about insurance. In concept, it's the right way to go. We try to avoid accidents, and yes, bees sting but most people aren't allergic. On the chance that something bad might happen, we can pool the risk. In practice, I'm not sure how easy that is, so that's something I want to learn more about.

Other than that, I'm arriving at the position that it may be helpful to write down a few things. Contact information. That the apiary location will be registered and inspected. That the beekeeper gets 3 days notice, or whatever, to move the hives if the landowner asks. And just having that much down will probably cover the question of whose bees they are, if anyone should wonder.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,677 Posts
Kofu - I like your "mind map" graphic as a begining way to illustrate the issues to consider. However, your poll, being on a beekeeping forum, understandably only queries the beekeeper half of the equation and leaves out the landowner. I think the landowner's opinion is the more important one since he controls the access. Not sure how you could query landowners, though. Still, I think it is a noteworthy omission that compromises the value of the poll.

Also, of the respondants, I wonder how many actually do have hives on other people's land, as opposed to those who are just speculating on how they would like to do it if they were to do it. I ask this question because hardly anyone on this forum who keeps bees on other people's property ever mentions that they have a written agreement to do so, let alone that lack of a written agreement would be a deal breaker, as indicated in the poll results.

I think it worth noting that in law, once you have a written contract, a court will be unlikely to enforce any side agreements as part of the overall deal. The written contract will generally be viewed as including all the terms, and any outside modifications not in the contract, written or otherwise, will probably be unenforceable.

I think it will be very interesting to hear how many landowners respond positively once you get your contract finalized and start to use it. Please keep us posted on how it goes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
253 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Kofu - Unfortunately, your poll, being on a beekeeping forum, understandably only queries the beekeeper half of the equation and leaves out the landowner. I think the landowner's opinion is the more important one since he controls the access.
Most of the beekeepers I know with outyards prefer not to have a written contract. But when the landowner or organization that wants bees also wants a contract, I'm wondering how to set it up and what to include.

Also, of the respondants, I wonder how many actually do have hives on other people's land, as opposed to those who are just speculating on how they would like to do it if they were to do it. I ask this question because hardly anyone on this forum who keeps bees on other people's property ever mentions that they have a written agreement to do so, let alone actually require a written agreement.
The poll results fit with my general impression from other threads in this forum (which seems to differ from your impression), that many of the more business-minded beekeepers here actually do insist on having a contract. So I think they're the ones who voted. And the results may be skewed if a lot of respondents provide pollination services where a contract is (I think) generally standard practice. But it's not a scientific poll, just food for thought and perhaps further discussion. I'll post another poll, maybe next week, about specific provisions that beekeepers either would want to include or find it necessary to include.

I think it will be very interesting to hear how many landowners respond positively once you get your contract finalized and start to use it.
The objective here is really NOT to have ONE standard contract that a beekeeper asks the landowner to sign. But if the topic comes up, this conversation helps me to understand what's involved and how a piece of paper might be helpful, if someone thinks it's needed. If so, then the beekeeper and the landowner can try to put something together -- hopefully something fairly simple, just covering the basics that it helps to have written down.

So for example, from my perspective having looked at a bunch of contracts already, if someone says there has to be a "hold harmless" clause, I'm the one who'll walk away. As best as I can tell, that sort of language is just begging for a lawsuit.

On the other hand, a contract that someone in my beek association is using has two separate clauses, a release from liability and an indemnity clause, both of which I'm guessing were suggested by a lawyer on the board of the nonprofit, both of which boil down to preventing the beekeeper from suing the board if the beekeeper gets hurt while on the premises. If it were me, I might be reluctant to sign it, but maybe it's not too much for that group to ask. The funny thing is that on facebook they're boasting about how "our bees" are doing, now that it's spring.

So the whole thing is sort of a mix & match. Not a piece of paper that I bring to wave in the landowner's face and ask them to sign.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,677 Posts
I wonder if there is any value in doing another poll where the questions are:

Excluding where you are paid (such as a contract for pollination services), if you have hives on another person's property:

1) do you have only a verbal agreement to do so?

OR

2) do you have a written agreement to do so?

a) if the answer to #2 is "yes," is the written agreement a necessary condition to you for placing your hives on the person's property, i.e. would you walk away if the landowner refused to sign a written agreement?

Just curious what the results would be.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
253 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
I can do that. But it's hard with the software here to set up an if/then sort of tree. And you can't correlate different responses, they're all independent. So it becomes a human-engineering effort to phrase the questions in a way that people are happy to click responses within the system you have in mind. You'll never really know who followed your phrasing, and who went through willy-nilly. Then the number of responses is likely to be low, so the results are iffy anyway. For my purposes, the polling apparatus here is enough to get impressions, and that's about all.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,677 Posts
I have no expereince using the poll function. I just looked at it, and it is not clear to me how to use it at all.

Anyway, maybe omit question 2A and just do;

Excluding where you are paid (such as a contract for pollination services), if you have hives on another person's property:

1) do you have only a verbal agreement to do so, OR?

2) do you have a written agreement to do so?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
253 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
I'll do that and we'll see. The trick is running all the questions along the same line. So in this case I can put a couple of middle positions, for those whose hives are not all one way or the other.

Making a poll is an option that you check a box for, at the very bottom of the 'Post New Thread' screen, then you write in the question and the options after you've submitted the post that appears below it. Confusing? Once you figure that out, it's not so hard to make a poll.
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top