With house and rent prices in London rising, some are looking at alternative, cheaper ways to live in town.
In 2015, a study found the capital’s waterways had seen an increase in boat numbers since 2010. But how do you go about transferring your life to the water?
Here waterside property specialist Riverhomes’ director and head of houseboats and marine Nigel Day offers his advice on casting off.
Where do I start?
A boat search is similar to a house search. Firstly, you need to determine where you’d like to live, how much space you need, your budget and whether you want to travel on your boat or keep it in one place.
What do I need to take into account?
You cannot get a conventional mortgage on a houseboat. Specialist marine mortgages exist but these are not easy to come by and attract high rates of interest. Often people buy houseboats with cash. There are also three different types of moorings – residential, leisure and temporary. Residential moorings are often on renewable leases of varying lengths but typically a year or more. Leisure moorings stipulate the houseboat owner cannot live on the boat full time and temporary moorings can only be used for a few days or weeks at a time.
Where can I go to buy a boat?
You can buy boats on the internet and many people buy boats in Holland and bring them to the UK. However, the boat itself is almost secondary to the mooring. There’s no point having a boat if you can’t moor it. This is why Riverhomes only sells houseboats with moorings.
Where are the best places to view in east London and the City?
There are several moorings in east London including St Katharine Dock, Wapping, Hermitage Wharf, Blackwall Basin, Poplar Dock, West India Quay and Limehouse Basin.
Once I’ve bought the boat, what things do I need to do that are different to living on land?
The biggest difference between being a boat owner and a landlubber is that you must factor in scraping the hull approximately every five to six years. During this time, the boat will have to remain in dry dock for at least two weeks while the barnacles are taken off, the boat is repainted and other repairs are made.
Are there rules to where I can moor and for how long?
Residential moorings are typically renewable annually but there are some moorings which are on 50 year leases. There are even permanent moorings available at Hermitage Wharf. The cost of the boat typically reflects the length of the mooring’s lease.
What is it like to live on a boat and how different is it to living on land?
Living on a boat is simply a lot more fun. Often there’s a vibrant sense of community amongst the boat owners, too. Plus, you get an incredible view.
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