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Tom Fennell

Decision to make...

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Hi all,

 

My dad was living on a narrow boat up in Rufford until he passed away last year. I’m currently deciding what to do with it, there seem to be a few options and I’d love some opinions.

 

1. Sell it - it was only built in 2015 and is still in pretty good nick so I can’t imagine it’s lost a massive amount of value. 
 

2. Live on it - I like the idea of living on the boat but my life is down south in London and I know this comes with many, many difficulties. I’d have to be within commutable distance of the city and it doesn’t seem cost effective looking at the price of the few residential moorings that are available.

 

3. Keep it and rent it out for short stays - this is my ideal option at the moment as I really just want to cover the costs of owning and maintaining the boat but I’m not really sure how it’d work. It seems you need extra/enhanced checks, certificates and licences. 
 

4. I only work part time so I guess another option would be the ‘continuous cruising’ but as an alternative to a leisure mooring rather than a permanent one. I’d still live in my flat but would use my time off the move the boat to avoid mooring fees.

 

As you can tell I’m new to this, any opinions, ideas or alternative options will be much appreciated!

 

Thanks in advance! 

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Sorry to hear about your loss, and so soon after he got his new boat.

 

Only you can decide if option 1,2 or 4 can suit your lifestyle.

 

Option 3 is NOT really an option.

Do a search on this forum, or look at the C&RT website for information about hiring out your boat.

 

A very brief summary of the requirements :

 

C&RT permission

C&RT commercial licence (not the same as your current 'pleasure / private licence)

Commercial Boat Safety Certificate (Much harder to achieve than a Pleasure / private BSS and some / many pleasure boats are unable to comply due to the way they are built)

Landlords Gas certificate

Landlords Electricty certificate

Commercial insurance.

Mooring owners permission to operate a hire business from their moorings

etc etc

 

Can you get to the boat in 'a matter of hours' to sort out problems when the hirer phones you at midnight and says the lights have gone out, or the toilet is blocked, or there is water leaking in etc etc.

 

The additional costs and high inconvenience levels will far outweigh your income from occasional short term lets.

 

 

I would suggest that unless you are already a 'boater' and understand the commitments then it may be best to sell-up.

Edited by Alan de Enfield
Fatal spoolings erryurs

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21 minutes ago, Tom Fennell said:

 

 

4. I only work part time so I guess another option would be the ‘continuous cruising’ but as an alternative to a leisure mooring rather than a permanent one. I’d still live in my flat but would use my time off the move the boat to avoid mooring fees.

 

As you can tell I’m new to this, any opinions, ideas or alternative options will be much appreciated!

 

Thanks in advance! 

With that you could live aboard, Moor in London to work and then bugger off out when you have the time off. (If that is what you want to do)

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If you were mad keen on boats, all but option 3 are viable. If not, go for option 4 and sell. Boat ownership is a continual challenge and a drain on your finances so, if it's not to be a burden, your heart really needs to be in it. Whilst there's bound to be strong sentiment here because of your Dad, you have to ask yourself whether the boat is really something you'd otherwise be choosing at this stage of your life. If the answer is no, sell up. You can always save the money to buy a boat when it fits into your life.

Just my thoughts; I wish you all the best whichever way you go. :)

 

  • Greenie 2

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Hi Tom and welcome to the forum, whether you keep the boat or sell the boat, holiday or live abroad will depend entirely upon whether you can afford it and or what you want from your life, if you haven't had much to do with the boat so far why not try using it for short breaks and see how you get on with it, once you know the boat and see how it fits into your life as it is then you might find you'll be in a better position to make your decision. 

 

As for renting it out, the knee jerk position of this forum is to tell everybody who mentions renting out their boat that it can't and shouldn't be done. Some of the reasons given for not renting your boat out will be valid some will be nothing more than nit picking to try and back up their knee jerk response. But people are renting out boats and their skys haven't fallen in. So while I wouldn't say that you can't rent out your boat what I would say is that you should spend time getting to know your boat before you even consider renting it out and that you do a lot of research into other businesses and the laws that you would have to meet. If your are going to rent do it properly, don't try to make a fast buck out of it because, most likely if it's going to go wrong that will be how, and know the risks. If you search the AirB&B site by experience you will find narrowboats and other boats too; I can't say if they are all meeting CRTs T&Cs or not, and I'm sure lots will say they probably aren't but that is something you will have to take up with CRT if you decide to go down that particular towpath for yourself. 

 

I would say that deciding whether or not you want to keep or sell is you first decision and you decide that by spending time with the boat, then if you are going to keep it you decide whether you want to live on her or just stay on her part time; once you've made those decisions then you can work out all the other stuff. These decisions with take a little time but the fact that you say you quite like the idea suggests that you really already know. One tip make sure you research thoroughly how much this boat is going to cost you to maintain and keep (without a rental income). 

 

 

Good luck what ever you decide. 

  • Greenie 1

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I don't think most of the responses advising against renting out the boat were nit-picking or knee-jerk reactions. They were just explaining the facts. 

 

If the people renting out boats aren't having any problems then presumably they have followed the rules, have the appropriate licence and agreements in place and are in compliance with the law. Either that or they aren't in compliance and renting illegally but just haven't been caught yet?

Edited by blackrose

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If you go for option four i'd suggest basing the boat somewhere other than the London area, security for the boat will be improved for one and there is much to enjoy out of town. Good luck whichever option you choose. 

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37 minutes ago, blackrose said:

 Either that or they aren't in compliance and renting illegally but just haven't been caught yet?

And nothing has gone wrong, remember the lady wanted crowed funding when her boat sank with no insurance and Midnight Diamond that sank and the hirer lost everything  https://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/londoners-horror-as-houseboat-sinks-with-all-of-her-possessions-on-board-a3509466.html

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14 minutes ago, ditchcrawler said:

And nothing has gone wrong, remember the lady wanted crowed funding when her boat sank with no insurance and Midnight Diamond that sank and the hirer lost everything  https://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/londoners-horror-as-houseboat-sinks-with-all-of-her-possessions-on-board-a3509466.html

 

Yes it could get quite nasty if the tenents had an accident and it was found that the "boatlord" was renting the boat out illegally and was liable.

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Option 1.  It will have lost value for sure but depends on who was the builder and who did the fit out.  As Alan says, your best bet is to sell and invest the proceeds for when you are able to or wish to go boating.  I presume you've been out on your late father's boat?

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Another option would be to set up a shared ownership scheme?  That way the boat would get good use and an income for you to afford to put it somewhere safe when not in use.  

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Unless you have to make a decision very quickly I would have a bit of a holiday on it when the weather gets a bit better and then make a decision. Boats are expensive things, licence and other fees are steep these days so to get value out of it could be hard and it is a depreciating asset. You do really need to be an enthusiast  to take on a boat.

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There are hire firms and boatyards that hire out boats they don’t own. (They are owned by private people) for a fee or cut. They then house the boat and presumably look after it for you. You can maybe reserved week(s) for your own use. Just a thought.

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3 minutes ago, Nightwatch said:

There are hire firms and boatyards that hire out boats they don’t own. (They are owned by private people) for a fee or cut. They then house the boat and presumably look after it for you. You can maybe reserved week(s) for your own use. Just a thought.

If the boat complies with the correct safety standards ?

 

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Not sure of the true legalities of this, but I've heard suggestions that an AirBNB style "letting" isn't the same as renting, at least with a not-floating home. I have no idea how CRT view casual, paid "use by friends" type of letting as opposed to actual "renting".

 

I also know of one situation where a boat owner allows a friend to live on a boat as "caretaker". They have a signed agreement and the friend pays all costs, ie: mooring, licence, insurance but no actual profit is (officially at least) paid or earned. Something like this can work where one owns a surplus boat that they don't want to necessarily part with.

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14 minutes ago, steve7a3 said:

Not sure of the true legalities of this, but I've heard suggestions that an AirBNB style "letting" isn't the same as renting, at least with a not-floating home. I have no idea how CRT view casual, paid "use by friends" type of letting as opposed to actual "renting".

 

From 12 June 2017 boat owners will be able to apply for a static letting licence for static boats that'll cover all types of boat rental, including long-term renting, Airbnb-style short breaks, and overnight stays. The boat owner will need to have a permanent mooring and should talk to their local planning authority to see if planning permission is needed.  The price will be the same as for the current self-drive holiday hire licence.

The static letting licence has more rigorous requirements to make sure that both the boat is safe and that potential renters are fully briefed before spending a night on board. Boat owners will need to have: proof of adequate insurance; a non-private Boat Safety Scheme certificate conforming to hire boat safety standards; a detailed handover document including emergency procedures and contact numbers; a landlord Gas Safety Certificate; and written permission from their mooring provider.

Alongside this, we'll be introducing a new process for dealing with boat owners who may be breaching the terms of their licence by renting out their boat. If a boat is suspected of being rented out illicitly the Trust will contact the registered licence holder, as well as hand posting letters onto the boat itself to alert renters. 

 

https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/media/original/32539-canal-and-river-trust-introduces-new-licence-for-boat-renting.pdf

 

https://www.waterways.org.uk/blog/you_want_rent_boat

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Not sure if the OP is aware but the boat will need licencing and insuring again since his dad passed away, if its not already been done

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Thanks to all of you for your input, great to get some varied views!

 

I'm edging towards selling it... as much as I'd love to keep it I think it's going to be a drain and now isn't the right time for me.

 

The mooring is up at the end of March so my current plan is to take a trip from Rufford and bring the boat closer to home, this will give me month or so to completely make up my mind on what I want to do with it. 

  • Greenie 1

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11 minutes ago, Tom Fennell said:

I'm edging towards selling it... as much as I'd love to keep it I think it's going to be a drain and now isn't the right time for me.

Without wanting to be too nosy about your circumstances so asking rhetorically really, but have you worked out what the difference in cost between living on the boat and living in a house at London prices would be? And I suppose how secure you feel in your present accommodation? 

 

Selling the boat and investing that money wisely for your future is a perfectly sensible plan but with the boat being relatively 'young' if well maintained it could provide you with accommodation for a long time to come. 

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1 hour ago, steve7a3 said:

Not sure of the true legalities of this,

 

I agree, you're leading the OP up the garden path.

 

1 hour ago, steve7a3 said:

but I've heard suggestions that an AirBNB style "letting" isn't the same as renting, at least with a not-floating home. I have no idea how CRT view casual, paid "use by friends" type of letting as opposed to actual "renting".

 

CRT view it as running a business and expect all their rules and requirements to be met.

 

In addition the courts don't really care what you call the arrangement, If it looks like a tenancy then it IS a tenancy and all the laws governing tenancies kick in. 

 

  • Greenie 1

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As a slightly curve ball approach to option 3, some of the hire fleets have sponsored boats in them.  So you own the boat, it is painted in the hire fleet livery and you get some use of the boat.  Other than that the hire company look after if and you have an arrangement for how the hire revenue is divided.  It would depend on if the boat is suitable, but could give an option of keeping the boat without all the commitment.

  • Greenie 1

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1 hour ago, Tom Fennell said:

The mooring is up at the end of March so my current plan is to take a trip from Rufford and bring the boat closer to home, this will give me month or so to completely make up my mind on what I want to do with it. 

Before you commit to your cruise have a look on C&RT website for the list of Winter closures.

Much of the canal maintenance is undertaken during the Winter and the canals being worked on are closed for navigation. There may be still away to get from Rufford to London but it may not be the direct route - it could be as complicated as Rufford to Manchester, over the Pennines then down the River Trent etc etc.

 

The direct route would be 21 days at 7 hours per day . At this time of year Rufford to London it would be better to allow 30 days.

 

This is a trip of 288 miles, 3½ furlongs and 194 locks from Fettlers Wharf Marina to The Houses of Parliament.

This will take 144 hours and 14 minutes which is 20 days, 4 hours and 14 minutes at 7 hours per day.

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2 hours ago, Tom Fennell said:

Thanks to all of you for your input, great to get some varied views!

 

I'm edging towards selling it... as much as I'd love to keep it I think it's going to be a drain and now isn't the right time for me.

 

The mooring is up at the end of March so my current plan is to take a trip from Rufford and bring the boat closer to home, this will give me month or so to completely make up my mind on what I want to do with it. 

You won't escape the Rufford Branch until 10th March and then not much further until 14th March due to winter stoppages. 

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10 hours ago, rgreg said:

You won't escape the Rufford Branch until 10th March and then not much further until 14th March due to winter stoppages. 

Thanks for the heads up! I’ve been made aware of winter conditions and closures and don’t plan on leaving until the end of March! 

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