Do Houseboats Pay Council Tax?

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Do houseboats pay council tax? If you’re considering buying a houseboat, read on to find out how to get the paperwork. Most boaters don’t know that they’re not actually paying council tax on their boat! But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are some things you should know, too. Here are some tips for buying a houseboat and avoiding the mistakes common with boat ownership.


You may be asking yourself: Do narrowboats pay council tax? If you’re a resident of the UK and your boat is permanently moored in a marina, you’re responsible for paying your share. If not, you may be unaware that you could be missing out on valuable benefits that come with mooring your boat on the canal. Here’s the scoop. Even though your boat may not qualify as a dwelling, it still counts as a possession.

First of all, you’ll need to pay a small annual fee. This is to maintain the canals. There’s a four-mph speed limit, but this is rarely reached by the average boat. Most people travel at two to three miles per hour, while hire boats tend to go around a cruising ring in a short time. Therefore, it’s important to be aware of your speed and make sure it isn’t too fast or you’ll be towed.

One way to save money on the council tax is to buy a narrowboat. Narrowboats are often seen on the towpath, but you can also live on one. Typically, you can buy a 30 to 40-foot boat for leisure or a fifty-footer for living. But be aware that the licence fees and mooring fees stack up! It’s easy to see how a tiny boat can make your life a lot easier!


Live-aboards are arguably exempt from many of the responsibilities of modern life, but are they still required to pay council tax? The law is ambiguous, and there is no definitive answer. Some pay council tax, while others don’t. Others may be exempt from paying council tax and instead use an alternative charge to offset their liability. In most cases, live-aboards will still have to pay some council tax, but it’s not the same as for people who live on land.

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Whether live-aboards pay council tax or not depends on where they dock. Some live-aboards moor permanently, while others move around a lot. However, most live-aboards have a landlord. Most live-aboards pay council tax, but some have multiple landlords. It is not uncommon for live-aboards to pay more than one landlord, depending on the nature of their living arrangements.

While it may be tempting to avoid paying council tax, living on a boat is not always an attractive option. Some local authorities prefer a more lax approach. They have inspectors who can easily chase non-payers. But in general, living on a boat means that you’ll be paying a lot of money for council services that you don’t use. By paying council tax, you’ll be supporting the community and the environment while enjoying the benefits of canal living.

Non-exclusive moorings

Not all houseboats pay council tax, but non-exclusive moorings for houseboat owners are subject to different rules. A mooring for a houseboat is not exclusive for one boat, and another boat may occupy the space. Moorings are considered permanent if they have planning permission for residential use. They may not be subject to council tax, and the occupier will not pay it. Instead, the owner of the marina may be liable for paying council tax on the mooring.

In some marinas, residents may be required to pay council tax for non-exclusive moorings. Although most houseboats do not pay council tax, some marinas do not have composite assessments. As a result, residents will be required to pay council tax on their non-exclusive moorings. These fees will be paid directly to local councils. If you are unsure whether your houseboat will be subject to council tax, ask the marina staff if you need to swap berths with another resident.

Some live-aboards exploit this loophole by claiming in their mooring agreement that they have a right to use the berth while they are away. In this way, their mooring becomes non-exclusive and the council tax isn’t paid. Because of this grey area, there are several misconceptions about waterborne council tax liability. However, houseboat owners who choose to stay on non-exclusive moorings are most likely to contribute through their British Waterways licence and mooring fees.

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Tideway Village

Residents of Tideway Village pay council tax and are happy that their future is secure. The Port of London Authority hasn’t positively incorporated houseboat owners or moorings, and houseboat owners have found it difficult to obtain moorings in the city. Other European cities have taken a more positive approach, and the PLA has, in many cases, removed boats from the river. A recent e-petition gathered over 2000 signatures, and David Tideway is happy that he has a future on the river.

The disused colliers dock in Vauxhall was once a dumping ground for scrap metal and supermarket trolleys. It was rundown and derelict when David Waterhouse moved to the site 20 years ago, and was able to secure planning permission and electricity. The village now has a vibrant bankside community. It pays council tax because residents pay to help keep the village running. The World Monument Fund sponsors a tour of the site to highlight its history. Eventually, David Waterhouse will be part of a training course for Spectacle and the Tideway Village may become a real-life project for future Spectacle trainees.

With the new development, the character of Tideway Village will change significantly. The area was once forgotten and had some space to itself. It was a special community and held open days. Now, the residents have to deal with constant construction noise. Access to boats has been restricted, and part of the Thames Path has been closed. The community is now dependent on local artists and musicians for entertainment, and Tideway Village is now self-sufficient in these areas.

Bristol Harbour

There are no official statistics on how many people live on houseboats in Bristol Harbour, but Laura Gray estimates that up to 200 people live on moorings. The number can fluctuate depending on the season, but it’s a safe bet that a number of these people seek shelter on a mooring in the harbour. Former UN elections expert, Fran De Ath, moved onto a narrow boat in the harbour in 2004. She loves living in the community.

Typically, houseboats paying council tax in Bristol Harbour are those that have permanent right to return to their berths. If you rent a berth, you will need to pay English business rates. This is because marinas are subject to a moving clause. However, you can stop the demand by simply refusing to pay. Those who refuse to pay council tax can reclaim the berth and avoid paying the tax.

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In Bristol Harbour, the city council requires boat owners to pay 12% of their assessed value, which may vary depending on the age of the boat. The value depreciates with age, so it is important to check your bill regularly to ensure you’re paying the correct amount. If you don’t want to pay it, you can dispute it, but if you don’t, you could be fined.

Tideway Village in London

The residents of Tideway Village in south London pay council tax, but the residents have been battling to protect their waterfront homes from development. The developers have reportedly tried to prevent residents from accessing their properties, and their plans included a floating garden in the river instead of the row of boats. This would have killed the aquatic life. Residents were not consulted on the plans, but a community campaign was launched to keep their homes. The residents held an open day and a protest outside of the Berkeley Group meeting. Additionally, an e-petition was launched to save the homes, and the event at the Battersea Barge gained 2000 signatures.

The community consists of four houseboats and a barge that serves as a venue. David Waterhouse, a Surrey-born architect, founded the village 20 years ago and now lives on one of the houseboats. The community is surrounded by an attractive bankside community. The original site was derelict, and used to collect scrap metal and supermarket trolleys. Waterhouse, who grew up in Surrey, moved onto an abandoned barge and applied for a mooring in Tideway Village. He is one of the few residents of Tideway Village who pays council tax.

Matthew Robbs

I love the outdoors and especially spending time with my family. Whether on a boat or at the beach, my happy place is near the water.

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