NABO have responded to the CRT consultation on Houseboat Certificates. This closed at the end of September and we now await the outcome.
Houseboat Certificates (HBCs) are rare items, there being only about 80 currently valid on the CRT system. Houseboats are covered in the 1971 and 1995 British Waterways Acts and there are definitions and requirements set out there. These form the basis of the HBCs, but there has never been any written terms and conditions for these. It is the first draft of these proposed terms that is at the center of the consultation.
Boats with HBCs attract a premium because the law gives rights to assign the HBC and mooring when the boat is sold. But the real benefit is that an HBC provides better mooring rights including basic
protections against being evicted from moorings and being made homeless.
NABO welcomes the consultations and the plan to formalise the relationship with Certificate holders.
In the detail there are a number of contentious issues to be solved.
It has been agreed that Houseboat can cruise from time to time. A houseboat is not necessarily an immovable floating structure. It can be for example a conventional narrow or wide beam boat, and capable of movement.
CRT propose to have the right to charge a different cost for an HBC than for a pleasure boat licence. NABO has objects to this. There is one license fee at the moment for boats with home mooring, those without a home mooring and a HBC. That is the way is should stay.
There are basic rights to assignment of the HBC and the associated mooring, but application, custom and practice has not been uniform, and CRT are keen to tidy this up and strengthen their own hand to protect their income. They have proposed to introduce a two tier system to address this, with new HBCs being tied to revised terms. NABO is not in favour of this.
There are cases where assignment of mooring has precluded cost increases and CRT have the view that they are under recovering from these moorings. Part of this is due to the policy of auctioning of moorings, and the fact that assignment avoids this process. Such is the law of unintended consequences! NABO doesn't have much sympathy with this, and we and many other boat organisations, have campaigned against this pricing method.
Simon Robins, HBC holder and NABO Council member wrote on this subject in NABO News in (4) July 2012. Follow this link to read his article.
You can read the CRT consultation papers here.
You can read the NABO response to the consultation here.