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Do You Have to Pay Taxes if You Live on a Houseboat?

Do you have to pay taxes if you live on a houseboat?

Houseboats are classified as non-traditional structures and as such houseboat owners don’t pay property tax. The houseboat owners don’t pay tax because somebody else already pays property tax. Those are the owners of the property to which houseboat is tethered.

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Ah, the calming nature of water – many of us hold fond memories of time spent on the shores and banks, aboard boats and blissfully wading through warm waters in picturesque settings, but what would life be like actually living day to day on a vessel, making our home upon the water.

There are a host of unique and attractive benefits that come along with making a houseboat a home – and with recent COVID-19 virus situation, the trend seems to have strengthened even more.

Those who desire to live a minimalist or even ‘off the grid’ lifestyle and those looking to minimise their waste footprint are drawn to the almost unique appeal of living on the water.

Creatives of all categories and those seeking the solace provided so plentifully when living on a boat are charmed by the privacy and calm it can offer.


To those that may have reservations stemming from the assumed lack of mod-cons that most of us have come to take for granted; fear not, you would be astounded at the seemingly endless choice of gizmos and gadgets available.

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Marinas, depending on their size and capabilities, are able to offer you much of what you may require, from storage and supplies to maintenance work and a secure place to moor.

It should be understood that houseboat cost of ownership involves a multitude of considerations, including but not limited to; storage fees, marina fees, repairs and maintenance and basic amenities, which will alter depending on whether you are fixed or moving of course.

Perhaps the most alluring of reasons to consider trading your landlubber lifestyle for that of the seven seas (and rivers!), is the powerful realisation that you can pick up your anchor and literally change the scenery as and when you wish – freedom. However, buying houseboats, whether it’s a Rosie and Jim style barge moored on a quiet river inland or more of a swashbuckling gullet somewhere in the Mediterranean, is not an exact science.

Amongst the litany of questions asked by those considering the move, by those wanting to buy a houseboat, is on the subject of houseboat taxes and associated costs.

Of course, once the decision has been made that living aboard a boat as your main residence is what you would like, the first port of call would almost certainly be to consult a specialist within the market, to ensure no important points are missed – vital for those of whom this would be their first houseboat purchase.

For the typical barge-type river-dwelling houseboat, stamp duty exemption is of great appeal – this significant fact alone has led to a great increase in popularity and demand.

How much does a houseboat cost? Well, houseboat value, can range drastically. When setting out to begin your search on how to buy a houseboat and best prepare, other than the actual cost of the vessel, you will need to gain an understanding of mooring costs and licencing. It would serve well to also bear in mind that licencing is determined by the period required, length and breadth and what type of licence you are interested in with regards to where you will be cruising.

There are those that simply want to enjoy the experience of living on a houseboat, not necessarily the flexibility associated with being able to change your location, in which case, you will need to do some research into permanent/non-permanent mooring options.

A houseboat mortgage differs of course from a residential one, however, they are indeed available by, in comparison, a small number of providers, to those who require one. Marine mortgages are structured slightly differently, in that they typically entail a higher deposit and come with repayment terms of a shorter duration.

We definitely see why so many people have chosen to make the move – best of luck with your search!

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