Houseboats and Council Tax

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    Jo Stanton

    Is there anyone with some experience of residential boats and the position regarding council tax?
    We have found three boats moored on a river that are used as the occupants’ main residence. They rent their moorings on an annual basis and have the right to return to it at any time (they spend several months at a time cruising).
    At a recent meeting they raised several queries and I would be grateful if anyone knows anything about:
    Affiliated moorings,
    The position if they only rent the mooring for 10 months a year,
    The position if they moor on a swinging mooring, i.e. not attached to the riverbank, and row to the shore when they need to leave their boat…..
    I am tempted to register them and let them sort out any queries at a Valuation Tribunal with the Valuation Office?!


    We have a customer applying for Housing Benefit. He is currently occupying his boat and is liable to pay a non-residential mooring fee (Annual Berthing Charge). Under his agreement he is not allowed to occupy for more than 48 hours at any one time but he has been occupying the boat continuously since February 2013.
    His argument is that as per Section 130 of the Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992 he is—
    (1) A person is entitled to housing benefit if–
    (a) he is liable to make payments in respect of a dwelling in Great Britain which he occupies as his home;

    He is occupying a property which he is liable

    Could someone point me in the right direction please? Any help would be much appreciated.

    John Boxall



    In particular Para 31

    31. I reject the argument that only lawful residence is within the housing benefit scheme. Regulation 10 expressly provides that housing benefit is payable in respect of what are in effect damages for trespass. The housing benefit scheme expressly accepts the possibility that the claimant’s presence in the accommodation may not be lawful. I therefore reject any argument in so far as it is based on the fact that the claimant was not entitled to be where he was.

    Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery. The blossom is blighted, the leaf is withered, the god of day goes down upon the dreary scene, and—and in short you are for ever floored.

    Wilkins Micawber, Ch12 David Copperfield

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