CRT acts on private hire
A NEW TYPE OF licence allowing private boat owners to rent their boats out as static accommodation, and a crackdown on those who don’t follow the rules, form the two strands of an initiative by the Canal & River Trust to tackle what is seen as an illegal and potentially unsafe practice.
With the high cost of housing in London and other major cities, many boat owners have been tempted to hire their craft out – and there have been some cases of landlords running a business doing so.
However the standard leisure licence prohibits rental, insurance policies may not cover it and the alternative of obtaining a business licence and operating as a hireboat company means satisfying a list of conditions (such as having a suitable operating base). A third licence type, a residential letting licence, only applies to residential moorings (which are in very short supply in these areas).
This means any such ‘peer to peer’ hiring is likely to be in breach of licence and insurance conditions – and some fear that it tempts unsuspecting renters into poorly maintained craft.
The new Letting Licence costing the same as a hireboat licence (about 2½ times a standard licence) allows owners to rent their craft out, whether for Airbnb-type short stays or longer term, subject to conditions including:
• The boat remains static • The boat has a home mooring • The owner complies with the mooring site’s planning permission • The boat has a Landlord Gas Safety Certificate (if it has gas) • The owner provides proof of adequate insurance • There is a handover to renters including a walk-through, emergency procedures and contact details • There is written permission from the mooring owner At the same time, any boats that CRT suspects (for example from their appearance on websites) of being offered for rent without the new licence will be subject to a procedure involving: • Posting notices on the boat • Contacting the licence holder, giving 28 days to
cease trading or apply for the correct licence • Revoking the licence if holder refuses to comply • Beginning the process for dealing with