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Are you yearning for a life on the water? Let us guide you through the expenses, and various types of houseboats to choose from, and provide you with information on mooring fees.

Living on a boat can offer an incredible way of life, but it does come with its own set of challenges. These challenges include tasks like water refills, waste disposal, and regular hands-on maintenance.

Houseboats enjoy certain benefits such as being exempt from stamp duty and paying the lowest council tax bracket for residential moorings.

However, it's important to consider the costs associated with licensing, mooring fees, and ongoing repairs before diving into this lifestyle.

If you're contemplating the idea of residing on a houseboat, rest assured that you're not alone.

Artists, young professionals, and individuals seeking affordable housing are increasingly drawn to the allure of living on the water.

The idyllic vision of a relaxed pace of life within a friendly waterside community is undeniably appealing.

Nevertheless, the reality of boat living entails significant hard work, continuous expenses, and regular maintenance.

What should I know about living on a houseboat?

Living on a boat can offer an exceptional lifestyle, but it's essential to acknowledge the challenges that come with it, such as water refills, toilet waste management, and hands-on maintenance.

To live on a boat full-time, you have two options: either engage in "continuous cruising" or secure a "residential mooring."

Continuous cruising necessitates moving your boat every 14 days. In essence, living on a boat is more of a lifestyle choice than merely finding a place to reside.

It would be beneficial to spend a week's vacation on a houseboat during both winter and summer seasons to gain insight into the practicalities and determine if it suits your preferences.

If you're new to navigating the waters, consider taking the Royal Yachting Association's Inland Waterways Helmsman Course to learn the basics of boat safety.

Residential moorings

Our true houseboats are rigid, stable homes constructed on pontoons, immersing you in a serene waterside lifestyle. Until now, such unique offerings have been rare in the UK. Opting for a residential or 'home' mooring offers stability for school or work commitments.

The costs

While many believe living on a boat is cheaper than a traditional house, the actual cost varies based on vessel size, type, usage, and mooring location. Enjoy financial perks like stamp duty exemption and Band A council tax for residential moorings. However, if your main motive is solely saving money, prepare for potential surprises. Explore the unique advantages of Zengiva houseboats and make an informed decision for your sustainable and enriching lifestyle.

Annual or ongoing costs

With Zengiva's brand-new houseboats, worry-free compliance awaits during the first year of ownership! Rest assured, our houseboats come with all necessary licenses, insurance, and a valid Boat Safety Scheme (BSS) certificate, covering you for most of the UK's inland waterways. However, it's essential to check for any ongoing local requirements beyond the first year to ensure continuous compliance. Your seamless waterway adventures begin with Zengiva!

  • Boat survey: £350-£400 plus potential repairs
    Experience Peace of Mind with Zengiva's Houseboats: No need to worry about unpleasant surprises! Our brand-new houseboats are meticulously surveyed before delivery, ensuring top-notch condition. Say goodbye to negotiations and specialist repairs.
    Find a marine surveyor
  • Boat safety certificate: £150 plus potential repairs
    With Zengiva's brand-new houseboats, compliance is a breeze! Our houseboats come with a valid Boat Safety Scheme (BSS) certificate, meeting the requirements for most of the UK's inland waterways. Check with your navigation authority if this applies to your waterway.
    Find out more about BSS certification.
  • Boat licence: £510 to £1,100 a year
    The Canal & River Trust oversees 96 canals and navigable rivers in England and Wales, ensuring a captivating journey awaits. To access these picturesque waterways, every boat must hold a valid licence. Enjoy flexibility with three, six, and 12-month options, priced from £510 to £1,100, depending on your boat's length. Rest assured, you can obtain a licence with a boat safety certificate and insurance in place.
    For other waterways, boaters may require separate licences.
    - The Environment Agency runs the River Thames, the River Medway and rivers in East Anglia.
    - The Broads Authority looks after the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads.
    - For Scottish waters visit the Scottish Canals website.
    Check the Inland Waterways Association’s waterway pages for any other navigation authorities
  • Insurance: £200 plus a year
    Expect to pay this as a minimum for basic third-party insurance required for a licence and does not include contents insurance, which is likely to be more expensive than a land-based property.
    Collidge and Partners
     are a specialist marine insurance company.
  • Mooring fees: £2,000 to £18,000 a year
    Dependent on your mooring type and location.
  • Hull blacking and painting: £850 plus 
    Costs are dependent on the size of your houseboat and we advise checking and repainting every three-five years to protect your boat from corrosion. 
    - It can cost £350 to take your boat out of the water and £500 to complete the work, which can take a week. So factor in the cost of alternative accommodation.
  • Toilet pump-out: £20 a month
    Houseboat toilets look like ordinary loos. You don’t manually empty the tank, the contents are pumped out via pipework at a pump outstation.

Living on a houseboat offers a unique and alluring lifestyle choice for many boating enthusiasts and those who are particularly eco-conscious. It's worth noting that most buyers opt to purchase houseboats with cash, as traditional mortgage providers typically refrain from lending on floating homes due to registration limitations and potential mobility concerns. Specialist 'marine mortgages' are available, they often require a substantial 25% deposit, come with higher interest rates, and feature shorter repayment terms.

Let's delve into the pros and cons of houseboat ownership, and explore the unparalleled advantages and considerations that come with embracing this extraordinary way of life.



  • The freedom to relocate your home at a moment’s notice
  • A healthier place to live, surrounded by fresh air, an outdoorsy lifestyle and the chance to bond with nature
  • A strong community spirit
  • Unrivalled waterside views
  • No stamp duty
  • Opportunity to reside in central locations and exclusive postcodes, without the hefty price tag of traditional bricks and mortar properties.
  • Limited space – you will need to be ruthless with your belongings and food, the days of hoarding are over.
  • Ongoing maintenance of treating rust spots and blacking the hull
  • Be prepared to empty your toilet and fill your water tank

Enquire now