Is living on a boat in London legal?

Living on a boat in London has become increasingly popular in recent years as people seek alternative options for living spaces in the expensive city. However, many people are unsure whether it is legal to live on a boat in London. The answer is complicated and depends on several factors.

Firstly, it is important to distinguish between houseboats and pleasure boats. Houseboats are intended to be used as a permanent residence, while pleasure boats are intended for short-term stays or holiday use. The legal status of living on a boat in London is primarily determined by whether the boat is a houseboat or a pleasure boat.

Houseboats are subject to planning and building regulations, and require planning permission to be used as a permanent residence. In addition, houseboats must have a permanent mooring with appropriate facilities, such as water and sewage connections. There are also regulations around the size and type of boat that can be used as a houseboat.

Pleasure boats, on the other hand, are subject to different regulations. These boats are intended for recreational use and can be occupied for short-term stays, but cannot be used as a permanent residence. Pleasure boats need to be licensed by the Canal and River Trust, and must comply with safety regulations.

It is also worth noting that different areas in London may have their own regulations and restrictions around living on a boat. For example, the River Thames has specific bylaws around mooring, while the London Borough of Hackney has restrictions on the number of boats that can moor in certain areas.

Overall, living on a boat in London is legal if the boat is used as a pleasure boat or a properly licensed houseboat with planning permission and a permanent mooring. However, it is important to do research and ensure that any boat is compliant with the relevant regulations and restrictions before choosing to live on it.

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