There has been an interesting new initiative from Mr Shapps and the Department for Communities and Local Government. They consider that the housing crisis might be eased if more of us lived on boats.
“Around 15,000 people live on our waterways and many more would like to do so. The Government’s commitment to Localism could be an opportunity for living on boats to be given a new lease of life. Where houseboats pay council tax, communities will be eligible for the New Homes Bonus, so the potential economic benefits are huge.
“Landlords, councils and communities all have a clear incentive to get more mooring sites in their areas and not become landlocked in their quest to meet local housing needs.”
Nearly Legal considers the idea beyond comment, but I suppose one ought to not dismiss it out of hand. However, if there are only 15,000 living afloat at the present, even if this number were to double, it would not solve the current crisis.
The Poverty Site for example tells us that there were 61,000 households (households mark you, not people) who were newly homeless in 2010.
I also doubt many will think houseboats suitable for families, particularly families with young children.
I am afraid Mr Shapps, the thing we need most is more houses being built, not more mooring places for houseboats. But I suppose allowing more people to live on boats won’t hurt. The government announcement does however have a touch of desperation about it.
If you are considering renting accommodation on a houseboat by the way, be aware though that you will not have a tenancy but a license, as it is not possible to have a tenancy of a boat. This was confirmed in a recent case reported here.
What do you think of Mr Shapps’ idea?