A Fair Contract for Residential Berth Holders

by Sue Rodwell Smith

A Fair Contract for Residential Berth Holders

by Sue Rodwell Smith
Sue Rodwell Smith
Case Owner
I am the chair of Hartford Marina Community Association.
22
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£2,525
pledged of £6,000 stretch target from 23 pledges
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Sue Rodwell Smith
Case Owner
I am the chair of Hartford Marina Community Association.
Pledge now

This case is raising funds for its stretch target. Your pledge will be collected within the next 24-48 hours (and it only takes two minutes to pledge!)

Hi everyone, it has been a while since I last was in contact with you.  For new people who are new to this site let me give you a very brief outline of the situation.  There are many more people who live on houseboats and narrowboats in marinas on a full time residential basis.  Unfortunately local councils are not too happy in giving residential status and only allow holiday use.  

However, due to the shortage of affordable accommodation Councils are now reassessing their strategy with regard to river dwellers and giving full residential status. The mooring licence given by the majority of  marinas is usually a one year contract renewable on an annual basis.  This is fine if you live on a boat but if you live in a permanent structure, ie a caravan or a lodge this is not appropriate.  I have lived on Hartford Marina for twenty years and have continually as for a proper licence for my lodge.  Every year the owners, Tingdene, give me a mooring licence for a vessel which includes the clause ‘no part of the company’s harbour or premises or any vessel or vehicle while situation therein or theron shall be used by the Owner for any commercial or residential purposes’.  

Those of us who live permanently on the marina not only pay a substantial mooring fee but also pay council tax.  Two years ago a lady who lives on the marina in one of the floating caravans with her son was given 28 days notice notice to quit.  The reason given was that the walkway to which her caravan is moored is beyond economical repair.  Where would she go with a caravan and a floating pontoon?  After consulting with a solicitor and a QC we were told that her caravan is protected under the Mobile Homes Act and as such she has security of tenure for a minimum of 5 years and should have a proper licence reflecting that status.  After crowd funding we had collected enough funds to go to the First Tier Tribunal, and after several postponements from Tingdene, the hearing took place at the end of November last year.  Just before Christmas we received their decision as follows:

“The Tribunal determines that:

  • The Applicant’s Property is a caravan on a float.
  • The 1998 Planning Permission and 2014 Certificate allow for the stationing of a houseboat, which in the circumstances of this case is a caravan on a float, on that part of the Site on which the Property is situated. 
  • As the Property is a caravan which may be occupied as a sole residence, then the area edged red on the plan annexed to 2014 Certificate is a “caravan site” to which the Mobile Homes Act 1983 applies and therefore is a “protected site”.
  • The parties must enter into a Written Agreement that is compliant with the Mobile Homes Act 1983”.

We won,  however, Tingdene have now applied and been granted an appeal which will be heard in the Royal Court of Justice in London later this year.  Our QC doesn’t feel that we will lose as Jan lives in a caravan albeit on a floating pontoon as can be seen in the photo.  Tingdene are arguing that the unit includes the float and cannot be determined as a caravan under the Mobile Homes Act.  You can imagine the stress that Jan and her son are going through.  Every month she pay her mooring fees and every month Tingdene returns them!!!  The stress she is being put under is unforgiveable, we all need to have security where we live.  As always in these cases funding is always a problem.  Tingdene appear to have a never ending pot of money to spend while we have to go to crowd funding to continue with this case, David v Goliath comes to mind.  This decision does not only affect Jan but all the caravans on the marina, Tingdene still refuse to give a proper residential contract.  If the Court finds in our favour again, Tingdene will be required to do as (d) above. I would therefore ask if your generosity can be relied upon again.  Please remember that all funds collected go straight to our solicitor to cover all fees.  I have put a low start of £2k to cover pre court fees but will need to extend later.  Thanking you in advance.

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