In 2016 Chelsea Yacht & Boat Company Limited was sold to local property developers Andrew & Charlotte Moffat. They have refused to honour agreements boatowners made with the previous owners, who had promised to always renew mooring licences.
In September 2017, CYBC was loaned £6.7 million as part of a plan to “increase its revenues through the sale of luxury new build boats attached to long-term mooring licences”. Boatowners are concerned about where these new boats will go, since all the berths at CYBC are occupied.
Twenty days before Christmas 2017, the company served notice on 18 boat owners requiring them to obtain an out-of-water survey within 30 days or face eviction. This was an impossible demand, as during the winter suitable dry-docks are booked up months in advance. As a result, on 8th February 2018 the company served termination notices on 14 boat owners who had been unable to arrange surveys.
On average, the boatowners the company is now referring to as “Trespassers” have owned their boats for 21 years. Several are pensioners. CYBC claims boatowners failed to take action on safety matters but that is simply not true.
For those it is not currently trying to force out, CYBC has sought to increase licence premiums by over 300%. Such an increase would be unaffordable to all but a few boatowners.
Boatowners believe evicting them is part of a lucrative Moffat plan to free up space for their new build ‘super-prime’ houseboats.
If boats are forced out, the current patchwork of houseboats will be gone forever. Evicted boats may have to be scrapped due to there being no moorings available in Greater London for houseboats without engines.