Problems facing the boatowners since CYBC was acquired by the Moffats
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 and there is little or no potential to add new berths.
Twenty days before Christmas 2017, CYBC served notice on 18 boatowners making an impossible demand that they obtain an out-of-water survey within 30 days or face eviction. By 8th February, only four boatowners had managed to get their boats surveyed and the remaining 14 boatowners were given 30 days to pack up and leave the mooring.
The boatowners the company is now referring to as “Trespassers” have each owned their boat for an average of 21 years. Several are pensioners. CYBC claims they failed to take action on safety matters but that is simply not true (see dry docking).
For those it is not currently trying to force out, CYBC has sought to increase licence premiums by over 300% (see fees). Such an increase would be unaffordable to all but a few boatowners and may be illegal (see legal).
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 along with the heritage and diversity they bring to the neighbourhood. Evicted boats may have to be scrapped due to there being no moorings available in Greater London for houseboats without engines. The community that has lived on them for decades will be ripped apart.