Housing crisis forcing Londoners to use boats as homes

Other | Friday 7th April 2017 | Ben

As London goes into its worst housing crisis since the Thatcher days, more people are turning to the rivers of our capital in their search for a place to live.

An estimated 10,000 people live on 100 miles of waterways, with more than 1,000 ‘continuous cruisers’ in the city alone.

Due to work or schooling, location is obviously essential for many Londoners, yet as a consequence of rent and house prices constantly increasing, residents can no longer afford to live where they want.

This has led to a growing number of people buying or renting boats in response to rising property prices.

However the rise in popularity of canal boats is resulting in overcrowding of the rivers meaning additional moorings and facilities, such as water supply and waste disposal, are needed to cope. Unfortunately demand is currently outweighing supply.

Image result for london canal boats

Figures by the Canals and Rivers Trust (CRT) show that between 2011 and 2014 the numbers of boats without home moorings doubled on Regent’s Canal alone. No doubt that figure has grown even more in the last three years.

This research comes as no suprise as residential moorings used to be a fixed price but now sadly the CRT auction them, benefitting only the highest bidders, resulting in soaring prices. Even wealthy real estate companies such as British Land are taking the opportunity to buy out individuals.

The rivers were not designed for floating communities and anyone who uses the canals regularly can see how busy they’ve gotten. Although it may look like a simple and idyllic way to live, the reality is not always the case.