Floating Home Was Not a Boat, Supreme Court Rules
Thu, 17 Jan, 2013 06:44 AM PST
Don't call it a "houseboat." The U.S. Supreme Court ruled this week that a Florida man's floating home was not a vessel . For the record, a houseboat has means of propulsion, and Fane Lozman's home did not.
Local Expert Weighs In On Supreme Court Ruling On Florida Houseboat
Thu, 17 Jan, 2013 04:15 AM PST
The US Supreme Court this week issued a ruling that may help houseboat owners avoid a pretty serious consequence.
Supreme Court: Floating Home Still A Man's Castle
Wed, 16 Jan, 2013 12:42 AM PST
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that a Florida man's floating
home was a house, not a boat, and that therefore, the city marina where
he kept it docked could not seize the structure under federal maritime
law. The case could affect thousands of houseboat owners nationwide
This case has huge implications, far beyond the simple fact that the city now owes this man restitution for destroying his home. Many cities in the US have large floating home populations. Seattle, Sausalito near San Francisco, Cities in Florida, and many others have large communities of homes on the water (I guess I can't call them houseboats anymore).
The city of Seattle has been trying for many years to reduce the number of floating homes by passing restrictive laws, such as requiring the homes to have propulsion (thereby making them a "vessel", and thus a "boat".) or requiring hook ups to city utilities, such as water, sewage and electric. Seattle has one of the largest populations of floating homes outside of Hong Kong, and this has been a long festering fight with the city by home owners. These homes have even become a tourist attraction listed on city tour guides.
The same sort of things have been going on in Sausalito and Florida.
So, it remains to be seen just how it will play out but this is definitely not the "end of the story".