Living on a Narrowboat in Tamworth – The Ups & Downs

My good friend Paul Morris who is an Estate Agent for  narrowboats, yes really there is such a job! Anyway Paul was trying to convince me, why living on a narrow boat is such a wonderful carefree experience and why he would choose a narrowboat over a house.

I asked him to write a blog putting his side forward as to why owning or renting a narrow boat is preferable over a static house, does it convince me?

rosie and jim
rosie and jim







“Is it cold in winter? Where do you go to the loo? The two most commonly asked questions of people who live on narrowboats. To answer the first, No, it’s great as long as you have a log burner. Added to which you’ll find people will be GIVING you wood to burn, a bit different from British Gas? To answer the second question, usually it’s a cassette toilet, a portable loo, you have to empty into a tank every week or so. It’ not pleasant, but like changing nappies it’s something you get used too.

Other down sides include the lack of space So if you’re a hoarder think about decluttering or putting extra stuff in storage. On the upside you don’t have to pay Council Tax on a rental narrowboat.

If you don’t like your neighbours or change jobs you can pull up the proverbial anchor and sail on somewhere else (check with your landlord/landlady) If you’re a nature lover nothing can be better than being on the canal with moor hen, yin, and swans as your neighbour.

Plus if you fancy a day trip/weekend you can take the boat out, without worrying about accommodation.

Much like renting a house it’s the ‘unseen’ bills that can cause problem. It depends on the deal you set up with your landlord/landlady. Like renting a house you’ll be liable to be credit reference checked and pay a returnable deposit.

As well as mooring fees, which is the charge to park the boat long-term at a marina, there are other costs which you might be liable for.

Canal & River Trust Licence: This is the canal and river version of road tax. The amount paid varies on the size of the boat but it can cost  hundreds of  pounds a year.  For more information see:

Boat Safety Certificate

This certificate is required to prove that the boat you are renting is safe to live on. The cost of this should be met by your landlord/landlady


The narrowboat should be insured against fire/damage etc by your landlord/landlady. But you might want insure your possessions on the boat with some of your own contents insurance.


Electric usually comes from a plug in type arrangement at the marina, and is payable by the renter. Most cookers run on Calor Gas bottles which the renter buys. Water is usually included in the mooring fees. For internet/Wifi, there’s no phone point so you would need a mobile Wifi solution.

Editor ….Paul Morris 

I can certainly see why living on a narrowboat ticks quite a few boxes, perhaps Tamworth Council should think about narrowboats for renters, after all they aren’t building nearly enough houses.

Does one have to purchase a TV licence on a narrowboat??

It appears that Landlords of narrow boats also have  lots of regulations to comply with, why not contact Paul if you need advice.