Unpaid Mooring Fees – 5 tips to get them paid ✔️
The challenge of unpaid mooring fees
The challenge of unpaid mooring fees is an all too common problem facing Harbours and Marinas in the UK. In the current turbulent economic times, there has been an increase in unpaid mooring fees owed to many a harbour or marina so taking action is essential.
It is not just the non payment of mooring fees that can present an issue. there are also other fees that can be outstanding. Unpaid berthing fees, anchorage fees, storage fees and docking fees. The non-payment of any type of fee can hit a Harbour hard.
If you’re a harbour or Marina business owner in the UK, then you know how vital mooring fees are. Not only do they help cover maintenance costs, but they also keep business afloat. However, what happens when these mooring fees go unpaid?
The problem of unpaid mooring fees can seriously impact the financial stability of harbour owners. This blog post will delve into the problems of dealing with unpaid mooring fees, and suggest possible solutions to help business owners out.
This article looks into tackling the issue of unpaid mooring fees, storage fees and berthing fees.
Unpaid mooring fees – Top 5 tips to recover
Understand the Legal Rights of Your Marina or Harbour Business
Before you take any steps to recover unpaid mooring fees, it is essential to understand your legal rights. You are entitled to take action to recover these fees, but it needs to be done in a legal and professional manner. The first step is to review your contract and ensure that it contains clear terms and conditions regarding payment. You should also ensure that customers are aware of these terms and conditions before they enter into the contract.
The Harbour, Docks and Piers clauses Act of 1847 allows Marinas and harbours (that were created by special acts of parliament) to arrest or detain any boat on their property where there are outstanding fees.
The Torts (interference with goods) Act 1977 can also be a great help. This allows a marina to dispose of a boat without a court order. To exercise this right, the marina should have this act incorporated into their terms and conditions.
Communicate with Boat owners
One of the best ways to resolve unpaid mooring fees is to communicate with the boat owners. Sometimes customers may not be aware that they have outstanding fees or may be experiencing financial difficulties.
If possible, reach out to the customer and provide them with a clear breakdown of the fees owed and the consequences of non-payment. Try to work out a payment plan that is acceptable for both parties.
Consider Legal Action
If communication fails, you may need to take legal action to collect unpaid mooring fees. This can be stressful and time-consuming, but it may be necessary to protect your business. It is definitely essential where the need to arrest a boat is imperative.
The first step is to issue a letter before action, giving the customer a final opportunity to pay the outstanding fees. If the customer still fails to pay, you can then proceed with a small claim court case. You will need to provide evidence of the outstanding fees and the efforts you made to recover them and be aware of pre action protocols.
It is also worth nothing that if the claim is under £10,000, you will not be able to claim your costs back.
Work with a Professional Debt Collection Agency
Expensive legal action is not always the best way forward. For many marinas and harbours, they choose to work with the more cost effective Professional debt collection agency option. Top agencies specialize in recovering outstanding debts and have access to legal resources that can be effective in recovering unpaid mooring fees.
As with any service, you will need to pay a fee for their services, which can vary depending on the agency you choose. It is essential you only work with a reputable Debt Collection Agency.
Protect Your Business in the Future
Dealing with unpaid mooring fees can be a stressful experience, but there are steps you can take to protect your business in the future. These include ensuring that you have clear and concise terms and conditions in your contract, communicating with customers regularly, and taking action promptly as soon as fees become overdue. By taking these steps, you can help prevent unpaid fees from becoming a problem in the future.
Conclusion for dealing with unpaid mooring fees
In conclusion, dealing with unpaid mooring fees in the UK can be a challenging experience for harbour business owners. However, there are steps you can take to resolve the issue effectively. Debt Collection or Small claims court may pose a question for some but every situation is different.
By understanding your legal rights, communicating with customers, considering legal action, hiring a debt collection agency, and protecting your business in the future, you can ensure that outstanding fees are recovered promptly and efficiently. Remember to always act professionally and legally, and always put your business interests first.
Unpaid commission fees owing for the sale of boats is also a common occurrence. Whatever the problems your Marina is experiencing, speak to us today for help.
Common questions about Mooring Fees?
What are Mooring fees?
Mooring fees are a time based fee payable to a Marina or Harbour for the overnight mooring of a boat or any type of water vessel. This usually allows the boat owner to use their facilities such as electricity, toilets, pontoons and so on.
Are there different types of Moorings?
Moorings are any stable structure at which a boat or vessel can be secured to. Great examples of this are Wharfs, Piers, Quays, Jetties and mooring buoys.
Residential moorings are usually paid monthly or quarterly. Leisure moorings usually have the same policy. Non residential moorings require ad-hoc payment when mooring and are often for no longer than two weeks.
Is Debt Collection for unpaid mooring fees an option?
Yes certainly. We have helped with the recovery of unpaid mooring fees for many Harbours and Marinas across the UK. Speak to our friendly New Business Team today
Can a Marina seize the boat if mooring fees are not paid?
Yes where appropriate. A Law Harbours, Docks & Piers Clauses Act 1847 applies to marinas that are usually commercial or fishing ports. The marina can seize any boat that is stored or docked in the marina in respect of outstanding mooring fees etc. The fees are referred to as ‘rates’ in the Act.
The boat can be detained until the fees are paid. If the boat owner does not pay then the marina can potentially sell the boat to cover the unpaid mooring fees etc. The marina is entitled to do so without approval from the court.