Lake Union Liveaboard Association
Membership Meeting
Sunday, April 29, 2018
Sarah Haggard, Chairperson of the Membership Committee, announced the start of the business meeting Sarah began the meeting with how the Lake Union Liveaboard Association, LULA, was founded in 2009 with a purpose to protect the liveaboards way of life and to support those who had chosen this lifestyle. The development of this organization came at a crucial time when the city of Seattle was challenging those of us who are liveaboards. Sarah also recognized Kevin ad Linda Bagley, who were instrumental in the creations of LULA.
The Events Committee is focusing their efforts making sure members stay connected with more frequent events. There is a sign up for Dock Captain marinas and smaller combined marinas. These volunteers will help facilitate communication and act as the social chairpersons.
Members of the LULA board were asked to stand and be recognized for their work as well as the Events Committee for their efforts for the planning and executions of today's meeting.

Lastly, the membership recognized the sponsor' s for today's meeting: Dunato's, Mischief, Pacific Maritime Title, Pacific Maritime, Shawn Griggs, Sound Community Bank, Special Agents Houseboat Realty, and Tasman Boat Company.
New website
Sheryl Sperry has put together a real time, easy to navigate website at:
Michelle lived on one of the four houses that were given a 30 notice that they would have to find another place for their houseboats, after living there for 4 years. Michelle described her life as a grad student and how happy she was to have affordable housing and the realization that might all go away.
She has heard of LULA, but never came to a meeting or paid membership. She decided to call LULA for help and was given the name of John Chaney and Mauri Shuler. Michelle explained through their assistance of fact-finding and established connections the 4 houseboats at Salmon Bay eviction was thwarted. Michelle also rallied the other liveaboard in Salmon Bay to advocate for their homes with letters to the 'powers that be' to see them as individual with their home at stake. She is now a LULA member and the keynote speaker at today's meeting. A note to al members- personal postcards, letters and connections with your district counsel members make a significant difference, especially when you mention you VOTE.

• Coast Guard (They have not given us any trouble)

• Ecology (change he restriction on gray water)
• DNR (approved the seaplane runway, which we rejected and will continue to fight)
• DOL (to be covered by Shawn Griggs)
• LEGISLATURE (Grandfathered us in as water dependent) + GOVERNOR (still need to win his support)

• Tax assessor and licensing (more on this from Shawn)

• SMP (Shoreline Municipal Plan) revised this plan, which disadvantages us. It is once again up for review/revision.

• Recently involved due to it's purchase of Salmon Bay Marina
*It was John Chaney and Mauri Schuler's connections with legislators and the letter writing of the evicted 4 houseboats helped them win the fight of eviction.
(More on this later)

The Department of Licensing (DOL) has been registering houseboats as vessels for decades, however, recently, getting DOL to issue registration or title has been very difficult, if not impossible. Some registrations have been sitting in limbo for nearly a year. It was thought this was a result of a significant change for the delays and non-issuance.

In 2006, the regulation stated a houseboat was not eligible for registration.
In 2017, the regulation changed, stating proof of value was the requirement.

Shawn's opinion is:
1. There is no consistency on granting registration from office to office.
2. There are very few houseboats on the water that would meet the requirement to be granted the registration and they are considered, under the new regulation, a "floating home" and no longer a vessel. Although this frees you from pollution insurance, you should check to make sure it is not a requirement of your marina lease.

If you are currently registered, there is a good chance that your auto renewal will be honored, depending on where you registered your houseboat. Your biggest concern is would be if you want to sell your houseboat or if someone questions you about your registration.
Bottom line is this is all about collecting taxes be it personal property taxes or real estate taxes.
This means that at the time of sale, houseboats lacking self-propulsion will need to be treated as personal property and will need to be registered with the King County Assessor's office as Personal Property. King County will consider these houseboats to be "floating homes" for registration purposes.
Our understanding is that if you are currently registered as a vessel, no change will happen until a transfer of title occurs. You will remain a vessel until you sell your houseboat (Floating On-Water Residence).
• Houseboat (Vessel Registration)
• Has Self-Propulsion (>10hp)
• Buyers pay Sales Tax at closing (currently 10.1%)
• Buyers pay Annual Registration Fee .5% per year of Depreciating Value
• Closes as a Vessel through Marine Title
• Personal Property (King County Tax Roll)
• Does not have Self-Propulsion
• Sellers pay Excise Tax at closing (currently 1.78%)
• Buyers pay Annual Personal Property tax Approximately 1.25% of replacement cost.
• Closes as Personal Property (like a Floating Home) through an
• Attorney or possibly a Title Company (TBD).
If you choose to convert from a vessel to a "floating home" status, you will have to pay real estate taxes (approximately 1.25% of the houseboat assessed value) and complete a one-page form.

Currently, nothing prevents anyone from maintaining their status as a Vessel, however, when selling, you will have the option of either selling your houseboat without propulsion (remove or disable any engines) and becoming Personal Property or "vesseling up" by adding propulsion and selling as a vessel.
From a Seller's perspective, as Personal Property, the buyer pool will increase as the biggest deterrent to purchasing is the requirement of 20% down payment PLUS 10.1% sales tax. For a $400,000 houseboat (average) this means a buyer would need to have $120,400 available cash at closing for down payment and sales tax. The negative impact is that a Seller would now pay 1.78% excise tax ($7,120 on $400,000) at closing.
From a Buyer's perspective, it becomes much easier to purchase a houseboat as Personal Property. As most homeowners rarely stay in their home for more than 10 years, on average, this will mean an overall saving to the buyer. Based on our current estimates, if you hold your property for approximately 12 years or more, Sales Tax becomes less expensive.
General Considerations: Buyers and Sellers understand Property Tax and are familiar with that process. Buying a houseboat becomes a little more like buying a house. Many lost buyers are a result of being shocked with the 10.1% Sales Tax.

A Choice Remains. For those that want to maintain their status as a Vessel it is still possible. Although it is unclear as what constitutes propulsion, we have heard that 10hp is sufficient. Therefore, if you want your property to remain a vessel, you could maintain or add propulsion. It would then qualify as a Houseboat vessel under Department of Licensing regulations. Alternatively, if your preference is to have your property considered as Personal Property, this can be done by simply not having self-propulsion at the time of sale (remove or disable engines).

Insurance considerations: If you own a vessel with propulsion, your insurance may require you to cover that property as a vessel, rather than as a floating residence. This could mean higher insurance costs, but may provide a more robust coverage.
Shawn did not suggest which option to choose, because each houseboat is different.
Thank you paid members!!
The new website's content included the latest news on the membership meeting, the history of LULA, a photo gallery, membership information and city documents, resources and much more.
LULA's President, Mauri Shuler's presentation "Political Landscape 101"
Keynote Speaker- Michelle Giarmarco
Shawn Grigg's presentation "Department of Licensing (DOL) and Tax Assessor
Vice President, John Chaney, reiterated the importance of making connections with legislators and finding out if your know anyone else who has connections. He explained that the people
whom he had connections, while helping with the Salmon Bay returned his phone calls and emails, because they knew him. It is all about whom you know so thy can put a real person's face to a name. Go to fund raisers and events of your district representative and introduce yourself as someone who lives on a houseboat.
Making Connections with Legislators
Lake Union Liveaboard Association
Membership Meeting
Sunday, April 29, 2018
Houseboats (Vessels)
Lake Union Liveaboard Association
Membership Meeting
Sunday, April 29, 2018
Personal Property
Lake Union Liveaboard Association
Membership Meeting
Sunday, April 29, 2018