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This couple pays $2,236/month to live on a 65-ft houseboat in London—take a look inside

In Business
June 08, 2024

As a dual citizen of the U.S. and the U.K., Maisy Dewey always dreamed of living in London.

Her mother is American and her father was born and raised in London. Dewey’s parents lived between London and the U.S. before eventually settling in New Jersey, where she grew up. She and her sisters would regularly fly to England’s capital during school breaks and summer vacation to visit their grandmother, who still lives there.

In 2022, the 25-year-old and her fiancé, Harrison Kent, had been living in Philadelphia for two years.

“We wanted to be a little closer to our families but I had always told him, ‘whenever you want to move to London, I’m down,'” the graphic designer tells CNBC Make It. “He had only been once before.”

Around the time of this conversation, Kent began researching schools to get his master’s in furniture design. In November 2022 he was accepted to his dream master’s program, the Kingston University Masters of Product & Furniture Design, in London, and the couple decided to cross the pond.

“It was one of those things that we knew if we don’t do it now we were never going to do it,” Dewey says. “It’s such a privilege to have multiple passports and I didn’t want my 20s to be over and never have actually lived in the U.K. full time.”

Dewey and Kent were living in Philadelphia with their dog, Kipper, when they decided they wanted to move to London.

Maisy Dewey

Preparations for their transatlantic move began soon after.

The two started having yard sales every weekend in the lead up to their August 2023 move and sold almost all of their belongings, bringing in an estimated $3,000 to help fund their move.

“It was nice that we knew so far in advance because we had a lot of time to do it right,” Dewey says.

But finding their perfect London home while still living in Philadelphia was harder than expected. They would send out inquiries before going to bed, and by the time they woke up had already been informed that the spots were taken.

Dewey admits that living on the houseboat has made her even more of a homebody now.

Maisy Dewey

With their move looming, Dewey and Kent decided to do a short-term rental and continue searching for a more permanent living arrangement from London.

After several months of looking, the couple thought they found their perfect home. But just before they went to tour it, the listing agent informed them it had been taken.

The agent then said he had another space by the water to show them. When they told him a waterfront property was likely out of their budget, he clarified that it was in the water, not on it. Soon, they were on their way to tour a moored houseboat.

Dewey and Kent were the first people to live on the boat after it had been renovated.

Maisy Dewey

Though they were skeptical about living on a boat, especially as the owners of a 2-year-old Dalmatian, Kipper, Dewey and Kent kept their minds open.

“Immediately we both realized that it was nicer than we expected. It has recently been redone, so we were going to be the first people to live in it,” Dewey says. “[It was] a total stroke of luck.”

The 65-ft long widebeam boat features a living room, two bedrooms, full bathroom and a kitchen.

The houseboat has two bedrooms, a kitchen, and living room area.

Maisy Dewey

The couple signed a two-year lease in November 2023 at a rate of roughly $2,200 per month. Their upfront costs included a security deposit just over $2,500, according to documents reviewed by CNBC Make It.

“We feel like we’re living in a children’s picture book,” Dewey says. “It adds such a fun element to life. I’m already such a huge homebody and I feel like living on the boat has really done me in.”

Living on a boat comes with some unique responsibilities as well, including needing to refill its water tank every few days with tap water supplied by the dock. It’s a trade-off they’re happy to accept in exchange for living somewhere with as much outdoor space as indoor space.

“After work, I’ll bring a little beach chair out on top of the boat and just sit on top of the boat and read,” she says. “Sometimes we’ll have dinner up there.”

Dewey uses the second bedroom as an at-home office.

Maisy Dewey

Another perk of living in the houseboat is the sense of community and camaraderie amongst residents of the other boats in the area.

“I think the most friendly people in all of London live right on our dock,” she says. “We’re always chatting with our neighbors and everybody is always looking out for each other.”

Although the couple lived in a house in Philadelphia before they moved to London, Dewey says the houseboat feels more spacious and safer than any other place she’s lived in before.

“I have definitely had my share of apartments that I’ve rented where it just wasn’t quite right,” she says. “Here, it feels like home for me, Harry and Kipper.”

The houseboat also has a full bathroom.

Maisy Dewey

The couple has been living aboard their houseboat for over six months. They don’t see themselves leaving anytime soon.

“I think we’re definitely going to try and stay here as long as we can,” she says. “We would leave the boat kicking and screaming if we had to!”

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