How Much of a Problem Is this
I don't know. Could be none at all. Could be a living nightmare. Likely somewhere in between, and mostly involving a PITA (and a few £££'s) to get the registration
sorted at the outset.
But truth be sold the only person who will ever know is the person who buys it. and that might take a few years for any nasties in the story to appear.
The boat has an uncertain ownership
history. not unknown, just uncertain. That may just be the result of numpties not appreciating the value (£££) of keeping paperwork straight. or it might be related to the Vendor not owning the vessel. Whether shared with a bank or good old fashioned stolen. The odds on of course that just a paperwork thing. but.........
My guess is your question is generated by the boat being at an attractive price
- one of the basic tricks is to get folk (with the money) to acquire ownership of a problem, so that they own and therefore become comfortable with the solution - rather than them needing to have a solution sold to them. All the better if the solution is a little bit naughty / clever. The odds on of course that vendor just not got the cash (or the wit?) to sort registration
out himself before a sale. but.........
Sounds like the boat was properly de-registered in France
(but you might
want to check how a vessel can get USCG registered - do they just list anything? or require evidence of de-registration?). If the former buyer has signed an Affadavit sounds like the boat is still registered in his name with the USCG - and if memory serves me right USCG registration is title / proof of ownership.......probably the reason for the Affadavit........Lets hope that Affadavit is genuine. and actually means what it says (just as a heads up - in Europe
/ UK a Notary is in the main a respected capacity and not handed out lightly (usually to Advocates and Lawyers), in the US however the requirements vary wildly between states. The last time I looked closely was a few years ago, but some requirements were mainly around having $20 and being a resident of the state......which kinda blew my plan to qualify
......so I wouldn't regard a document signed by a Notary as gospel proof......and they do have a tendency to simply be Notarising that the person in front of them claimed something was true - not that they verified either the facts. or that was the person).
If you are intending to buy, I would suggest that you agree a deal subject to Vendor getting registration in his own name somewhere you can also do the same......ideally with registration requirements that would fit in well with later German registration (my guess is that you are not buying
from someone who could get a vessel german registered from the getgo)........if you can't come up with a jurisdiction that works for you both as individuals I would suggest corporate registration in one of the offshore
islands (it's not all about saving tax. usually none to save - administrative conveniance comes into it as well, can sell to anyone in 10 minutes of paperwork, plus low (zero) skipper
/ crew / boat licensing requirements).........would likely end up on a British style Register
but I suspect (i.e. don't actually know
) that the Part 1 registration which requires a tonnage survey
would fit in to later German registration by not requiring the same again. but I could have that completely wrong
- but worth a Google
or 2. Likely looking at a couple of £k for that. if not a tad more.
Of course if she was sold in South America
(and outside the bits of France / EU in that part of the world) then any VAT she had on her would have been lost
.......but I leave that to others, as EU may not even be on your radar
Of course the cheap
and cheerful way would be for a UK resident freind
who has a uk address (not a po box) could register a lawnmower on the SSR - no coporate ownership though. and it would probably be prudent for Vendor to de-list from USCG register before a cheque gets handed over......might end buying
a completely un-registered boat though, at least until you can get in on somewhere......but that ain't a crime. well, not over here it ain't - Mexico might of course be different
Might also be prudent to check the bilges, for parts
of the PO. or other buyers
Of course this is the point where you say it is a 47 foot ferrocement catamaran
that has been used as a hen house in Mexico since 1972..........for $5k
Oh, and none of the above is meant as advice - either way. You spend your money
as you see fit
. and I'll do the same with mine