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Old 02-09-2015, 20:45   #1
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Squatting at dock

My friend has a dock in downtown Fort Lauderdale that's not far from the inlet. It's a great property since it's so close to the inlet (with a drawbridge no less!) and it's in a protected canal.



A sailor brought his boat in to her dock with promise of money and signing the dockage contract soon. She, being the trusting person that she is, allowed him to leave his boat on her dock. Now he is refusing to pay or pick up his boat!
What can she do to reclaim her dock?
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Old 02-09-2015, 20:49   #2
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Re: Squatting at dock

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Originally Posted by hogHunter View Post
My friend has a dock in downtown Fort Lauderdale that's not far from the inlet. It's a great property since it's so close to the inlet (with a drawbridge no less!) and it's in a protected canal.



A sailor brought his boat in to her dock with promise of money and signing the dockage contract soon. She, being the trusting person that she is, allowed him to leave his boat on her dock. Now he is refusing to pay or pick up his boat!
What can she do to reclaim her dock?
Set it FREE, I have no idea what happened your honour.
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Old 02-09-2015, 21:25   #3
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Re: Squatting at dock

Much safer to put a lien on the boat and have the sheriff plaster and chain it to dock until damages are paid
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Old 02-09-2015, 21:45   #4
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Re: Squatting at dock

Is the boat titled with current registration? If it is documented, good luck! A local boatyard owner here had a conversation with me and a friend recently. There are number of boats in his yard that are documented, and have not paid yard fees for months, and even years. He can't do anything with those boats. They just take up space, and he has no recourse. Titled vessels are no problem. He can put a lien on those and get his money, or cut them up. This could also be a problem with the abandoned boats in Florida.

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Old 02-09-2015, 22:22   #5
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Re: Squatting at dock

Doing anything to his boat or anchor line could be viewed as vandalism. Now if you needed to remove "your" cleat for some reason, we'll it is you property.>
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Old 03-09-2015, 02:57   #6
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Re: Squatting at dock

Pretty sure you can put a lien against a documented vessel, it's done all the time given that there is no mortgage on it. If there's a mortgage the CG will not grant ownership etc unless the bank debt is cleared and banks almost never release unless it's been paid off. , her problem is shes not an official marina or storage yard contractor etc... All she can do is file for an abandoned vessel and post the required notices etc and take ownership after the set period of time. She could take the owner to small claims court and put a lien that way on it.



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Old 03-09-2015, 05:39   #7
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Re: Squatting at dock

If nothing else surely she could have the boat removed, it's at least trespassing?
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Old 03-09-2015, 06:15   #8
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Re: Squatting at dock

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If nothing else surely she could have the boat removed, it's at least trespassing?
No, that's where she really messed up. The OP said the sailor signed a contract, so it's not trespassing. It's now a contractual issue.

Reality, she made a classic landlord mistake. You get a deposit and intial payments up front or you don't let them in. A $1000 up front likely would have stopped him from coming in in the first place or at least covered some of the expenses of what to do with it.

Any suggestion that could cause damage to the boat, is a bad idea (ie: set her free). You might get her towed but they are going to want her to pay for the tow and the storage...up front. And they may be hesitant if since she is not the owner.

She can certainly file a lien on the boat, even if it's documented for all it's worth. She will likely fall in line after the mortgage company if there is one. In fact if there is a mortgage company (I'm guessing not), that could be helpful. If the guy isn't paying you, he probably isn't paying the mortgage. They may be grateful to know where the boat is and if they foreclose on it, you now have someone to charge for services and at worst case, you can tell them to get it off your dock.

EDIT: Sorry I misread, it sounds like he didn't sign the contract. BUT that doesn't really help. Effectively, they have a verbal contract which puts her in the same position.
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Old 03-09-2015, 06:20   #9
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Re: Squatting at dock

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Much safer to put a lien on the boat and have the sheriff plaster and chain it to dock until damages are paid
This is a good start. Or call a local salvage company. For all practical (and probably legal) purposes, the boat has been abandoned. So now it can be salvaged. Guessing the boat isn't worth much, if anything, but someone should be willing to tow it off for scrap.

No different, really, than if someone parked their car in your driveway and left it. You would have every right to have it towed. And lots of tow companies would be happy to come and get it, because they know they'll either get their money back from the owner or by selling it.
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Old 03-09-2015, 06:22   #10
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Re: Squatting at dock

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Originally Posted by valhalla360 View Post
No, that's where she really messed up. The OP said the sailor signed a contract, so it's not trespassing. It's now a contractual issue.
He promised to sign a contract soon. Since he did not sign a contract then he is trespassing.
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Old 03-09-2015, 06:41   #11
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Re: Squatting at dock

As I read it. No contract exists. If its verbal and no witnesses.... then I would just let the boat float.

But thats me.
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Old 03-09-2015, 06:46   #12
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Re: Squatting at dock

No, don't just cut it loose and let it go. Then it becomes a hazard, perhaps drifts down on someone else's boat, and so on. Just cutting it loose would be a horribly inconsiderate thing to do to all the other people who live on, or use, this waterway.

Have it towed away. Here's a list of marine salvage companies in the Ft. Lauderdale area...Fort Lauderdale Marine Salvage Yards
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Old 03-09-2015, 06:51   #13
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Re: Squatting at dock

See, I feel real sure in the US, letting it go will have you in court and owning a lot of money.
No, as many Lawyers as there are, surely at least one will be involved with this eventually, may as well talk to one now and take their advice, my advice and I assume most of ours is worth what is being paid for it, I assume most of us are really just guessing, I know I am.
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Old 03-09-2015, 06:51   #14
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Re: Squatting at dock

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Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
No, don't just cut it loose and let it go. Then it becomes a hazard, perhaps drifts down on someone else's boat, and so on. Just cutting it loose would be a horribly inconsiderate thing to do to all the other people who live on, or use, this waterway.

Have it towed away. Here's a list of marine salvage companies in the Ft. Lauderdale area...Fort Lauderdale Marine Salvage Yards
Much Better Idea.
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Old 03-09-2015, 07:00   #15
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Re: Squatting at dock

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Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
No, don't just cut it loose and let it go. Then it becomes a hazard, perhaps drifts down on someone else's boat, and so on. Just cutting it loose would be a horribly inconsiderate thing to do to all the other people who live on, or use, this waterway.

Have it towed away. Here's a list of marine salvage companies in the Ft. Lauderdale area...Fort Lauderdale Marine Salvage Yards
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Much Better Idea.
Really? then there is whole mess of involvement of the dock owner assuming responsibility for actuating the removal mechanism. That is a world of pain on its own in terms of time and cost.

If the boat is free in the water or even anchored in the middle of the waterway, then the owner is contacted and has to resolve it. If he has no contract to berth the boat where it is now then its up to him to remove it.

Like I said, and having faced a squatter on my dock, the second option worked better for me. Each to their own.

Added: Location Florida. It might be easier in other States.
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