The challenges facing would-be home owners in the UK are arguably as stiff as they have ever been. But as the banks raise the bar inch by inch, and the economy continues to ‘bump along the bottom’ – thereby giving lenders the jitters – people are being forced to think of ever more ingenious ways to own their own home.

Among these sometimes-unorthodox ideas is the houseboat. They are generally much cheaper than bricks-and-mortar homes, and so understandably have piqued the interest of some. After purchase they might be either lived in or rented out. But what many people don’t know is that getting a residential or buy to let mortgage on a houseboat is not possible, for the simple reason that lenders won’t lend on homes that cannot be listed on the Land Registry – and this of course applies to houseboats.

A special ‘marine mortgage’ might be a good alternative, but in most cases you would be required to put down a 20% deposit. Additionally, you’ll need to prove that you can afford up to a 15 year term, and deal with interest rates which are considerably higher than land-based property. Residential mooring fees and compulsory insurance can also add to the cost.

A houseboat might be tempting for those seeking a way to enter the buy-to-let market, but ultimately might be more challenging than a normal house or flat. As our buy to let insurance customers know, in terms of getting a rental income to pay off your mortgage, you’re better off with bricks and mortar.