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Hong Kong housing

Hong Kong’s Discovery Bay boat owners face higher berthing fees next year, on top of possible eviction

  • New tariffs will apply to owners who did not sign previously offered contract for temporary extension of stay
PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 December, 2018, 9:02am
UPDATED : Friday, 07 December, 2018, 11:24am

Houseboat families facing eviction from a three-decade-old marina in Hong Kong will need to pay a higher berthing fee – up to HK$12,000 (US$1,536) a day – next year if they want to remain there but have not signed a contract for a temporary extension of stay.

The Discovery Bay Marina Club plans to terminate all memberships by the end of this month as the marina closes for major renovation, a decision that will affect 200 boat-dwelling families.

A notice from the club stated that by 2019, owners of boats that remained in the area without a licence or consent from the club would need to pay a new berthing tariff.

Berths between 35 feet and 55 feet in size will cost HK$5,000 a day, or HK$150,000 a month, while those who want a 120-foot berth will need to fork out HK$12,000 a day, or HK$360,000 a month. However, no water, electricity and sewage treatment service will be provided.

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The berthing fees this year range between HK$4,200 and HK$46,800 a month for berths between 30 feet and 120 feet.

The club’s spokesman said the new fees are daily visitor tariffs and it was standard industry practice that daily charges were higher than long-term fees.

“The club reserves its rights to take appropriate actions to the left behind vessels and articles of existing members who did not apply for temporary berthing offered,” he said, adding that one of its rights was to charge a daily visitor’s tariff on the left behind vessels.

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He urged affected members to make full arrangements for debenture redemption and the removal of their vessels.

The club, owned by Hong Kong Resort Company, a principal subsidiary of HKR International (HKRI), had informed members on August 31 about the termination of their berthing rights, giving them only four months to find new mooring locations. Members were outraged and asked for more time.

In October, the club offered members a temporary contract allowing them to berth their boats at the marina until the end of March next year. But they had to pay HK$150,000 (US$19,136) in advance, which would be refundable when members’ boats departed or before the extension ended.

Members also needed to pay three months of berthing fees in advance at a 20 per cent discount on current monthly berthing fees.

Under the new arrangement, owners who did not sign the temporary contracts will need to pay the new tariff. Their visitors will also need to pay HK$2,000 each per visit.

Henry Moreno, chairman of a group of 208 affected club members, was sceptical about the new price list.

“Why did HKR claim that the club was closing for renovations but just posted new tariffs applicable on January 1 2019?” he said.

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He said if a 65-foot vessel continued to moor at the marina without a temporary deal next year, its owner would need to pay HK$240,000 a month, up from HK$14,300 per month under the existing membership arrangement.

This would be an increase of 1,578 per cent.

Moreno said he did not sign the temporary deal offered because he could not consider it as an extension, adding that there would be no power, no water and no security provided.

Additional reporting by Shirley Zhao