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TJ, Esq.
TJ, Esq., Attorney
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Our Yacht Charter firm subleased a moorage slip to a private

Resolved Question:

Our Yacht Charter firm subleased a moorage slip to a private owner (not in our charter fleet) He has failed to pay for now 6 months. He was in contact with us up to 60 days ago. What are our rights? Can we seize the yacht for payment? We are not getting any reply from the owner, both email and mail, phone etc. The yacht is not state registered but it is documented with the Coast guard.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 6 years ago.
Hello and thank you for allowing me the opportunity to assist you.

Unfortunately, you cannot seize the yacht for payment. However, you do have a statutory lien on the yacht per the following Washington law (notice the limitations to just two months rent, however):

RCW 60.72.010

Any person to whom rent may be due, his or her executors, administrators, or assigns, shall have a lien for such rent upon personal property which has been used or kept on the rented premises by the tenant, except property of third persons delivered to or left with the tenant for storage, repair, manufacture, or sale, or under conditional bills of sale duly filed, and such property as is exempt from execution by law. Such liens for rent shall be paramount to, and have preference over, all other liens except liens for taxes, general and special liens of labor, and liens of mortgages duly recorded prior to the tenancy. Such liens shall not be for more than two months' rent due, except that a lien for up to four months' rent due may be established when the tenant is renting a mobile home lot in a mobile home park as defined in RCW 59.20.030. No lien may be enforced for any rent or any installment thereof which has been due for more than two months at the time of the commencement of an action to foreclose such liens, except that a lien may be enforced for rent due for up to four months at the time of the commencement of an action to foreclose the lien when the tenant is renting a mobile home lot in a mobile home park as defined in RCW 59.20.030. No writing or recording shall be necessary to create such lien; and if such property be removed from the rented premises and not returned to the owner, agent, executor, administrator, or assign, the lien shall continue and be a superior lien on the property so removed for ten days from the date of its removal, and the lien may be enforced against the property wherever found. In the event the property contained in the rented premises be destroyed by fire or other elements, the lien shall extend to any money that may be received by the tenant as indemnity for the destruction of the property, nor shall the lien be lost by the sale of the property, except merchandise sold in the usual course of trade or to purchasers without notice of the tenancy. The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to, nor shall it be enforced against, the property of tenants in dwelling houses or apartments or any other place that is used exclusively as a home or residence of the tenant and his or her family.

In order to foreclose, you must follow the requirements set forth in the laws found HERE.

Have I satisfactorily addressed your concerns? If not, then please feel free to ask for clarification.

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DISCLAIMER: Please be aware that only an attorney licensed in your state is authorized to advise you in legal matters, and that the limitations of this setting may prevent your legal issues from being thoroughly addressed. Accordingly, please understand that (1) by answering your question(s) I am not acting as your attorney, (2) my answer(s) should be construed as general information only, and (3) our discussion is not an adequate substitute for an in-person consultation with an attorney.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

I wish to clarify.1. The RCW allows us to lien the vessel without judgement but only for two months rent? 2. If we wish to foreclose, we must have a judgment? Or can we file for ownership due to abandonement and then sell or auction the vessel. 3. If the owner comes back and pays two months rent we cannot lien the vessel and he can take it?

We have also filed a claim, but the court date is another 4 months away. We cannot afford to pay his continuing moorage.

Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 6 years ago.
Hi again.

Yes. the lien is only valid for two months rent. I suppose the legislature wants landlords to move quickly and not allow unpaid rent to purposely grow and grow until they'd be entitled to all of the proceeds from the sale of the property.

If you wish to foreclose, you can do so by suing, or you can use the summary method listed HERE without suing.

Unfortunately, you cannot claim abandonment and keep the yacht. You are only entitled to use the boat for reimbursement for rent through the foreclosure methods listed in the law. Even if you sued for a money judgment and attached the boat, you'd still have to use the foreclosure procedures. You cannot just keep the boat.

I hope that helps. Please remember to click "accept."
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Alright Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX just hard to understand the legaleze of the RCW.


I do not wish to keep the boat , I just wish to foreclose , sell it and get our due moorage. But do I still need a legal judgement or is the Lien for two months enough to start foreclosure?


I need to notify by certified mail the owner of notice to foreclose, and then I can apply for title and sell the vessel. If I receive more than the amount due plus reasonable expenses to sell the vessel, I must try to return the difference to the owner?


Last questions. I appreciate your replys and I will accept the next answer. Thanks again.

Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 6 years ago.
Hi again.

No, you do not need a judgment if you use the summary method I linked to above. But you're correct that you need to provide the proper notice, then you can sell the boat in a commercially reasonable manner which is defined HERE, and if there is anything left over after applying the proceeds to the rent and other costs, then you must return the different to the boat's owner.

I wish you luck!
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