20 April 2016

Buying a boat in the Netherlands

Category: Contract law

Buying a boat in the Netherlands raises questions for the Buyer. That is because a boatowner in the Netherlands very often does not have a Bill of Sale or a certificate of ownership of the boat. Larger vessels may be registered in the register (Kadaster). An extract form the register is proof of ownership. But for boats not registered in the Dutch Register the Buyer should obtain enough information to establish that the Seller is the Owner of the boat. When there is a mortgage on the baot then the boat will always be registered. Transfer will in that case be done thorugh a notary who can strike out the mortgage on the boat. For boats not registered in the Dutch Register the Buyer should obtain enough information to establish that the Seller is the Owner of the boat. Also read: Buying a Yacht in the Netherlands.

Necessary documents when buying a boat in the Netherlands

You need a document(s) proving the seller is the owner of the boat. Documents to look for are for example :

o The original purchase invoice;

o A bank statement with proof of payment of purchase price;

o Purchase agreements with former owners of the boat;

o A declaration from de manufacturer of the boat;

o A notarial deed confirming the seller is the owner;

o A land registry extract (is the boat is registered, it will have a registry number).

o The certificate of an insurance of the boat in the name of the seller;

o Existing survey reports

o Invoices paid by the seller for maintenance of the boat.

Proof of tax being paid on the boat in the Netherlands

You need proof that taxes on the boat in the Netherlands have been paid. For example:

o The original purchase invoice;

o An official VAT-declaration from customs (so called “btw-vrij-verklaring”). This declaration is accepted in the whole of Europe.

You need proof third parties cannot claim the boat, for example an official declaration form the land registry (so called “verklaring niet-teboekstelling”) confirming the boat is not subject to arrest or encumbered by mortgage.

Dutch yacht documentation with the boat

You need documents about the boat itself, like:

o Users guides;

o Brochures;

o Guarantee certificate’s;

o Reports on maintenance (of the motor);

o (recent) Maintenance invoices.

Other helpful information when purchasing a boat in the Netherlands

– A list of possible defects.

– If the seller is a company, it might be a member of “HISWA”. Companies who are a member of HISWA receive a quality mark. The HISWA general terms and conditions apply to the sale.

– If the boat has a motor and can sail faster than 20 km per hour, and the total length of the boat is smaller than 20 meters, you need to ask to for a license from the RDW (National Vehicle and Driving License Registration Authority).

When asking the seller for abovementioned documents the purchaser also ask the seller of the boat for a copy of the draft purchase agreement. We advise you that a lawyer specialized in yachts checks the draft agreement before finalizing the purchase.