The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments next week in a case focusing on whether a houseboat qualifies as a “vessel”   under federal maritime laws.

Lozman v. City of Riviera Beach centers on a Florida man’s houseboat, which until being sold at auction and destroyed was attached to a dock and unable to navigate on water without being towed.

The case stems from a years long dispute between the owner and the city. After the city concluded the houseboat owner would not pay for the three years’ worth of marina bills and city services it said he owed, the city sued the houseboat. This is a tactic often used when a floating structure is considered under maritime jurisdiction.

Lower courts sided with the city’s claim that the structure qualified as a vessel, and a court order was issued at the city’s request requiring that it be sold at auction. The floating home was sold, then subsequently destroyed — which begs the question of whether the case is now moot. Both sides argue that, because the city posted a $25,000 bond that could ultimately cover any ownership claims Lozman might be entitled to if he wins the case, the case should not be dismissed.

The case could have far reaching consequences if the structure is deemed a “vessel” under maritime law, such as greatly broadening the number of large passenger “vessels” the Coast Guard is required to inspect.