Anti-social or nuisance parking is frustrating and it may appear like a police matter. Most of the time, it isn’t. Rather, you are more likely to get help from your local council.
Many people resort to taking matter into their own hands by vandalising the car or towing it without the owner’s permission. These are acts of vandalism and may result in criminal prosecution.
The first thing you should understand is that you have no special right to park directly outside your property. All road users have the same rights as long as they do not obstruct the highway or violate parking restrictions.
If someone has parked on the street and is blocking the entrance to your driveway, they are doing nothing wrong as long as they are not going against a particular parking violation.
You can, however, pursue legal claim for nuisance on grounds that the vehicle is interfering with use or enjoyment of your property. But it is not a police matter.
What, then, can you legally do if someone is blocking your driveway?
Here are different scenarios and how do deal with them legally.
1. When someone is blocking your driveway
When a vehicle is blocking you from leaving your driveway, see if you can find who the owner is and ask them to clear the way. This will usually solve the problem.
If you can’t find the owner, you can always leave a note on the windscreen. They may have not realised that they had caused a problem.
If this still doesn’t work, contact the local council who can try to contact the owner and ask them to move the car.
If the vehicle has an unknown owner, you can call the non-emergency service number, 101.
2. What if the car blocking your driveway is abandoned?
An abandoned car is one that has not been moved or attended to in a long time. Common signs for an abandoned car are:
- Broken steering column
- Significantly damaged
- Flat tyres and broken windows
- Run-down or un-roadworthy
- Has a lot of rubbish in it
- Missing or suspicious number plates, which may be an indicator of a stolen vehicle.
These abandoned vehicles may not only be blocking your driveway, but also the highway.
If you know the owner, politely ask them to move the vehicle. Do not make physical threats or attempt moving the car yourself. This might make the situation worse or you may even be committing an offence yourself.
If you don’t know the owner, contact the local council who will try to reach the owner or have it towed away.
If the abandoned vehicle seems suspicious or stolen, report to the police using their non-emergency line, 101.
3. When someone is parked in your driveway
Parking on someone’s driveway without the owner’s permission is considered trespassing by the law. But it is a civil, not a criminal, offence.
Talk to the owner politely as this can simply be a misunderstanding. It does not necessarily require police intervention but do not hesitate to call the police on their non-emergency number if the owner is not cooperating.
Tip: You might be able to resolve matters quicker if you catch a driver in the act of parking on your driveway. Install a driveway alarm to get an alert if a vehicle is on your driveway. This way, you don’t have to struggle to find the owner later.
4. An illegally parked car
If parking space is available on a public road, even if it is directly outside your house, anyone can park in it provided they are not obstructing the public road.
However, there are cases of illegal parking such as:
- Parking over a dropped kerb
- Parking 10 metres from a junction
- Anywhere that would prevent access for Emergency Services
- On taxi bays, cycle lanes or red lines
For the above cases, contact the local council who will issue the owner with a penalty charge notice.
If the vehicle is dangerously parked or parked on zigzag pedestrian crossing paths or in a way that it blocks emergency vehicles, then report the matter to the police as this is a crime.
Whatever the parking situation, never take matters into your hands in ways that may land you in trouble. Always resort to dialogue first before escalating the problem to the local council or the police.