With airport parking costs rising many holidaymakers are resorting to parking their cars on residential streets while they go away on a trip abroad. This can cause havoc for local residents who have to deal with overcrowded and potentially dangerous space issues.
The rise in anti-social behaviour related to parking has become a major issue in the UK. The increasing number of cars, parking restrictions and stress levels have all combined to make anti-social parking a flashpoint in towns and villages close to UK airports. Some residents become so infuriated with thoughtless drivers that they have taken extreme measures to try and protect a parking space.
Hannah Parsons, a solicitor at DAS Law, looks at some key legal facts you need to know if you’re a homeowner frustrated by people parking their car outside your home for weeks on end…
What action can I take if I can’t park outside my house?
A homeowner has no special legal right to park directly outside their property. All road users have the same right to park anywhere on the public highway as long as they do not contravene parking restrictions.
Can I reserve a parking space on the street?
Trying to keep a parking space available outside your home using cones or some other obstacle could be viewed as an obstruction, and you could be liable to prosecution – unless your local authority has granted you the right to do so for something such as a funeral.
What if someone else parks on my driveway?
If a vehicle is parked on your driveway without your permission, they are trespassing. As trespass is a civil and not criminal offence, the police will not always get involved. At most, they may send an officer to try and determine the owner of the vehicle and ask them to move it.
Can I block their car in?
If someone has parked on your driveway and you were to block them in, your vehicle may be causing an obstruction to the public highway and this is a criminal offence. Thus, the owner of the vehicle could call the police. Some residents have vented their frustrations by damaging offending vehicles. Can they get into trouble with the law? Vandalising a parked car is a criminal act and you can be prosecuted. Even if just spraying chip fat on the windscreen or blocking the exhaust, these acts could still be classed as vandalism.
If I am a victim of anti-social parking – Who do I complain to?
The first step with any anti-social parking problem is to contact your local authority and/or the police. However, there is little the law can do to support homeowners – even if a car blocks your driveway. The Highway Code can only help if the parked car is causing an obstruction to the road but not in relation to private land. In some circumstances, the local authority can take civil enforcement action if a vehicle is parked in front of a dropped kerb and so it would be advisable to contact them.
How long can a vehicle be parked on the street for?
There is no time limit on how long a vehicle can remain parked in the same space on a road as long as they are correctly taxed and not in breach of any parking contraventions. The exception to this is if the vehicle is thought to have been abandoned, in which case it can be removed by the police.
Another option is to pursue a legal claim for nuisance on the grounds that the driver is interfering with your use and enjoyment of your property – but to do so you’d need to know the identity of the offending vehicle’s owner.
Disclaimer: This information is for general guidance regarding rights and responsibilities and is not formal legal advice as no lawyer-client relationship has been created.
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Notes to Editors:
DAS UK Group: www.das.co.uk
The DAS UK Group comprises an insurance company (DAS Legal Expenses Insurance Company Ltd), a law firm (DAS Law), and an after the event (ATE) legal expenses division.
DAS UK introduced legal expenses insurance (LEI) in 1975, protecting individuals and businesses against the unforeseen costs involved in a legal dispute. In 2018 it wrote more than seven million policies.
The company offers a range of insurance and assistance add-on products suitable for landlords, homeowners, motorists, groups and business owners, while it’s after the event legal expenses insurance division offers civil litigation, clinical negligence and personal injury products. In 2013, DAS also acquired its own law firm – DAS Law – enabling it to leverage the firm’s expertise to provide its customers with access to legal advice and representation.
DAS UK is part of the ERGO Group, one of Europe’s largest insurance groups (the majority shareholder in ERGO is Munich Re, one of the world’s largest reinsurers).
DAS UK Group Twitter: https://twitter.com/DASLegalUK
DAS UK Group Facebook: www.facebook.com/DASUKGroup/
DAS UK Group LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/das-legal-expenses-insurance/