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When you look out of your window or arrive home and see an unusual car on your driveway, your first thought may be to call the police or the local council to have it removed.
However, these authorities may not be able to help you, at least when it comes to removing the car as soon as possible.
Tyla spoke with experts at Stress Free Car Rental to find out more about this legal loophole and the ways in which people can handle the difficult situation when someone has parked on their driveway uninvited.
There is no criminal law to punish people who park on a stranger’s driveway uninvited. The driveway is part of the property and by parking on a person’s driveway, the driver is committing an act of trespassing.
However, trespassing is deemed a civil offence, rather than a criminal one, meaning the police don’t have the power to arrest the driver.
"The police are unable to get involved with unknown cars parked on driveways as they are private property," CEO John Charnock from the car rental service said.
Unfortunately, there is very little chance of the law getting involved if you find a stranger's car on your driveway.
In the moment of discovering the car, you should try to remain as calm as possible to avoid any spur of the moment mishaps. "The best thing for the owner of the driveway is to keep calm and try to not let the situation escalate," Charnock added. "Homeowners should most certainly not take the law into their own hands as this can very often result in them committing criminal offences themselves."
Furthermore, Shannon Keenan, Criminal Defence Solicitor at Richard Nelson LLP tells Tyla: "It is not advised that homeowners try to remove the car themselves," through means of hiring a tow truck because you may be liable for damage caused as a result.
Keenan also recommended trying to speak with the person on your driveway or leaving a note on their car. "If this does not help, a civil claim can be brought to the Courts for the removal of the car."
As driveways are considered private property, local councils have no power or authority to remove the vehicle. However, if you believe the car has been abandoned, rather than just parked, the council may be able to help you.
Charnock said: "If a homeowner suspects the vehicle has been abandoned, their local council would be required to move the car regardless of its position on private or public land. However, if the car has up to date MOT, tax, insurance and is not in a position where it could cause danger to anyone around, the council are again powerless."
There are some key criteria for cars that are considered abandoned.
Charnock tells Tyla: "If the car is parked on a public road blocking a driveway, the driver is committing a parking offence. In these circumstances, local authorities have the power to get involved and issue a fine to the motorist."
Similarly, Keenan said: "According to the Highway Code, you must not park in front of the entrance to a property. Furthermore, it is illegal to park across a driveway with a dropped kerb which can result in you receiving a penalty of up to 3 points and £100 fine."
Keenan told Tyla: "Homeowners should take steps to prevent others from parking on their drive, such as putting up a fence, fate of bollards."
Featured Image Credit: Paramount/Pexels
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