What to do if a car blocks your driveway

What action can you take if someone parks outside your home and goes on holiday?

8th June 2018

Parking problems

With airport parking costs rising and recent cases of unscrupulous valet parking companies hitting the headlines, many travellers are resorting to parking their cars on residential streets while they go away on holiday.  This can cause havoc for local residents who have to deal with overcrowded and potentially dangerous space issues.

The rise in anti-social 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 people become so infuriated with thoughtless drivers that they have taken the law into their own hands, damaging offending vehicles.

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 can I do 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.

[One] option that’s available is to pursue a legal claim for nuisance on the grounds that the driver is interfering with your use and enjoyment of your property.

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.

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 in 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. So 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. An act such as spraying chip fat on the windscreen or blocking the exhaust could still be classed as vandalism, even if you didn't mean to cause permanent damage to the vehicle.

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 or the police; however there is little the law can do to support home owners – 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.

One option that’s available 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 driver.

Hannah Parsons

Legal Advice Manager

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