If a car blocks your driveway, what action can you take?

24/03/2016

Street parkingAnti-social parking has become a major issue in the UK as demonstrated by the recent case of an irate homeowner who used a bag of gravel to trap a car for two days that was parked on her driveway. The homeowner said that she’d become fed up after commuters going to the local train station had frequently parked in her driveway.

The increasing number of cars, parking restrictions and stress levels have all combined to make anti-social parking a flashpoint in UK towns and cities. Some people become so infuriated with thoughtless drivers that they have taken the law into their own hands, damaging the offending vehicles.

If you’re a homeowner frustrated by poor parking or white vans that sit outside your home for weeks on end, here are some key legal facts you need to know:

Parking in the street

What 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.

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. 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 obstruction and liable to prosecution – unless your local authority has granted you the right to do so for something like a funeral.

What if someone else parks in my driveway?

If a vehicle is parked on your driveway without your permission, they would be 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.

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 on you.

What if I vandalise the car?

Vandalising a parked car is a criminal act and can be prosecuted. Even if just spraying chip fat on the windscreen or blocking the exhaust, these acts could still be classed as vandalism.

Who do I complain to?

Charlotte Dixon, solicitor at DAS Law, said: “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.”