A common bone of contention is illegal parking on private land, which is an ongoing problem where I live.
PUBLIC AND PRIVATE CAR PARK PROSECUTIONS
The main difference between a public car park and private car parks is that you can be prosecuted in a Criminal Court for public car park offences with the risk of a criminal record.
Prosecutions for private car parking offences can be pursued in a Civil Court.
CONTRACT LAW – PRIVATE LAND
You are entering in to a contract with the owner(s) by parking on private land. Any breaches of that contract can be enforced.
In reality, it is quite difficult with the odds stacked in the offender’s favour but it is certainly not impossible.
The laws on private parking differ in England and Wales to Scotland.
It was made illegal to clamp vehicles in England and Wales under the Protection of Freedoms Act in October 2012 and it has been illegal in Scotland since 1992.
It is still legal to clamp vehicles in Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man.
Although clamping may be illegal in Scotland, England and Wales, a private car park owner can put barriers up to keep the offending vehicle on their land.
PRIVATE PARKING FINES IN SCOTLAND
It is a common myth that you cannot be prosecuted for parking on private land in Scotland. A Scottish Court ordered a motorist to pay £24,500 to a private parking firm in a landmark ruling.
CHECK THE TAX AND MOT
The first step to take is to check that the vehicle in question is taxed and has a valid MOT. This can be done via www.ukvehicle.com and other websites. If there are any discrepancies, you can contact the Police and arrange for the vehicle to be towed away if it not on private land.
MOT tests do not apply in the Isle of Man. You can look for any obvious defects that render the vehicle unroadworthy such as bald tyres, cracked windscreen or mirrors or broken lights.
If the vehicle’s documentation or apparent roadworthiness is in order, I would suggest that you put a notice on the car stating that the vehicle is illegally parked and will be removed within 7 days unless it can be proved that (they) have the right to legitimately park on the land in question.
You can request proof of ownership from the DVLA in the UK by completing Form V888 and state your reasons why you wish to ascertain who owns the offending vehicle. Illegal parking on private land falls within this remit.
A formal notice can then be served at the owner’s address by recorded delivery stating that the vehicle is illegally parked and will be removed within 7 or 14 days (depending on how militant you are!).
An alternative would be to engage a private parking operator to enforce the rules and issue Parking Charging Notices. These can be pursued and upheld in a Civil Court.
I often get asked for advice on private parking tickets, as the majority of people don’t understand their consumer rights.
What problems have you had with illegal parking on private land? Can you add anything to this?