A lack of adequate parking infrastructure is causing more drivers to park at the roadside, often outside of people’s homes. But is it illegal if they block your driveway?
Parking’s becoming an increasingly stressful affair. This is due to an ever-growing pool of cars on the nation’s roads, many of which are now too big for aging infrastructure. As a consequence, more and more motorists are forced to park at the road side, often outside of people’s homes in sub-urban areas.
For locals and residents, this can be potentially problematic; making driving on their local roads harder and more dangerous. In some cases, it can also make accessing their own properties a real challenge; especially if someone obstructs a driveway.
You Don’t Own The Street
As frustrating as it may be, homeowners and residents don’t ‘own’ the space in front of their property. Anyone is, in fact, able to park legally in front of your property – assuming, of course, it’s a public road and a public street. In effect, this means you have no more right to park in front of your own property than anyone else.
There are only two exceptions to this principle. Some areas may issue resident parking permits which, effectively, eliminate the problem of rogue drivers parking in problematic places. Rules also specify that drivers mustn’t park ‘in front of an entrance to a property’, or ‘anywhere that would prevent access for emergency services’.
People aren’t allowed to park in such a way that they obstruct your driveway; assuming it’s marked by a dropped kerb, which marks it as an area that requires regular access. Parking partially across one, however, isn’t illegal – even if it makes getting in and out harder.
Perhaps surreally, there’s also no law against someone actually parking on your driveway. They can pull up, get out and wonder off at their heart’s content; and police can’t do anything about it. As it’s a matter of private property, it’s considered a civil issue. If you move the offending vehicle yourself, by towing it for instance, you could even be sued for tampering with someone else’s property!
Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA, has commented on the peculiar phenomenon. He said, “In a bizarre way, the system seems to favour the offender over the victim in this case”. He continued, “because the offence of trespass is a civil matter the police cannot get involved, and as the vehicle is on private land the council cannot help either. So the only options available to homeowners seeking to get back what is rightfully theirs, cost both time and money”.
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