PARKING on the street can be a task, especially if you live on a busy road or it is peak time for traffic.
Ideally you find a space outside your house to leave your car safely in – but can other people park in front of your house?
Are you entitled to the parking space outside your house?
Your neighbours might try to leave the space outside your house for you out of niceness, but it’s no legal requirement.
It’s not “your right” to park in front of your house – unless you have a designated parking space.
Although it might be tempting, you’re not allowed to save “your” space with a cone, either.
Leaving anything on the road can be classed as an obstruction and is against the law unless you’ve been given permission by the council.
Provided your street isn’t governed by residents’ parking permits, any member of the public can park there – as long as they are complying with restrictions and not causing obstructions.
If your street uses permits, anyone with the right permit can park anywhere in the relevant zone.
There’s also no law on how long someone can park in the same space for, unless police think the car has been abandoned.
Even if neighbours take up a space on the street when they have a perfectly good driveway they don’t use, they’re doing absolutely nothing wrong in the eyes of the law – even if they’re denying you access to that much-needed last parking space.
It is, however, illegal to park directly outside a school, on the zig-zag lines to a pedestrian crossing, and in designated marked bays you don’t have a permit for.
Is it illegal to park across someone’s driveway?
If someone is blocking your driveway it is not technically illegal, although it might feel like it should be.
However, if their wheel is over the dropped kerb, they are committing a parking offence.
There are two types of dropped kerbs: those for pedestrians, especially those with buggies or in wheelchairs, and those for drivers to access driveways.
Vehicles parked across dropped kerbs can be ticketed, even if they’re not fully blocking it.
Parking very close to a dropped kerb or directly opposite it isn’t illegal, even if it restricts access.
In the rare case someone is blocking your driveway and will not leave, you should call the local council.
As it is a civil matter, it is not a police case.
However if the car is causing an obstruction in the road then the police can be involved.
The Highway Code states that a car cannot cause an obstruction to the road, but this does not include obstructing access to private land.
Is it illegal for someone to park on your driveway?
A strange legal loophole means anyone can park on your driveway – and there’s not much you can do about it.
There have been a number of cases in the UK where homeowners have been stuck with a stranger’s car on their driveway, only to be told neither police nor local authorities have the power to move it.
In the instance of a stranger parking on your driveway, an issue arises when the line between criminal and civil law is blurred.
If a car is parked on a public road and it’s blocking your driveway, local authorities certainly have the power to issue a fine.
But once the car moves on to your drive, it’s technically on private property – and local councils have no jurisdiction.
Councils are required to remove abandoned cars from both public and private property, but if the motor in question is taxed, insured, has a valid MOT and isn’t in a dangerous condition, they are unlikely to touch it on private land.
Police will acknowledge the car is technically trespassing, but they will classify it as a civil offence, dropping it far down their priority list and meaning you would need an eviction notice from the courts.
Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA, said: “In a bizarre way, the system seems to favour the offender over the victim in this case.
“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, costs both time and money.”