If you suspect a vehicle is abandoned
Before you report a vehicle as abandoned, check what the likely signs are first. Then decide if you still want to submit a report.
We won't intervene in residential disputes about vehicles outside your property, or if you simply do not like a particular vehicle in the street where you live.
Signs a vehicle has been abandoned
Other than seeing it sat in the same place for a long time, some signs that a car has been abandoned include:
- the car being stationary for long period of over 4 weeks
- missing number plates
- two or more flat tyres
- broken windscreen, windows, mirrors
- litter, weeds under the vehicle showing it has not been moved for a long time
- lots of litter and debris inside vehicle
- general poor state of repair and subject to ongoing acts of vandalism
- vehicles subject to fire damage or burnt-out vehicles
- untaxed or no MOT
Contact us to report an abandoned vehicle
When you report an abandoned vehicle, you'll be asked about the details of the suspected abandoned vehicle:
- registration number
- current condition
- the length of time it's been stationary at the location
If you can provide this information, please telephone our Abandoned Vehicles team on 0203 856 0020 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What happens after you make a report
- If the initial reporting indicates there's a need for further action, a member of the team will visit the abandoned car within 48 working hours.
- They'll check the vehicle to check whether it meets the criteria of abandonment.
- The council will make the final decision about whether a car has been classed as abandoned.
- If the vehicle doesn't meet the criteria of abandonment, no further action will be taken.
- However, if we have reason to believe that a vehicle has been abandoned, we'll stick a 7-day or 24-hour notice onto the vehicle in the first instance.
- Following this, the council will make arrangements to decide whether further action is appropriate.
- For data protection reasons, we can't disclose details of the owner/registered keepers of a particular vehicle. We'll also not disclose details of the individual who submitted the report.
The law and abandoned vehicles
Abandoning a vehicle is a criminal offence
You could face a fine of up to £2,500 and/or 3 months imprisonment. See section 2(1) of the Refuse Disposal (Amenity) Act 1978.
Police and abandoned vehicles
Police can remove any vehicle that is:
- in breach of local traffic regulation orders
- causing an obstruction on the public highway, under the Removal and Disposal of Vehicles Regulations 1986.
They will usually carry out their own investigation in order to establish whether the vehicle has been reported before.
Refuse Disposal (Amenity) Act 1978
The London Borough of Barnet has a duty under the Refuse Disposal (Amenity) Act 1978 and associated legislation to remove abandoned vehicles from the highway, private land, or any land ‘in the open air’(subject to certain exceptions).
The legislation sets out the system for the storage and disposal of abandoned vehicles. It also empowers the Authority to recover costs from those responsible for the abandonment of the vehicle. Vehicles may be disposed of by destruction at an approved treatment facility or sale at a public auction.
In accordance with regulation 3 of the 1978 Act, a 7-day notice will be affixed to a vehicle that is deemed to have been abandoned without lawful authority on the public highway. This notice period is applicable for vehicles with a value in excess of £500, which also do not pose an immediate risk to the health and safety of road users. Vehicles deemed to have a value of little or no commercial value and/or in a poor state of repair will be subject to a maximum 24-hour notification period. Vehicles removed under this category will be subject to destruction at an approved treatment facility.
Except where the vehicle is considered to be only fit for destruction, we will carry out checks to find the owner of the vehicle and serve a 7-day notice on any person appearing to us to be the owner of the vehicle prior to destruction.
Voluntary surrender of your vehicle
We'll consider a request to remove and dispose of your vehicle. There's usually a charge for this service. However, the vehicle needs to be in a location where it can be easily accessed by a removal lorry.
If we accept your request, the vehicle would be removed and disposed of at an approved treatment facility. If you have any further queries about this, please email on email@example.com
If you are not satisfied with our handling of your vehicle
You can contact the council directly if you are not satisfied with our handling of your abandoned vehicle. This can be done through the council’s online corporate complaints process.
You can also submit a general enquiry to the parking team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Untaxed vehicles can be reported directly to us on 020 3856 0020, or by emailing email@example.com
Before reporting an untaxed vehicle to us, we ask you first check the tax status of the vehicle you are reporting.
On 1 October 2014, the vehicle tax disc was abolished. After this date vehicles don't need to display a tax disc.
The DVLA will be notified after the enforcement activity. They may also write to the owner or registered keeper to confirm the vehicle's collection deadline. If the owner/registered keeper does not comply, the vehicle may be disposed of.
Since 2004 the council has operated devolved powers from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority to remove untaxed vehicles. This is in accordance with the Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994 and related regulations. Councils also have powers to remove or seize vehicles under a range of legislation including:
- Section 38 (4) London Local Authorities Act 1990
- Highways Act 1980 Sections 143 and 149