how to stop people parking on private land

Conner Benson • Last Updated - 2nd October 2023
unauthorised car parking in private land

Want to prevent unauthorised parking on your private property?

Tired of people using your land for how they wish for free?

You don’t pay for your land only for people to use it however they wish.

Private land & car parks without a management system will always attract illegal parking.

People know they can get away with it.

We created this guide on how to stop people parking on private land to help landowners with this issue.

Learn by watching the video below or continue scrolling to read it instead.

how to stop illegal parking thumbnail picture

What Is Illegal and unauthorised parking?

Illegal parking is a term used for public roads & property.

On private property, the correct term is unauthorised parking.

There is not much difference between the two except the type of land.

Unauthorised parking on private property.

Is when someone parks their car on private property.

Without the correct authorisation.

If you don't obtain the correct authorisation from the private property owner.

A car park management company can issue you with a parking charge notice.

If you park on public property without authorisation.

The local authorities can issue you with a Penalty Charge Notice.

How Do I Prevent Unauthorised Parking on private property?

There are ways to reduce unauthorised parking.
The type of method you use depends on.

- The type of private property you have.

- How do you want to be enforcing parking rules?

Let's get into the methods.

1. Install Bollards or a Barrier system

car park barrier

We normally avoid this recommendation for most car parks for a few reasons.

It is often too expensive for most businesses to invest in compared to other methods.

They are subject to vandalism which can make your car park unusable for days until a technician can fix it.

Most sites don't have the infrastructure or the layout is not suitable.  

If your land or car park is suitable.

If you have a large budget and it is essential for your business to have zero unauthorised parking at all times.

This can be the best solution.

It is the only method that can completely get rid of illegal parking.

It will make sure you have free parking space always.

2. Can I Call The Police?

uk police car

Parking without authorisation on private property is a civil matter.

This means it is unlikely that the polica will get involved.

However if the situation could be seen as dangerous they might be able to help.

3. Can You Clamp On Private Land?

wheel clamp on car

Unfortunately, wheel clamping although effective.

It is no longer a legal method to use in the United Kingdom by private companies/persons.

4. Can I tow a car on private land?

Unfortunately, using a private tow truck to tow a car on private land is not a legal method.

5. Use No Parking On Private Land Signs

no parking sign

This method is affordable and can be effective at first.

However, if you do not have lawful authority to issue parking charge notices.

People will start to realise it is private land without parking enforcement.

Meaning they know there will be no consequences for using your parking space.

Without paying or receiving authorisation to park there.

6. Issue Parking Charge Notices

parking charge notice on car windscreen

You will need to use Parking Enforcement this is always the most effective solution.

There are two ways you can go about issuing parking charges to vehicles without authorisation to park with lawful authority.

You can get all the accreditations to issue parking charges yourself.

You can outsource this to a car park management company that already has the lawful authority to do so.

One thing to note is enforcement of parking on private land is not regulated.

The laws of contract and trespass apply.

How to obtain the lawful authority to issue parking charges?

Doing this yourself takes a lot of work.

You are essentially setting up a new company and learning a lot of new skills.

If you want to skip to the section on outsourcing this for free click here.

Firstly you need to get accredited with either The International Parking Community or The British Parking Association.

Once you are approved by one of these companies.
They will be able to guide you on the correct processes of issuing parking charge notices.

They will also help you understand the Protection of freedoms act 2012 .

Which applies in England and Wales when issuing parking charges.

You will be able to enforce the following parking rules:

  • Unpaid parking
  • Parking without authorisation
  • Incorrect use of parking bays for disabled, child & parent or emergency parking spaces
  • Parking outside of marked bays

All these parking rules or terms & conditions as they are referred to.

All fall under the laws of contract and trespass.

The signs installed on your site act as the contract.

If the driver doesn't consent they are able to leave the site immediately.

If they choose to stay on-site they agree to the terms and conditions.

If you decided to issue a parking ticket without lawful authority.

Without the accreditation of The IPC or The BPA you could face legal action.

The downside to this method:

  • The accreditations of the IPC and BPA both cost money.
  • There is a lot to learning about the legalities of private parking and enforcement.
  • You need a lot of free admin time to issue tickets, respond to appeals, handle payments etc.
  • If you don't follow the correct rules or do something wrong there can be consequences.

7. Outsourcing Car Park Enforcement To A Company

This is the route that most landowners and private car parks take.

Outsourcing this has many benefits:

  1. They have the accreditations of The IPC or BPA already.
  2. Most have dedicated staff to handle the legalities.
  3. They will patrol and issue parking charges so you don't have to.
  4. You won't need to spend admin time managing your car park.
  5. Having more experience with car parks they will be able to guide you on the best solution for yours.
  6. The liability will be on the car park company to issue parking charges correctly.
  7. They understand the laws already such as the protection of freedoms act 2012.

Overall this solution will save you time, money and stress.

Another option car park operators can use to identify unauthorised parking is by using CCTV or ANPR cameras.‍

In this instance the landowner is able to request the vehicle registered keeper details and write to them within 14 days.

To request the details of the driver or for them to make payment for the parking charge notice.

CCTV & ANPR is a more effective method of parking enforcement due to being able to monitor every car that uses your car park.

This allows you to issue tickets to all unauthorised vehicles that park on your site.

It is the best method to prevent unauthorised parking on private property.

Are Parking Tickets Enforceable?

The parking ticket can only be enforced if:

  • The landowner is able to show that there was a contract between the driver and the landowner to park on the premises and that the contract was broken
  • The landowner has clear signs that there will be penalties for parking on the land without prior authorisation, showing that by entering, the driver was trespassing.

If you want to enforce the parking ticket, then the following information must be included on it:

  • The time and date the parking charge was issued
  • How much the parking charge is
  • When and how the parking offence happened
  • Discount if payment received promptly
  • Who and how the payment should be made
  • Arrangements for disputes or complaints to be resolved

Ticketing is the most effective method when it comes to stopping people from illegally parking on private land.

It is the only real option that can be considered and acts as a fantastic deterrent.

We hope that you have found this article helpful, and now see how to stop people parking on private land.

If you don't know where to start and need some assistance or would like to work with us to manage your car park please get in touch with us.

Contact us for a free consultation and solve your parking problems today!

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