UK Parking Laws – Neighbours Parking on my Drive
Ever had a neighbour park in front of your drive? It can be a pain when you need to leave the house urgently and repeat incidents can create a lot of friction between you and your neighbour.
Many arguments arise from a lack of ‘parking etiquette’ on the street where you live, but parking etiquette and law are two separate things, so understanding your rights will help you resolve a situation without any bloodshed.
Where do I stand when it comes to neighbours parking in front of my drive?
The law here is quite ‘cloudy’ and can lead to a lot of confusion for motorists and homeowners. Essentially, it is common courtesy to not park in front of someone’s driveway – but, most importantly, it is not illegal.
This is where the battle of etiquette and law comes into full view - the Highway Code, paragraph 207, asks that people ‘do not’ park their vehicle where it might cause an obstruction to other pedestrians or road users and cites the example of not parking in front of another person’s driveway. It does not legally state that a person ‘must not’ park in front of another driveway. Therefore, whilst mutual respect between road users tends to dictate a policy of not doing this so as to avoid unnecessary conflict, it’s not backed up by law so if you experience problems with this and your neighbour digs their heels in and refuses to co-operate, all you can then do, if you need guaranteed access and exit, is to park your car elsewhere and not on your driveway.
It really comes down to a matter of common decency. By speaking calmly and politely with your neighbours you can try to resolve the issue without any tempers fraying. Just remember, however, that unless they are breaking the law, people are entitled to park anywhere they want to on a public highway providing they aren’t in breach of the Highway Code. If they are, then you can report that matter to the police if further action needs to be taken.
Motorists parking their cars are not the only ones who must obey the law and regulations. Councils can only make parking regulations (known as “Traffic Regulation Orders” or “Traffic Management Orders”) and enforce parking contraventions in accordance with the law. For example, councils must comply with regulations that say how parking controls are signed.
Under the decriminalised scheme brought in by the Road Traffic Act 1991, when a vehicle is, for example, parked on a yellow line during controlled hours, it is said to be parked ‘in contravention of the regulations’. Thus there are no offences, merely contraventions.