Abandoned Vehicles

Abandoned cars, vans, caravans and other vehicles can cause a lot of problems for a Registered Social Landlord. They can lead to complaints from residents due to them blocking parking areas and being an eyesore. They can also be a focus for anti-social behaviour, and could be dangerous, posing a risk of injury or worse. It is sometimes difficult to establish whether a vehicle has actually been abandoned or it is just in an unroadworthy condition. 

But what can Registered Social Landlords do to tackle the issue? It is important to have a robust and clear procedure in place.   

Here are some suggested steps: 

  1. First you need to try to trace the registered owner and last know address. Check whether the vehicle is taxed and has a valid MOT. This can be done via a DVLA check or by speaking to the local police. 
  2. Take an inventory of the contents of the vehicle and photographs of the vehicle condition. 
  3. If the owner is a tenant, you could send a Legal Warning Letter, if you can prove a breach of tenancy, and requiring the tenant to move the vehicle.  
  4. If the vehicle is on land the Registered Social Landlord owns, serve a Torts Notice requiring the owner to collect the vehicle and belongings within a reasonable period of time. This should also be attached to the vehicle.  
  5. If the vehicle is on land the Registered Social Landlord owns, serve a Notice of Intention to sell goods, this step can be combined with step 3 and / or 4. 
  6. If the vehicle is not collected, the Registered Social Landlord may be entitled to sell it or remove it. Any sale must be by the best method available. If it has no value, it can be scrapped.  Care MUST be taken with this step though, and if in doubt we would suggest the Registered Social Landlord seeks legal advice before scrapping or selling. 
  7. Account to the owner for the sale proceeds minus any associated costs and sale expenses.  You must hold onto the proceeds of sale for a reasonable period of time to allow the owner to make contact. You should not profit from any sale of the goods 

The vehicle should also be reported to the Local Authority who has a responsibility to investigate abandoned vehicles, and the police.    

If the correct procedure is not followed, the owner may have a claim for damages. It is very important to get the notices correct and to document everything to limit any risk. 

Contact us, we are here to help

For more information and legal advice on abandoned vehicles, please contact Amy Tagoe.