How can I find out if a car is abandoned and how to get it removed if it is? All you need to know here

Has a car been abandoned in your road? From creating an eyesore to locking out valuable parking space, it’s a problem that blights thousands of law-abiding households each year.

Abandoned Jaguar car

Do you suspect a car might have been abandoned on your street? Here’s how to find out and what to do. Photo by Charlie

Read on to find out how to ascertain if it has been abandoned – and how to get it removed if this is the case.

Where is the car?

In this feature, we’ll be looking at vehicles that appear to have been abandoned on a public road. We’ll cover the different course of action involved if it is on private ground in another article.

Is the car really abandoned?

It might be frustrating, but parking your car on a public street where there are no restrictions is not illegal. So, someone heading off for their two-weeks in Spain is entitled to park the vehicle outside your house while they lounge on the beach.

However, a vehicle must be taxed, insured and have a valid MOT to be parked on any public highway.

Visual signs the car might have been abandoned

The DVLA lists the following signs that a car is likely to be abandoned. If at least one applies to the vehicle in your street, then you have good cause to move on to the next stage of having it removed.

They have no keeper on the DVLA’s database and are untaxed – check with DVLA as vehicles no longer have to display a tax disc (we’ll show you how to check this below)
They’re stationary for a significant amount of time
They’re significantly damaged, run down or unroadworthy – with flat tyres, wheels removed or broken windows
They’re burned out
They have number plates missing

You should also look out for multiple parking tickets – a clear sign the vehicle is likely to be abandoned.

Find out if the vehicle has valid tax and MOT

Checking this could give you a fast-track to getting the ‘dumped’ vehicle from your road or street – and free up that valuable parking space.

Finding out if a car is taxed and has a valid MOT is easy, instant and free. It’s also completely legal. You will need the registration number and make and model of the car.

Once you have the car’s reg number, simply hit the link below, enter the details and get an instant confirmation of whether it’s covered – and allowed to be parked on your street.

What about checking the vehicle’s insurance status?

Cars need to be insured to be kept on a public street, but checking this is not so simple. Even though the database is free to check for your own car, it is an offence to look up the status of a car that has no connection to you. To do this legally, you will have to pay a fee of £4 by clicking here.


How do I report the abandoned car?

First of all you’ll need to find out who is responsible for removing the car – if you’ve managed to ascertain it really is abandoned. To do this, you can simply go to a Government website, where you can enter the post code of the street, hit go and you’ll be redirected to the relevant local authority.

You should have the following information on the car.

Details of the type of vehicle (car, van, motorbike etc.)
Make, model and colour of the vehicle
Details of the condition of the vehicle
The vehicle registration number (licence plate) if it has one
A picture, if possible – if you can take a digital picture of the vehicle, please send in .jpg format and a file size of no bigger than 500 kb.

What happens next?

Once reported, the local authority will be obligated to remove the vehicle within a certain amount of time. In the case of vehicles on public streets, the council can remove the vehicle within 24 hours – however they might not act this rapidly in reality. Different times may apply in Wales and Scotland.

What if a car is not abandoned but is badly parked?

If the vehicle is parked in a way that may endanger other motorists or pedestrians, you should inform the police who will take appropriate action.


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