Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.
Can You Have A Car Towed For Parking In Front Of Your House?
Has someone been parking in front of your house for days on end? This can be the worst, especially if you need the space! Let us guide you through your rights as a property owner and the legalities of towing a car that is constantly parking in front of your yard.
We’ve all met a person who seemed to think they owned the road…or the parking lot. They park wherever they want, whenever they want. Unfortunately, some of us have had the displeasure of having one of these guys park right in front of your house. So, what are your rights when this happens? Can you get them towed, fined, or otherwise removed? It’s definitely a question for the ages…
In most parts of the country, street parking is perfectly legal unless there are special municipal ordinances blocking it. The general rule of thumb is that you have at least 72 hours before you can call a tow truck. However, if the car is literally parked on your lawn or in your driveway, you can call a tow truck immediately.
Understanding your rights as a property owner is a must, especially if you have a nuisance neighbor who keeps parking right in front of your home. Towing a person illegally, though, will get you in a lot of trouble. If you want to make sure that you are in the clear, follow this guide.
Table of Contents
- How To Tell If You Can Tow Someone For Parking In Front Of Your House
- What Should You Do If A Car Is Blocking Your Driveway?
- Related Questions
How To Tell If You Can Tow Someone For Parking In Front Of Your House
Understanding your local laws is a must if you’re looking to call a tow truck on a person who just doesn’t get how to park without upsetting the neighbors. Most areas will not allow you to call the police on a car just for parking in front of your home. After all, that’s public property and you can’t really own the area in front of your house, too.
However, there are some caveats that give you some leeway if you want to call the police. The following rules always apply, regardless of where you live:
- A person is allowed street parking, only if street parking is legal in that area. If there are signs barring street parking, a “permit only” zone, or a bus stop in front of your house, then you have the right to call the non-emergency line and ask for someone to tow or fine the person in front of your house.
- If the car is literally parked on your property without your permission, you have the right to tow them immediately or call the police. It’s your property, which means that you get to dictate the rules. This is technically trespassing. If you don’t know who they are or don’t want their car there, you can call the non-emergency line and ask for their removal.
- There’s a limit to how long a car can stay parked in a single spot. While the exact limit can vary from city to city, most places will tow the car after 48 to 72 hours. To check how long a car can stay parked on the street before you’re towed, call your local municipal board.
- If the car is impeding traffic, they can be towed immediately. Let’s say that someone parked in front of your house in a way that bars traffic flow. This could be reason enough to ticket them or tow them in most areas. To make sure they’re legally towed, call the police and explain what’s happening.
- Cars that are parked on business property can get towed by a towing company as long as there is a sign dictating how the owner of the car can reach out to the company in question. This is why you see so many signs saying “Violators will be towed by XYZ Company at 555-5555” when you’re in major parking lots. It’s a way to enforce the parking rules that the company wants to set forth.
- If you live in a private complex where parking is dictated, you may have a right to call the HOA, management, or police. Most rental agreements, condo contracts, and co-op rulebooks have rules about this that will refer you on who to call.
Who Do You Call To Tow A Car From Your Property?
This all depends on the type of infraction and most of the time, the people you call are not going to be a towing company. If there are clear infractions that are of the legal or traffic type, a non-emergency police line is usually the best bet. If you have an HOA that dictates parking policies, calling them usually works.
People who are at a complex that has assigned parking are generally best served by calling the management property. They will usually make sure that the person parked is towed or otherwise asked to leave.
How Do You Stop Someone From Parking In Front Of Your House?
In the vast majority of places in the United States, there is absolutely no way you can stop someone from parking in front of your house. The property in front of your home isn’t considered yours and therefore is open to the public to do so. So legally, you have no recourse for the offensive parking.
Socially, on the other hand, you might have a way to make sure that you get the parking spot you want. The best way to prevent it from happening on a repeat basis is to find the person who keeps parking in front of your place and talk to them. Explain that you could really use that space, that you would appreciate it if they could find a new place, and ask them nicely.
They do not have to listen to your pleas, but truth be told, most people will. They just won’t feel comfortable parking there if you put enough pressure on them.
What Should You Do If A Car Is Blocking Your Driveway?
Let’s say that you wake up one day and find that a car has blocked you from being able to drive. That’s not a good look, is it? If you know who’s blocking your driveway, your best bet is to contact them so they can move their car and let you leave. Most people will be accommodating about it, since it’s kind of a jerk move to park that way.
Impeding a driveway is generally considered to be a criminal act (a traffic violation) in most jurisdictions. So the right move here is to call the police. From there, most police will issue a ticket to the car’s driver. What happens next is a decision that’s based on both your needs as well as the overall process from the police.
If you need to leave your home, you can ask the police for permission to get the vehicle towed. From there, most precincts will have a tow company they work with come and pick up the car. If they do not have a tow truck company they work with, then they will usually ask you to call a towing company of your own. However, this is super rare.
Is It Illegal To Block Your Own Driveway?
It may come as a shock to people, but it’s actually very possible to get ticketed for blocking your own driveway. This is because cities get to dictate the flow of traffic and your car is considered to be an obstruction to any traffic flow to your driveway. The best way to avoid this is to park in your own driveway.
Trying to fight this ticket, ludicrous as it may be, is a bad idea. It won’t work in your favor, simply because you’re arguing about property that is not technically yours. You’re technically blocking lawful access to your own driveway.
How can I stop someone from blocking my driveway?
If talking to them directly or calling the police didn’t work, there are other methods you can use to curb their behavior. The best way to do it is to install a security camera and consider fencing off part of your driveway. If this issue persists, you may want to take them to court citing this as a form of harassment.
What do I do if some random car is parked in my driveway?
If you drive home and find a car that isn’t yours parked in your driveway, call the police and don’t enter the home. The police should arrive and charge the person with the car with trespassing. They also will usually take this time to enter your home to make sure that no one is robbing the place, or that no one is trying to harm you.
Since this is considered to be a form of trespassing, you have the right to press charges. It’s actually advised that you do, since most situations that start this way don’t end well.
What should I do if my neighbor boxed in my car with theirs?
The first thing you should do is politely ask for your neighbor to move the car. If they refuse or get hostile, call parking enforcement as this is impeding your ability to move freely. Most parking enforcement groups will come out, ticket the offending neighbor, or even tow one of them if they still refuse to remove their car.
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