Parking Disputes Between Neighbours
Many conflicts between neighbours arise as the result of disputes over parked cars. Of course, if you have a separate driveway then there isn’t a problem, but issues do arise when people park their cars on the road upon which they live.
The Highway Code tells you all the rules and regulations surrounding what you can and cannot do when it comes to parking. Drivers should all be aware that you cannot park on double yellow lines but there are other rules you might not be aware of so you should familiarise yourself with what is and isn’t permissible by law, before taking any further action.
However, many parking disputes arise over the failure to observe parking ‘etiquette’ on the street where you live. But etiquette and the law are two totally different issues, so let’s take a look at both.
What The Law Says
As long as your vehicle is taxed and you are not contravening laws laid down within the Highway Code, you are allowed to park anywhere on a public highway (but not on footpaths/pavements) where it is legal to do so.
Parking Outside Your Own House
Etiquette, good manners and common sense are the main ingredients in avoiding parking disputes with your neighbours. Most people would choose to park outside their own home anyway because of the convenience, but what if you have more than one vehicle belonging to a single property and there are no driveways or you have a driveway but there is only enough room for one car?
Basically, it’s an unwritten ‘rule’ that people will generally tend to park outside their own home but it’s important to note that no one has an automatic right to do so. It’s not always possible and, in addition to residents, other road users also have the right to park outside your home providing they are not contravening the Highway Code.
Own a Driveway But Park on Road: What’s the Law?
To resolve this issue, the only thing you can do is to try to have a friendly word with your neighbour and explain to them why you’d prefer to park in front of your own house. You may find that they didn’t realise it bothered you and often simple courtesy and communicating your issue with your neighbour will resolve the problem.
If you share a driveway with your next door neighbour and a parking dispute occurs because of lack of space or one person’s vehicle is taking up more space, you can resolve this by checking your house deeds to find out where the boundaries lie.
It’s also courteous to share responsibilities for the accessibility and tidiness of a shared driveway. If you have children, make sure you keep any toys off the other person’s part of the shared driveway. If your next door neighbour simply decides they’ve had enough and drives straight in and ‘accidentally’ runs over a children’s toy, you’ve no legal redress – it’s your neighbour’s part of the driveway and your responsibility to keep things that belong to you, on your side.
The Big Issue – Parking Directly In Front Of A Person’s Driveway
This is, by far, the single most frequent cause of annoyance and arguments between neighbours and, unfortunately, the law does not help in this regard. It’s common courtesy not to park directly in front of the driveway of another person’s property. After all, they may need to get in or out of the driveway with their vehicle. If you’ve blocked the access by parking directly in front of it, this will cause the vast majority, if not everybody, to become annoyed and to try to locate the owner of the vehicle to get them to move it. Therefore, most neighbourly people will never park directly in front of someone’s driveway. However, it’s not illegal to do so!
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. However, this is where the law gets ‘cloudy’. It does not legally state that a person MUST NOT park in front of another driveway.
Therefore, while 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 do, if you need guaranteed access and exit, is to park your car elsewhere and not on your driveway.
In essence, while there are certain rules and regulations under the Highway Code relating to parking on public highways, mostly it’s a matter of common decency and courtesy. Speaking calmly to neighbours and explaining reasons why you might need to park here or there, if practical, will usually result in you getting what you want. 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.