How to enforce private parking in a garage block - MrLJ

We just bought our first car (with thanks to some excellent advice on this forum) and I have a question about how to protect our parking space.

I've owned my house for 10 years and my garage is near the end of a row of 10 in a block on private land nearby. The area has fallen into disrepair and is also abused by tenants of neighbouring flats, as well as commuters, and at times all the spaces are taken. As my wife (the driver) sometimes works 12 hour shifts, it won't be very funny when she gets home at 8.15pm, finds our space already taken and has to drive around the neighbourhood and walk back in the dark.

Before going down the enforcement route, I want to improve the area anyway (fill in pot holes, apply tarmac (and paint markings) or gravel. I'm in the process of tracking down the other 9 owners and will use this opportunity to make discreet enquries about who's using the space. I already know some people don't own/rent a garage and have no right to park there, because they admitted as such when I asked.

There is precedent for improvement as my neighbour has a garage in the adjacent block of 7, and had gravel put down 10 years ago. Nevertheless, should I seek legal advice if I'm unable to contact all 9 owners? I don't mind paying for it all myself (unless it's a 4-figure sum maybe).

About enforcement; I'm finding it really hard to come across options other than this company: www.flashpark.co.uk/

I realise there are loads of websites and articles online about unfair parking enforcement and how to fight it. I'm sure we'll run into the same trouble one day, if we end up overstaying in a superstore car park by an hour. But I'm not talking about accidentally clogging up a public car park for a bit too long, I'm talking about people who every day brazenly park on private, residential land that they know doesn't belong to them.

Is there a way to enforce it without being the bad guy? My understanding is that parking charges have to be "reasonable" and signs have to be clearly displayed. So if we put up signs, give a note to the persistent offenders in advance, and issue only a warning for the first couple of days when they are in breach, is that fair enough? It seems like Flashpark's charges are a bit heavy (£85) and we'd get £10 of that, which I'd just give to charity as I don't want to profit from this.

In any case, is it workable if only one garage owner wants to bother? i.e. with a large notice on my garage door only. The land registry shows that I own the land immediately in front of my garage (no specific rights of way mentioned), it's not clear who owns the land that we drive through. The houses and garages were built circa 1968.

As you can probably tell I'm very unsure how to proceed, so does anyone have experience in this area? Many thanks!

Edited by MrLJ on 01/04/2017 at 16:05

How to enforce private parking in a garage block - Palcouk

To undertake any form of inforcement, over the whole area occupied by the garages you would need to seek legal advice. If you own, as per land registry, your garage, and an area in fornt of it (size?) you could enforce parking restrictions on that private land, whether a parking company would want to be involved in a single space is another matter.

As to ground repairs I can easily see it being a 4 figure sum, to be done properly

How to enforce private parking in a garage block - gordonbennet

Can you sink one or possibly two of those lockable telescopic posts at the boundary point of your space?, they keep cars in as well as out if needs be, or couple of corner posts and lockable chains linking from garage to post to post to garage?

It's unfortunate the area has fallen into disrepair, because once freeloaders have takern advantage regularly they will expect to carry on as a right, wouldn't hurt to start tidying up, painting etc and see if you can encourage other legitimate garage/parking space owners/tenants to do the same.

If you help each other and present a unified plan to whatever planning dept you may need (if applicable) it will carry more weight.

Might be a worth a word with your councillor.

I have a slightly different attitude to people who take advantage, someone parking on my private ground will come back to find their vehicle parked a few yards down the road from where they left it, when the clamping situation changed i thought it would have repercussions for ordinary people where people with ''attitude'' would just park there with a ''wot you gunna do abart it mate''

Edited by gordonbennet on 01/04/2017 at 22:55

How to enforce private parking in a garage block - Vitesse6

Is your property leasehold?

If so the owner of the lease may be the ones to take action. I own a flat in a leasehold block which had similar problems until the flat owners managed to buy out the lease and then start to prevent unauthorised use of the parking spaces.

How to enforce private parking in a garage block - MrLJ

[Edit: was trying to reply individually but it all went down below]

@Palcouk: The land marked for each garage (including mine) for each garage encompasses the garage and a more or less identical sized rectangle of land immediately in front - i.e. enough space to park the car. But there are a few metres of space between my land and a garden fence for some flats behind which apparently is owned by nobody - although maybe some more land registry searches will turn this up. I do think I'll need to get legal advice but wanted to gather some facts first.

@gordonbennet: not sure if a councillor will help but could be worth a try I guess. Especially with respect to any shared areas. How do you move peoples cars without doing any damage or setting off the alarm? Not sure I'll do this, but I'm curious. To be honest I'd be scared of upsetitng people in case they damage our car.

@Vitesse6 it's freehold (but as mentioned above, in very small plots, and I'm not sure who owns the space immediately outside each plot). Aside from buying out the leasehold, what did the residents actually do to enforce it?

Edited by MrLJ on 02/04/2017 at 21:56

How to enforce private parking in a garage block - Vitesse6

I think you need to find out who owns the rest of the land around the garages. It would be worth checking with the solicitor who did your conveyancing as there ought to be some record of who owns it and who is responsible for the upkeep.

In our case, some of those drop down parking posts were put in. As the unauthorised parkers lived in the houses round about, a simple warning off from the solicitors was sufficient.

How to enforce private parking in a garage block - concrete

My son lived in a block similar to this. Their parking was allocated and policed by a company paid by the freeholder of the land and included in the ground rent/service charge. If yours is freehold then you really need all other freeholders to have some agreement about your plan. At work we used the lockable pop up or foldable posts and lots of signage. This worked a treat and kept our spaces free for use at all times.

If you can all agree, then it is a fairly easy and cheap matter to provide a half decent surface and lockable barriers with only the owners having a key. I don't see too many legal issues if you are unanimous about the plan. The local authority will not want to know about any issue on land it does not own or has not adopted. You are on your own. The up side is; if the plan to secure your own parking is successful then it certainly puts value onto your properties, parking is always at a premium, and this fact may inlfuence the other owners.

Let us know how you get on. Cheers Concrete

How to enforce private parking in a garage block - MrLJ

Awesome, thanks for the sympathetic advice. I'll spend the week/weekend tracking down landowners then.

The pop-up posts sound interesting - are you saying we can have posts installed in the ground that we raise when vacating the spot, to reserve it?

A couple of complications -

1. While each garage owner has the land immediately in front of their garage, for at least the 10 years I've been here everyone has parked on the opposite side. i.e. the land reserved for access is used for parking, and the land for parking is used for access. At least one tenant has told me that he doesn't want to park in front of his garage (and as it's the end one, it's tight either way). He's also the only person so far interested in improvements so I want to keep him happy.

2. Some of the garages have been sold to owners of the flats behind, so I think the owners are less concerned about improvements (certainly any hint of costs would scare them off), while I believe others are owned by elderly people who don't drive and don't want any fuss. A barrier sounds perfect but I'll have to guage the temperature on that one. Perhpas the hint about house prices might help.

Not insurmountable, but very challenging!

How to enforce private parking in a garage block - concrete

I did think the whole of the land the garages are on was private and owned by the tenants. If some is owned by the tenants, who owns the rest?. Who owns the access and is there a right of access for garage owners only or the general public?. Some homework needs doing here. If you all agree, the cheapest and easiest method of protecting the area is fold down barriers at the access point, with each tenant having a key. That should keep out all who don't own garages or have right of access. If some are not bothered then individual posts can be installed on your plot, which should at least protect your space. Mark it off with bright yellow or red road marker (Screwfix sell this) to make it clear it is private and in use and access is required at all times. Good luck. All the information is out there, it just needs digging out. Make it a project, take your time and don't get disheartened. The Borough Surveyors office of your local council would be a starting point. Good luck. Concrete

 

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