How did the parking company find my address?
Subject: Advice about a parking ticket
I have received a parking ticket from a private company for parking by the garages outside my block of flats. It was fine to park here for many yeatrs before suddenly signs went up saying we were now unable to park there. I was a bit annoyed so ignored these and subsequently got a ticket. I have so far ignored this too. I received a letter threatening legal action the other day – however I don’t understand how they tracked me down as my car is registered to my old address as is my driving licence – and yet the letter was sent to my flat where the ‘offence’ occurred. Even if they assumed that I lived in the flats how did they know which one and also my name? The only way they could have found me is through my council tax or bank.
Should I pay? Or continue to ignore? Many thanks for any help
Could it be that the ticket was issued by the property management company, or a resident director of it? They would probably know which flat you’re in. The important thing to find out is on what basis they believe you’re liable – do they believe you to be the driver or the keeper? It should state this in the correspondence.
The alleged parking contract is with the driver of the vehicle – i.e. the person who parked the car. Until 2012, private parking tickets were easy to fight since the parking company did not know the address of the driver to pursue (unless the driver inadvertently revealed them). Instead, they got the keeper details from the DVLA on the assumption it was the keeper who was driving. The keeper could respond by denying they were driver, and therefore the parking company could take no further action.
When the Protection of Freedoms Act (POFA) was introduced, it brought about keeper liability. In this case, should certain conditions be met, the keeper may be held liable for outstanding parking charges. One important condition is that to invoke keeper liability, the parking company must have requested the keeper details from the Secretary of State (or in other words the DVLA). The relevant part is quoted below:
11 (1) The third condition is that—
(a) the creditor (or a person acting for or on behalf of the creditor) has made an application for the keeper’s details in relation to the period of parking to which the unpaid parking charges relate;
(b) the application was made during the relevant period for the purposes of paragraph 8(4) (where a notice to driver has been given) or 9(4) (where no notice to driver has been given);
(c) the information sought by the application is provided by the Secretary of State to the applicant.
So, if they are planning to hold you liable as keeper under POFA, you should check with DVLA to confirm whether they have requested the keeper details or not. If they haven’t, then you would have a strong case that keeper liability is not established, and therefore their claim fails. We cover this point here in more detail.
If they pursue you as the driver, then POFA is irrelevant. Since you were the driver, that aspect of their claim cannot be denied, and so you would need to fight the charge on other grounds. I would suggest posting up details on one of the forums to establish what other grounds could be used to argue your case.
You should explore whether they have the right to ticket you. In our article on ticketing in your own space, often these tickets are baseless since your leasehold would grant you rights to the parking space, and this has precedence over any parking contract. In your case, this would be less clear since the space by the garages is presumably not yours according to the leasehold. As I say, I would explore this on a forum with the experts.
Best of luck