Ticket in your own parking space

One thing we hear more and more often is when people get parking tickets in their own parking space. Often in developments with shared car parks, there is contention for parking spaces, and this has led management companies to introduce parking schemes operated by private parking companies. These schemes require the owners and tenants of the properties to display permits in their cars to show they are allowed to park there. However, rather than protect the owners from misuse of their spaces, it often leads to the owners getting tickets themselves for not displaying their permit!

Clearly this is morally wrong, and in many (if not most) cases it is legally flawed too. Where the property has been built without the establishment of a parking scheme, the deeds or lease to the property will likely mention nothing about needing to display any sort of permit. This means that you, as the owner, leaseholder, or tenant, have a right to enjoy your the parking space. You have no obligation to display any sort of permit, and certainly don’t have to pay for any sort of parking ‘fine’. The deeds/lease override any contract the management company may have with a parking company – this is known as primacy of contract. If you were to be renting the property, the same rules apply; although you would need to check the property deeds/lease with the owner.

Often these schemes are set up by a management company, and not the actual landowner. As such, you should question what right the management company had to set up such a scheme on land that they do not own. By asking to see the contractual trail between the parties you will likely identify gaps such as these.

Sometimes, the lease allows for variation (changes to) for certain purposes, such as management or cleaning of the property. But if it does allow for variation, then there will also be a procedure for notifying leaseholders, and this must be followed for the variation to be legally binding. We have seen numerous cases where the lease is said to have been varied, but the procedure not followed, and therefore it is not binding on the lessee.

There are also cases where people get ticketed for briefly stopping their car outside of their designated bay (such as near the building entrance) for loading/unloading purposes. There is a persuasive piece of case law, Jopson Vs Homeguard, that found that the motorist was within their rights to briefly stop their car outside of a designated bay, irrespective of the parking scheme. That case can be downloaded here to reference in such appeals.

On this site we have a fightback guide specifically for residential parking tickets – it can be found here. The guide is relevant to both appeals and county court cases.

If you live on a property which has employed a private parking company, we would recommend you try and nip the issue in the bud before you get any tickets yourself. Your options will entirely depend on what your lease/deeds say, but could include:

  • Withdrawing your consent for the parking company to operate on land that you legally occupy
  • Informing the management company of the real nature of the parking companies – i.e. that many of them will indiscriminately issue tickets, irrespective of whether they are residents or not
  • Agreeing with the management company the process for getting tickets for genuine occupants cancelled

You may withdrawing consent for the parking company to operate on your land by formally writing to them and the management company. You should state that your lease/deeds/rental has primacy over any parking management contracts.  You should ask them for a full unredacted copy of any agreements that provide evidence that they have lawful authority to operate on land with traceabilty all the way back to the landowner. You should state that you are the legal occupier and you have rights to ‘peaceful enjoyment’ of your space.

In a case in late 2012, a householder successfully sued UK Parking Control for trespass on his land. In this case he demanded UKPC stop issuing £100 tickets on land that they had no right to. They ignored this and continued to ticket – even at 4am in the morning! With no other recourse, he sued UKPC in the county court, won his case, and was awarded £150 damages, and over £1,000 in costs. See more here.