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Parking problems on private property

Parking problems on private property is a fast changing and dynamic situation. The agent of change is the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 which has been passed and will impact the lives of everyone for whom the United Kingdom is home.

The days when "an Englishman's home is his castle" are now long past; there are operationally strict legal restrictions on what can and cannot be done on private property. To give a dramatic example, one cannot set mantraps on private grounds to "catch" trespassers . This brings us to the controversial subject of parking problems on private property.

Right up to midnight 30th September/1st October 2012 the landowner can both clamp and tow away vehicles belonging to third parties that are parked on his property without his permission. After that, the Act stops him doing that within the law.

The Act received Royal Assent on 1 May, 2012 and its section 54 makes using the clamp on private land an offence that makes the perpetrator liable to a fine. This has relevance to parking problems on private property.

This makes a king-sized problem for many private estate managers. The reason is that so many landowners used the threat of the clamp and the clamp itself as powerful deterrents. The disappointment for them is that for so many years the clamp and the tow really did deter unauthorized parking on private land.

One sop for the landowner is that the Act does say that they can use fixed barriers if the barriers were physically in place at the time the vehicle was parked (whether in use or not). For many private estates wheel clamping has been used as an effective tool to prevent unauthorized third parties parking without authority. The trouble is that for so many this is not a preferred option.

Therefore, the landlord and/or his agent anxious to keep within the law have to look at the alternatives.

It should be said in passing that this is the result of "rogue" and "cowboy" clampers and possibly the people who were towers away having damaged the name of the industry.

One brilliant alternative to the clamp and the tow for parking problems on private property is the Internet based method the innovative company Flashpark uses.

The landowner simply creates an account online, orders signs, and displays them in clear and prominent places around the parking area.  As soon as the signs are displayed, and the account has been activated, the parking charge notices can be issued.