Parking tickets on private property: When can you get one?
Parking tickets for private land are called a Parking Charge Notification (PCN). Check your ticket for the wording.
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If you are found parking on private property, the owner or company responsible for managing the car park might issue you a ticket.
- Park without permission from the owner
- You must not violate any parking restrictions imposed by the owner.
You might have seen signs that outlined the rules for parking in the car park. You enter into a contract when you park on private land, such as a private carpark. You will be bound by any signs that clearly indicate rules for parking in the car park. If any rules are broken, the car park owner may take legal action.
To issue parking tickets, landowners and operators don’t need licenses. Although it is not regulated, many operators are members in good standing of trade associations such as the British Parking Association or International Parking Community.
A ticket might be placed on your windscreen, or in the mail. The ticket should include the name of the company or landowner who issued it.
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Parking on a residential street is not permitted
Residents may own some roads. Private landowners have the right to impose reasonable conditions on land users. If you violate these terms, you could be charged with a criminal offense.
Residents may request that the local authority ‘adopt’ their road so that it is treated as public roads in the vicinity and attended to by traffic wardens. They may also reach an agreement with private parking operators to manage road restrictions.
Parking facilities for NHS cars
The management of NHS carparking facilities at hospitals is the responsibility of NHS boards. The board may have a private parking company manage the facilities. Not all NHS car parks are free to use, but some NHS hospital car parks may be. You could be charged even if you park in a free car park.
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What are your options if you receive a parking ticket on private property?
You might decide to:
- Pay the fine
- Do nothing
- Challenge the ticket
Parking tickets on private property are not considered criminal offenses. Although the Parking Charge Notice may look like a fixed penalty from police, it is not. This notice is sent by the private parking operator or owner of the land to inform you that they intend to take you to civil court and offer to pay the fine to settle the matter out of court. This is a civil matter and not a criminal matter.
You can pay the fine if you choose.
Sometimes, the parking company will give you a discount if you pay within 14 days. For example, a charge of PS50 instead o PS85. You might lose your chance to pay the lower amount if you miss the deadline. because you were in hospital).
If you decide to do nothing
If you receive a ticket for parking on private property and don’t feel you have to pay, then you can choose not to pay the parking operator and not reply. You can ignore the requests for payment or continue to receive them from the company.
Private parking companies could drive you to court. However, they might not do so because the amount of money required is often very small.
- Keep the ticket, along with any other documentation or evidence.
- You may be able defend yourself if the parking operator takes you to court.
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You may be charged with breaching a parking operator contract by a court. It is possible that you will be charged a higher fee if the parking operator takes it further than you were originally charged.