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You’ve got a parking ticket on private land - what can you do?

If you get a ticket while parked on private land and think it's unfair you can challenge it. You could be parked in a shopping centre, retail park, hospital or other privately owned car park, or on other private residential land such as a private road. A ticket may be left on your windscreen or sent through the post.

Parking tickets issued on private land are called Parking Charge Notices. These are different to Penalty Charge Notices issued by the council or police on public land such as a council run car park.

Find out how you can challenge an unfair parking ticket on private land.

Top tips

If you choose to ignore a parking ticket you get in a private car park, an Accredited Trade Association (ATA) parking company can get details of the registered keeper of the car from the DVLA and pursue them for payment. Non ATA companies enforcing parking rules in a car park aren’t allowed to get details of the registered keeper of the car from the DVLA.

If you choose to ignore a parking ticket you get for trespassing on a private road, a company may be able to get details of the registered keeper of the car from the DVLA if you don't pay. These companies aren't required to be members of an Accredited Trade Association (ATA).

If you get a parking ticket in a car park

If you park in a private car park you enter into a contract with the landowner to comply with their rules. If you break the parking rules, you break your contract with the landowner. You might do this by not paying, staying longer than the time you have paid for or parking in the wrong place.

If you break the parking rules

If you break the parking rules private landowners can issue a parking ticket and recover the losses they've suffered. Often a parking company will have a contract with the landowner to issue tickets on their behalf.

Most parking companies are members of an Accredited Trade Association (ATA) such as the British Parking Association (BPA) and the Independent Parking Committee (IPC). ATA parking companies have to follow rules set down in the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 and have to comply with the trade association code of practice. Landowners who aren't ATA members themselves often contract out parking management to an ATA company.

Paying a parking ticket

If you decide to pay your parking ticket, ATA members must give you a discount for paying early while other parking companies may or may not.

Challenging an unfair parking ticket

If you park on private land and get a parking ticket, you might think this isn’t fair because you didn’t break the rules or the rules weren’t clear. You may also think a charge is unfair if it wasn't clear to you that you were parking on private land. Tickets can also be unfair if the amount you are asked to pay is too much. You can challenge the ticket or the amount of the charge by sending a letter then appealing.

Parking companies which are members of an Accredited Trade Association (ATA)

If you get a ticket from a parking company that is a member of an Accredited Trade Association such as the British Parking Association (BPA) or Independent Parking Committee (IPC), you are asked to write to that parking company with your reasons if you think the parking ticket is unfair. If you are unsuccessful you can make a formal appeal.

If you get a parking ticket in a private car park and choose to ignore the ticket, an ATA parking company can get details of the registered keeper of the car from the DVLA and pursue them for payment.

Parking companies which aren't members of an ATA

If you get a ticket in a car park from a parking company that isn't an ATA member, you can write to that parking company with your reasons if you think the parking ticket is unfair. As these companies are not ATA members, they might ignore your letter. If you do write and include your contact details for a reply, then decide not to pay the parking ticket, the company could pursue you in court if they wanted to.

If you get a parking ticket in a private car park and choose to ignore the ticket, a non ATA parking company isn't allowed to get details of the registered keeper of the car from the DVLA, won't have your contact details and can't take you to court.

If you get a parking ticket on a private road

If you park on private residential land without permission, such as a private residential road, you may be trespassing. Companies can charge you for ignoring the rights of the landowner, if they can prove you have trespassed. These are companies that don't manage parking facilities, but can charge you for trespassing on the land.

If you ignore a parking  ticket from a company when you have trespassed on private residential land such as a private road, a company may be able to get details of the registered keeper of the car from the DVLA if you don't pay. These companies aren't required to be members of an Accredited Trade Association (ATA).

If you're taken to court

If you are taken to court there may be good reasons to challenge the parking ticket or the amount of the charge, but if you lose the case, you will have to pay the charge and court costs. It’s possible that the parking company will take action to recover the money.

If the case gets to court you can fill out a form for defending the case that will be sent to you with the claim form. You may not have to attend court in person.

Next steps

Find out if a parking company is a member of an Accredited Trade Association

British Parking Association (BPA)

Telephone: 01444 447 300
Website: www.britishparking.co.uk

Independent Parking Committee (IPC)

Telephone: 0800 619 11 22
Website: www.theipc.info

Other useful information

Citizens Advice

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