At some point, as a property owner, you might find yourself in an unusual predicament: a vehicle has been abandoned on your property. This is not an uncommon occurrence, especially in urban areas. A study on “Motor Vehicle Abandonment in US Urban Areas” provides empirical information on the high extent of motor vehicle abandonment in urban areas of the United States. But what do you do when faced with such a situation? How do you get rid of an abandoned car without breaking any laws?
Understanding Abandoned Vehicles and Their Impact
Abandoned vehicles, while often dismissed as simple eyesores, can actually have substantial implications. One of the most immediate consequences is the occupation of valuable space. This could range from a parking spot that could be utilized by residents or customers, to a portion of your lawn that is now rendered unusable. In areas where parking is a premium, this loss of space can cause significant inconvenience.
Moreover, these abandoned vehicles can become a magnet for unwanted pests. Rodents like rats and mice may see the vehicle as an ideal nesting place, especially if it has been sitting idle for a long time. Even insects such as wasps may build nests in or around the vehicle. These pests not only pose a risk to people and pets but are also difficult to dislodge once they’ve made a home.
Abandoned vehicles also have the potential to evolve into safety hazards over time. They may leak harmful fluids that pose risks to humans, pets, and the environment. Additionally, they can become unstable and dangerous, particularly if children or others try to play around them. The presence of rusty metal and broken glass can also lead to injuries. The process of removing an abandoned vehicle isn’t as straightforward as having it towed away. It requires navigation through various legal intricacies to ensure the removal is done correctly. But while this process may seem daunting, it becomes manageable when tackled step-by-step.
Steps to Remove an Abandoned Car from Your Property
Here are comprehensive steps to follow when dealing with an abandoned car on your property:
1. Identify the Vehicle
The first thing you need to do is ensure that the vehicle is truly abandoned. It’s possible that the car may have been temporarily parked by a neighbor or visitor who intends to return for it. Take note of how long the vehicle has been there. If it hasn’t moved in a few days, and there’s no sign of anyone returning for it, it’s likely abandoned. You should also look out for signs like flat tires, missing parts, or a buildup of dust and debris around the vehicle which could indicate abandonment.
2. Contact Local Law Enforcement
Before you make any decisions about the vehicle, contact your local law enforcement agency. They can check whether the vehicle has been reported as stolen, which is important as you wouldn’t want to inadvertently interfere with a criminal investigation. You’ll need to provide them with the vehicle’s license plate number and any other identifying details.
3. Notify the Local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
Next, reach out to your local DMV. They maintain records of all registered vehicles and may be able to help you identify the last known owner. This step is crucial because, if possible, the responsibility of removing the vehicle should fall to its legal owner.
4. Post a Notice on the Vehicle
If you’re unable to locate the owner, the next step is to post a notice on the vehicle. This notice should clearly state that the vehicle appears to be abandoned and will be towed if not removed within a certain timeframe (typically 72 hours). Make sure this notice is clearly visible and placed in a location where it won’t easily be blown away or removed.
5. Arrange for the Vehicle to Be Towed
If the vehicle remains in place after the notice period, you can then arrange for it to be towed. Contact a licensed tow company to remove the vehicle from your property. This should be done at no cost to you, as towing fees are usually the responsibility of the vehicle’s owner.
Exploring Alternatives: Beyond Towing Abandoned Vehicles
While towing is a common solution for dealing with abandoned vehicles, it’s not the only option. There are several alternative methods you can use to deal with an unwanted vehicle on your property:
1. Sell the Vehicle
In some jurisdictions, if a vehicle has been abandoned on your property for a certain period, you may have the legal right to sell it. Check with your local laws to see if this applies to you. If it does, you could potentially turn a problem into a profit.
2. Donate the Vehicle
If selling seems too involved or the vehicle isn’t in sellable condition, consider donating it. Many charitable organizations accept vehicle donations, even if they’re not running. They will often arrange to have the vehicle towed at no cost to you.
3. Scrap the Vehicle
Another option is to have the vehicle scrapped. Scrap yards will often pay cash for old cars, regardless of their condition, and will typically provide free removal.
4. Use a Vehicle Removal Service
There are companies that specialize in removing unwanted or abandoned vehicles. These services can be a great option if you don’t want to deal with the hassle of selling, donating, or scrapping the vehicle yourself.
5. Contact the Owner
If you’re able to identify the owner of the vehicle through the DMV, reaching out to them could resolve the issue. They may not realize their vehicle has been causing a problem and may be willing to remove it.
Remember, before pursuing any of these alternatives, it’s important to understand the laws in your area regarding abandoned vehicles. Always consult with local authorities or legal counsel to ensure you’re following the correct procedures.
Handling Abandoned Car Removal from Private Property
In conclusion, the issue of car removal from private property is a complex yet crucial matter. Abandoned vehicles can cause a host of problems, including occupying valuable space, attracting pests, and even becoming safety hazards. Navigating the legalities of removal can seem daunting, but when broken down into manageable steps, it’s a process that can be handled efficiently. Ultimately, taking timely action to remove abandoned cars from your property not only enhances the aesthetics of your surroundings but also ensures safety and orderliness. As we move forward, let’s strive for responsible vehicle ownership and considerate community practices to minimize such occurrences.