Tips for Removing Vehicles from Abandoned Properties

Posted on in Helpful Guides, Property Protection, Security

Abandoned and vacant properties come with a host of challenges – from deterring trespassers and safeguarding entry points like windows and doors to securing any possessions left behind. However, one of the most common issues property owners and managers face is dealing with abandoned vehicles.

Whether it’s a single car or a commercial fleet left to rot in a car park, these unwanted vehicles may seem harmless on the surface, but they pose serious liabilities for commercial property owners. Not only are they unsightly, but they can also become havens for vandalism, illegal activity, and environmental hazards. It’s much the same principle when leaving a property abandoned for squatters or travellers to utilise, as often with evictions, there can still be mess and combustible materials left behind, which can also increase fire risk.

As a leading provider of vacant property protection and abandoned vehicle removal services across the UK, the team at Maltaward has extensive experience helping clients safely and legally clear abandoned cars, vans, and other motor vehicles from their properties. This forms a vital component of our property protection products such as steel fencing and concrete barriers.

In this post, we’ll share our top tips for safely removing vehicles from vacant and abandoned sites.

Identify Ownership and Legal Status

Under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 only Authorised Bodies (i.e. the police or local authority) can remove a motor vehicle from private land. Before 2012, abandoned vehicles could be moved by the landowner providing certain conditions were met.

The first step is to determine who owns the abandoned vehicle. This may require searching public records or contacting the DVLA to trace the registered keeper. Typically, the property owner is legally responsible for dealing with any vehicles left behind (dubbed an ‘involuntary bailee’), so it’s critical to establish ownership upfront. This does not mean that the property owner can remove the vehicle at will – there is a due process which can be found here.

You’ll also need to check the vehicle’s tax, MOT, and insurance status if possible. If it’s been abandoned for an extended period, there’s a good chance the paperwork has lapsed, which can complicate removal efforts.

Secure the Vehicle

Once ownership is verified, the next priority is securing the vehicle to prevent further damage or illicit use. This may involve:

  • Installing steel security fencing or temporary concrete barriers to restrict access
  • Applying wheel clamps or security posts to immobilise it
  • Covering windows to deter break-ins

Keeping the vehicle contained and inaccessible is crucial for mitigating risks until it can be safely removed.

Document the Vehicle’s Condition

You can usually spot a few tell-tale signs that a vehicle has been abandoned, from missing number plates, broken windows, and flat tyres to burned or rusted bodywork.

Take comprehensive, timestamped photographic evidence of the vehicle’s current state before attempting removal. This creates a paper trail to protect against any disputes or liability claims down the line, potentially absolving you of any potential litigation.

Note the make, model, registration number, and any distinguishing damage or features. This information will be vital for filing official paperwork and tracking the vehicle through the removal process.

Notify Relevant Authorities

Depending on your location and the vehicle’s condition, you may need to inform the DVLA, local council, or police about the abandoned car. Many councils have specific procedures for reporting and removing derelict vehicles from public or private property.

Adhering to proper protocols ensures you handle the situation legally and avoid potential penalties. The authorities can also guide you on the most appropriate removal methods.

Hire Professional Vehicle Removal Services

Before you remove an abandoned vehicle, a Torts Notice must be served by either the landowner or a professional bailiff firm. This is a legal document that notifies the owner of your intention to remove the vehicle if it’s not collected by them within a reasonable time. Until this time elapses, the landowner cannot interfere with or dispose of the vehicle.

Come the actual extraction time, assuming the owner does not come forward, it’s best to enlist the help of a certified vehicle removal specialist. Consider enlisting a firm that has the equipment, expertise, and legal authority to recover abandoned cars, vans, and trucks from vacant properties safely and compliantly.

Prevent Future Abandoned Vehicles on Your Property

Once the dormant vehicle has been removed, it can help to take proactive measures to deter future abandonments. This includes:

  • Installing robust perimeter fencing and automated security gates to ensure authorised vehicle entry and exit.
  • Regularly inspecting the property and grounds for new trespassers or dumped vehicles.
  • Deploying high-grade CCTV monitoring across your property to ensure suspicious activity is caught well ahead of time.
  • Enlisting the help of professional, round-the-clock security guarding services to deter nefarious activity.

Maintaining a secure, well-monitored environment is key to preventing repeated abandoned vehicles that can quickly spiral out of control and cause health and safety hazards to your property and its residents.

Maltaward: Your Vacant Property Protection Partner

At Maltaward, we understand the headaches that come with abandoned vehicles and properties. That’s why we offer comprehensive, bespoke vacant property security and vehicle removal services to keep your sites secure and free of unwanted occupants and cars.

We tailor each component to suit your budget and concerns, from access control and perimeter protection to reliable equipment and products to ensure timely vehicle access and supervision. With our help and expertise, you can manage all properties with complete confidence, abandoned or inhabited.

Have you spotted something suspicious on or off your property? Contact us today to learn more about our vacant property management services and how we can help.

Steph Davies
Steph Davies
2 November 2023
I have been using Maltaward for about 12 years, mostly using their traveller eviction services. They have always been very helpful and easy to deal with. No fuss, just get the job done! More recently in my new company, I have brought them in to use utilised their vacant security services. They have worked with me to provide the correct service for our specific requirements. They have a common sense approach to everything. I really cannot recommend the team enough. They have been without a doubt the best security company I have been involved with.
Tom Lampard
Tom Lampard
2 November 2023
Everyone, and I mean everyone!, from the office team to the guys that drop the barriers, at Maltaward is very responsive, polite and genuinely helpful! I have used them at several sites and they have never let me down!
Syanne Mara
Syanne Mara
23 January 2023
Amazing service as always with a quick response time. Maltaward always have a solution to all problems and execute any works or requirements swiftly and thoroughly.
Julie Curtis
Julie Curtis
23 January 2023
Excellent product & delivery. We have ordered from Maltaward several times and we can't fault them.
21 November 2022
Quick turnaround and a good job. Many thanks .
Ian Rhoden
Ian Rhoden
26 August 2022
Great experience Keith was top-notch
Declan Goldie
Declan Goldie
9 August 2022
I have used maltaward for years. Jim has been very helpful throughout this time. Thanks
Sally Atkins
Sally Atkins
1 July 2022
Just wanted to say a big thankyou to your driver Del, although he didn’t like nettles :) he carried out the job with no bother. Would highly recommend Maltaward

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