Removing an abandoned vehicle on your common property
A strata legislative change explains how owners corporations can address the issue of abandoned vehicles on common property
In New South Wales, an owners corporation may be able to remove and dispose of a vehicle left on common property if they reasonably believe the vehicle has genuinely been abandoned. However, the owners corporation needs to follow steps laid out in the Uncollected Goods Act 1995, section 31.
Steps to remove abandoned vehicles in strata
Obtain a certificate from the Commissioner of Police, stating the vehicle is not recorded as stolen at least 28 days before the vehicle is to be moved or sold. When applying for the certificate, you will need to specify a number of details about the vehicle, including the make, model, type, colour, registration number (if any), chassis number (if any) and engine number (if any)
Obtain a written search result from the Personal Property Securities Register, which states the vehicle is not recorded as stolen
Provide notice regarding disposal, and then dispose of the vehicle as appropriate if unclaimed by the end of the notice period. The rules around this vary depending on the value of the vehicle:
Value of vehicle
Type of notice
Less than $1,000
Verbal or written
Any appropriate manner
Between $1,000 and $20,000
Public auction or private sale (for fair value)
If the vehicle is worth over $20,000, the committee will need to apply for a NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal order, which will determine the type of notice required, the length of the notice period and the appropriate disposal method.
Funds collected from the sale of the vehicle need to be given to the Chief Commissioner of Revenue in New South Wales, if they cannot be given to the owner of the vehicle.
You can find out more about this process by clicking here.
PICA Group’s top tips for better parking management
Prevention of parking issues is key. Erect notices and signage to highlight parking rules and mark appropriate spaces where parking is allowed and the maximum period for which a vehicle may be parked
Include parking guidelines in the by-laws or building rules so owners and residents are also clear about the rules regarding visitor parking in common areas.
Remove or dispose of the vehicle without obtaining the necessary documentation
Dispose of the vehicle before the notice period has passed
Move the vehicle to an unsafe or unreasonable location
Damage the vehicle while moving it to another location – you will need to cover the costs of any damage made in the process of moving.
Council enforcement of strata parking
Under section 650A of the Act, a fee-for-service agreement with your local council can be entered into for parking management services. This means council rangers can erect parking signage in strata parking areas, patrol the area to ensure the parking signage is complied with and issue parking infringement notices if it is not. Under this arrangement, the council would handle disputes that may arise from parking violations. A parking agreement must be approved by special resolution at a general meeting.
Removing obstructing vehicles in Queensland and Victoria
Queensland’s legislation and Victoria’s legislation currently don’t have much published information on removing vehicles obstructing common property. There also seems to be is no certainty for a committee as to their rights to tow vehicles from common property and pass on the towing expenses to the owner of the offending vehicle. We recommend approaching the matter cautiously and seeking legal advice before taking action to remove a vehicle from common property both in Victoria and Queensland.
If you’d like to find out more on managing parking problems in your strata property, download your free Community Living guide on by-laws. Or for a consultation to review your by-laws by our Kemps Petersons Legal team, click here.
PICA Group acknowledges the traditional owners as the custodians of Australia, recognising their connection to land, waters and community. We pay our respects to First Nations Peoples and Elders, past and present.