Abandoned vehicles

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Abandoned vehicles

If you think a car or trailer is abandoned you can report it to Council. Before you report it, you may wish to undertake a free registration check via Service NSW using the NSW plate number of the vehicle, if the vehicle has a number plate. If you wish to report a vehicle you think might be abandoned to Council you can do so by contacting our Customer Service Team.

Council's Rangers investigate abandoned vehicles and the investigation to determine if a vehicle is abandoned is carried out under the Impounding Act 1993 (the Act). Council may not proceed with an investigation if the vehicle is in good condition, legally parked, registered and not causing an obstruction or danger to the public.

It's important to note that although a vehicle may be unregistered, it does not mean the vehicle is ‘abandoned’. Council often receives reports regarding unregistered vehicles, as it is commonly thought that an unregistered vehicle is 'abandoned'.  However the registration status of a vehicle does not, on its own, indicate that an owner has abandoned a motor vehicle and registration is not a consideration within the Act. NSW Police are responsible for enforcing vehicle registration.

Our Rangers will inspect and photograph any vehicle that is considered to be abandoned. Before any action can be taken, Council is required to write to the last registered owner of the vehicle, if possible. Council will rely on information obtained from NSW Roads and Maritime Services to determine the last registered owner. If after 15 days no contact is received from the last known owner Council will advise NSW Police of our proposed actions and impound the vehicle.

Impounded vehicles will be stored for 35 days before being sold at auction.

If during the investigation, the owner of a vehicle (or a person acting on behalf of the owner) contacts Council and claims ownership of the vehicle, Council is unable classify the vehicle as abandoned. In such circumstances Council will report any unregistered vehicle to NSW Police for action as Council's Rangers are not authorised to enforce matters relating to the registration of a vehicle. Please contact Eastern Suburbs Police on 9369 9899 for more information.

Please note that Council cannot investigate abandoned vehicles on private property. Abandoned vehicles located on private land need to be managed by the land owner and occupier of the premises.

Unattended boat trailers

Boat trailers parking on public roads in the Woollahra Municipality are required to be moved after 28 days. If you think a boat trailer has not moved for 28 days you can report it to Council by contacting our Customer Service Team.

The requirement for boat trailers to move every 28 days only applies to boat trailers. Box trailers, horse floats and other registered trailers are exempt and may park without moving as long as they are legally parked.

The requirement for boat trailers to move every 28 days is set out in Sec 15A of the Impounding Act 1993 (the Act).

A summary of the “boat and trailer parking laws” within the Act is provided below;

  • The boat trailer laws authorise Council to impound a boat trailer if the authorised officer believes on reasonable grounds that the boat trailer has not been moved for at least 28 days.
  • A boat trailer on a road is considered to have moved if the boat trailer passes through an intersection with another road.
  • Nothing in Section 15A prevents a boat trailer being moved during this period and returning, being parked again at the same location or in the same street.
  • The authorised officer must provide the owner of the trailer with written notice of Council’s intention to impound the boat trailer and Council will rely on information obtained from NSW Roads and Maritime Services to determine the registered owner.
  • Council must provide 15 days for the owner to move the boat trailer prior to impounding the boat trailer.
  • If after 15 days no contact is received from the owner Council will advise NSW Police of our proposed actions and impound the boat trailer.
  • Impounded boat trailers will be stored for 35 days before being sold at auction.

Please note that Council cannot investigate boat trailers on common or private property which must be managed by the land owner and occupier of the premises.