Abandoned Vehicles in Rural Areas

Abandoned VehicleWe live in a rural area and came home to find a vehicle parked near but not obstructing our driveway. It appears to have broken down. A number of days later and the vehicle is still waiting to be retrieved by its owners. What is the proper process for reporting an abandoned vehicle if in fact no one does come for it and if they don't, what would be the suggested route to follow in having it removed?

Whenever you find a suspicious vehicle in your neighbourhood report it to the police. All that is required is the licence plate number or failing that the vehicle identification number, where it is and how long it has been there. Of course, if you can provide more information I am sure that it will be welcomed as well. Many stolen vehicles are recovered in this fashion.

When the vehicle has been left on your rural property for more than 72 hours the Motor Vehicle Act deems that the owner has given you permission to tow the vehicle and have it stored. When you act in this capacity as the owner's agent you have a lien under the Warehouse Lien Act against the vehicle for expenses advanced or incurred. It would be wise to inform police of your actions to prevent any misunderstanding and many towing companies will refuse to move the vehicle until you have done so.

If the vehicle has been left on a highway for more than 72 hours the Minister of Transportation may choose to remove it and the person responsible for abandoning it may be required to pay the expense of removal. In the absence of proof to the contrary, the registered owner of the vehicle is considered to be the person who abandoned it. This is another excellent reason for properly documenting the sale of your vehicle.

Both the Motor Vehicle Act and the Transportation Act give the minister and the police the authority to immediately remove a vehicle from the highway if it will interfere with or cause inconvenience to other highway users.

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What about vehicles left in municipalities?


You do not have to wait 72 hours, you can remove it immediately.

Cars left on grassy areas between beach and roadway

What are the laws around vehicles that are left parked on the land in between the foreshore/beach and roadways (not private property)? People will often leave cars for days or weeks or indefinitely.

Rural Areas

The more I asked about this the hazier it became. It appears that it is either the Ministry of Transportation via the road maintenance contractor or the regional district if the vehicle is not left on private property. The lady from the regional district did raise a good point, which was that land that looks public many not be. It may belong to a forest company or other organization.

When in doubt, call the police. They have a stake in making sure that the vehicle is not stolen or otherwise of interest.

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