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Impounding of Abandoned Vehicles

The abandonment of a vehicle is an offence under the Impounding Act. When a vehicle is left abandoned for an extended period of time on any public road or other Council property, Council will advise the last registered owner by a formal 'Notice of Intention to Impound', that they are required to contact the Compliance Section of Council within the given period, or remove vehicle. The Notice will advise of the penalties applicable for non-compliance with the Notice and a date to which the vehicle must be removed.

If the last registered owner fails to contact Council within the specified period the vehicle will be deemed at law to be abandoned and will be impounded and held for 28 days or destroyed.

After Council has made all enquiries required under the Impounding Act 1993, Division 4 (18) of the Act allows vehicles that are determined to be worth less than $500 be destroyed upon impounding.

Vehicles determined to be worth $500 or more will be taken to a holding yard where they will accrue daily holding charges. For these vehicles to be released to the last registered owner, this person must provide to Council proof of identity, proof of ownership and pay any impounding costs as determined by Council. If a vehicle that is deemed to be the value of $500 or more is not claimed by the last registered owner within 28 days of being impounded, the vehicle will be sold by auction through the Lismore Tender Centre to recover the costs incurred by Council. The net proceeds of the sale of the vehicle will be held by Council and may be claimed within 12 months by the last registered owner upon providing the relevant proofs.

To report an abandoned vehicle contact Contact Us and provide details of the location of the car, make of the car, colour and registration number. Alternatively you can Report a Problem online.

Council officers make all reasonable inquiries in an effort to find out the name and address of the owner of a motor vehicle before the officer impounds the vehicle. A motor vehicle may be impounded immediately (without following the procedures in this section) if the vehicle is in a public place and the impounding officer is satisfied on reasonable grounds that its immediate removal is justified because it is causing an obstruction to traffic (vehicular or pedestrian) or is or is likely to be a danger to the public.

For further information please contact Council’s Compliance Section on (02) 6670 2400.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I sell my car on the side of the road?
No.  Please see the below explanation.
Is the vehicle/article in a public place?
Public place means:
(a) a public reserve, public bathing reserve, public baths or public swimming pool, or
(b) a public road, public bridge, public wharf or public road-ferry, or
(c) a Crown reserve comprising land reserved for future public requirements, or
(d) public land or Crown land that is not:
(i) a Crown reserve (other than a Crown reserve that is a public place because of paragraph (a), (b) or (c)), or
(ii) a common, or
(iii) land subject to the Trustees of Schools of Arts Enabling Act 1902, or
(iv) land that has been sold or leased or lawfully contracted to be sold or leased, or
(e) land that is declared by the regulations to be a public place for the purposes of this definition.
Is the vehicle on private property?
The Tweed Environmental Plan 2000, States that the sale of cars from private land is defined as a “Motor showroom”
If the vehicle is located on private land and is being used for the purpose of selling vehicles, officers will contact the owner of the property and the owner of the vehicle to inform them of the offence.
Failing to comply with this directive will result in the issue of a Penalty Infringement Notice being issued to the landowner, which carries a daily penalty of $600, or details associated with this complaint should be forwarded to the Development Assessments compliance officer for further action.
To determine this, officers need to take into account the location in which the vehicle/article is situated. Where there is a contact number attached to the vehicle/article officers may interview the person to obtain further information as to the reason the vehicle/article was placed in the location.
Officers will affix a notice to the windscreen of vehicles advising this is an offence and to contact Council for further details if required.
An infringement notice will be issued once officers have obtained the registered owners details and established proof of the offence.
PENALTY NOTICE - Let article/motor vehicle be exposed at road without approval.
Local Government Act Offence Code: 5066 Regulation Code: RGG
Penalty Amount: $330.00
Last Updated: