abandoned cars

Navigating Abandoned Car Removal in Brisbane

If you’ve noticed an abandoned car taking up limited street parking in your area, it can be tough to know how to handle it. How do you contact the owner? Can you have it towed? Who do you call? Will you have to pay for removal? So many questions, so few clear resources on exactly what to do next.
As Brisbane continues to build more and more new apartment buildings, street parking spots are becoming a rare commodity. In this guide we’re going to run you through what you need to know so you can take action today. 

Hint: It won’t cost you a cent, maybe just some sanity while you wait for government red tape.

What defines an ‘abandoned car’ in Brisbane

First things first, it’s important to know what exactly constitutes an abandoned car. The Brisbane City Council defines it as a vehicle that:

  • has been left for more than 24 hours in a parking bay (e.g. metered spaces) where the time for a vehicle to remain parked is limited 
  • is parked for more than seven days in a parking bay where the time a vehicle may remain parked is  not limited (e.g. a line marked bay with no limit)
  • is unregistered

Source: Health, Safety and Amenity Local Law 2021, Brisbane City Council

So, if that car has been parked in front of your house has no plates or has been there for the last couple of weeks, it will classify as ‘abandoned’.

These local laws also cover hazardous, unsightly or dilapidated vehicles as well. So, if you have a car on your street that’s causing a hazard or is in very rough shape, you can potentially have them removed as well.

Do you best to communicate with the owner first

Before we escalate the issue to the Brisbane City Council, it’s usually a good idea to try talking to the owner first. If something can be resolved with a quick ‘would you mind moving your car?’ then this is always going to be the best option for everyone.

Although it can be frustrating to have a parking spot tied up, finances are tight for a lot of Australians right now. Lumping the owner with government fines and a towing bill shouldn’t be your first option!

If face to face communication, the council offers a letter template you can print out and drop in their letterbox as well.

Of course, use your best judgement here. If you feel that approaching the owner could be dangerous then just skip ahead to the next step.

How to report an abandoned vehicle to the Brisbane City Council

To make a formal complaint about an abandoned vehicle on Brisbane streets, you’ll need to contact the council. There are two days you can go about this:

  • Phone: Call their 24 hour Customer Contact Centre on 07 3403 8888

What happens after you report an abandoned car

Reporting an abandoned vehicle in Brisbane will kick off their internal process to have it removed. They’ll first try to make contact with the owner. Where possible, the owner will be given a reasonable chance to remove their vehicle.

If the current owner of the vehicle cannot be contacted or doesn’t comply with the requests, a tow truck will be arranged to remove it. Council will then issue them with a notice of removal, advising that the vehicle has been towed and advising them of their next steps.

From there, they’ll have 14 days to claim the vehicle and a total of 28 days to meet the claiming requirements (ID, proof of ownership and payment of fees). After that, the vehicle can be sold, auctioned or ‘disposed of in an appropriate manner’.

How to check if your vehicle may have been towed by the Brisbane City Council

If you suspect your vehicle may have been towed by the council, you can check their register to see if your vehicle appears there. This link provides you with a detailed breakdown of what happens if your vehicle has been towed and what happens if you don’t claim it within their stated timeframes.

If your vehicle is on this list, be quick to get in contact with the council about it. It could be up for sale or sent to scrap if not claimed within 14 days of it getting towed!