Updated: 4th December 2020
Is it legal to park your van outside your house?
As a busy trader, parking outside your home is key. You probably use a van on a regular basis to move equipment and materials to your customers. Your van is your livelihood and at the end of a working day you want to park your van at home, however - is this legal?
The good news is that, in most cases, parking regulations don't prohibit commercial vehicles parking in residential areas. You generally can park your van on the public road the same way you would park a car. You just need to make sure you park legally, don’t block traffic, and don’t cause a danger to pedestrians or other road users. Even though it may seem like a good idea to park the van partially on the pavement so it doesn't block the road, it leaves limited space for pedestrians - especially for mobility scooters and parents with prams - forcing them onto the road and, as a result, putting them in danger. Parking over a dropped curb is also not the best idea - these are designed to help the mentioned mobility scooters and prams/pushchairs cross the road.
The Highway Code says vehicles can park:
- in off-street parking areas
- in parking bays on the road marked out with white lines
- on the side of the road facing the direction of traffic if no restrictions apply on that road
But the rules say you must not:
- park or wait on double yellow lines at any time
- park or wait on single yellow lines during the times shown on any signs
- park or wait on school entrance markings or anywhere with signs that say you can’t (eg red routes)
- park or stop on a pedestrian crossing, including the area marked by the zigzag lines
- park in spaces reserved for specific users, such as Blue Badge holders, residents or motorcycles (unless you’re entitled to)
- leave your vehicle or trailer in a dangerous place or where it blocks the road
- park on the pavement in London, and you shouldn’t do this elsewhere unless signs permit it
- park in areas such as taxi bays and cycle lanes.
What you’ll also need to consider before parking your van outside your house– including rules for parking at night
Parking vans in residential areas can cause problems with neighbours, even when you’re not legally doing anything wrong. Your neighbours might be complaining about you blocking their view or natural light and even though these are not their legal rights, it's worth avoiding the dispute if you can. Also, try not to park where you might restrict your neighbour's view when they’re pulling in and out of their driveway. If your neighbour is complaining, we suggest that you discuss the situation with them and try to find a solution that works for both of you so that it does not escalate.
If you keep your work van at your own home for prolonged periods or overnight on a regular basis, you will need to check with the vehicle insurer if it's covered. If it’s a company van it’s worth checking in advance to avoid pain later and ensure there are no company van tax issues.
Make sure you’re aware of any parking restrictions on your street. Not parking on yellow lines is obviously basic knowledge. If you're in a controlled area when the lines are active only at certain times - make sure you know these times. Be aware of any parking permit areas and reserved bays. Some local councils may impose parking restrictions only on some type of vehicles - i.e. some permit parking might be only for cars or could only apply if your van is registered at your address or only if you're registered owner of the vehicle.
We suggest that you contact your local authority and check the parking status for your location.
Different rules for parking at night
If the speed limit of the road is more than 30mph, you must have your parking lights on at all times but if your vehicle is a larger van, with a maximum loaded weight of more than 2.5 tonnes (eg a Ford Transit), you have to display parking lights if you leave it on any road overnight, regardless of the speed limit.
- Vehicles not exceeding 1525 kg unladen weight may be parked without lights on a road (or lay-by) with a speed limit of 30 mph or less if they are at least 10 metres (32 feet) away from any junction, close to the curb and facing in the direction of the traffic flow in a recognised parking place or lay-by.
All vehicles should be parked with their nearside close to and parallel with the nearside curb.
VEHICLES WITH A COMBINED WEIGHT OF OVER 7.5 TONNES
You’re unlikely to have a business van with a maximum laden weight of over 7.5 tonnes but in case you do, the law says these vehicles must not be parked on a verge, pavement, or any land situated between carriageways, without police permission. The only exception to this parking rule is when parking is essential for loading and unloading, but even then the vehicle shouldn’t be left unattended.
pARKING ON A DRIVEWAY OR IN A GARAGE
The rules and restrictions don't apply to you if you park your business van on your driveway or in your garage unless there is a clause in the deeds preventing you from parking it there - it is very rare but worth checking for that extra peace of mind.
SOME COUNCILS EVEN REQUIRE A PLANNING PERMISSION
Some local councils are getting fed up with complaints about commercial vehicles parked in the gardens and driveways of private houses and many are now saying that ‘this is going against the enjoyment of the property’. They consider it a material change of use and thus you will need to apply for permission.
Factors taken into account by local councils include:
- The size, design and number of commercial vehicles at a property
- Your van’s position and distance to other properties
- Its effect on the appearance of the local area
- The times your van arrives at your property and leaves
We’d advise checking with your local council first to avoid problems later – particularly with other residents.
Knowing what you can and can't do when parking your commercial van is important. Contact us if you have any further questions about your business vehicle or if you're looking for your next van leasing deal we're here to help out.