This advice works for neighbors parking in front of your house, too
There are unwritten rules of courtesy in American neighborhoods where you don’t park in front of someone’s house if there are other parking spots elsewhere.
Despite that, common courtesy is no longer all that common and legally, as long as the road in front of your house is a public road devoid of red painted fire curbs and municipal signs explicitly saying you can’t park there, they aren’t breaking the law.
Street parking is public parking.
There are, however, good reasons to ask someone not to park in front of your house like a personal disability, kids you’d rather not have run across the street to your car before the school run, or you have an extension cord running to your EV.
If that’s the case, here are some common strategies that can get people to not park in front of your house if they can avoid it.
Getting a stranger’s car towed or ticketed for legal reasons
There are several legal reasons spelled out in most city municipal codes that allow you to report on them for breaking the law. Often this results in getting their car towed.
First, a stranger (or yourself) can’t park in one spot for over 72-hours. If you find someone just left their car in front of your house with no note for over three days, you can inform your city’s code enforcement and they’ll place a note on that vehicle to move it ASAP or risk getting towed.
L.A. City Code Sec. 80.73.2. states,
It shall be unlawful for any person who owns or who has possession, custody or control of any vehicle to park that vehicle or leave it standing upon any highway, street or alley for 72 or more consecutive hours.
Next, you can’t park a car in front of your house if it encroaches on your front driveway. If any part of someone’s car extends into the area where your driveway slopes downwards, that’s grounds for calling your local parking authority.
If you notice the car parked in front of your house has faded, dealership-issued paper plates or has expired tags that don’t match the color of the current tags probably that car is not properly registered and/or insured and can’t legally be parked on public roads. A call to your local parking authority is well withing your rights.
Securing your own residential handicapped parking space in front of your house to make it illegal to park there.
If you are disabled, have a disabled person placard ID Card, and do not have garage or driveway space to park your car or lift-equipped vehicle, many municipal codes allow you to apply for exclusive Residential handicapped parking.
The municipal code from the City of Rio Vista reads,
A disabled resident of the city may request that a disabled parking space be designated in front of that person’s residence. To qualify for this parking space, the applicant must meet all the requirements.
It’s the city’s job to make sure your right to get to your car, as a handicapped person, is as easy as feasibly possible.
A city worker will place one of those blue signs on a pole in front of your house making it a violation if a stranger, even your neighbor, takes that space.
Leave a polite note with a legit reason
If there are no legal reasons for that person not to park in front of your house, a polite note is sometimes all it takes. The key is you must have a legit reason.
- You have small kids and don’t want them running across the street to get to your car.
- You have an EV and the extension cord can only go so far.
- You’re taking care of elderly people and not being able to get to your car as easily as possible would be an added burden for you and your clients.
- Your primary source of income sees you loading and unloading to your car, having an open spot in front of your house would make life easier.
Preferably, keep the note short, sweet, and polite.
Even better than a note is a quick and friendly chat if you catch the parker exiting their vehicle.
Temporary and arguably petty ways to get strangers from parking in front of your house.
If all else fails and you are heck-bent on no one parking in front of your house, here are a couple of petty suggestions.
You can buy one of those “kids at play” safety devices and plant it right in front of your house. Your neighbors will think you’re doing them a favor, thinking of the kids and you’re saving a parking space.
Have some traffic cones? While it’s an unsavory technique and a temporary solution, plop a handful of traffic cones in front of your house to save your spot. This will deter casual parkers and can save precious spot before a big gathering at your house.
If you use the above two techniques, you risk perturbed parkers stealing your cones or safety devices.
Finally, if you have an around-town car you don’t always use, you can park in front of your house yourself.
Parking spaces aren’t a birthright and, while you might get upset at someone parking in front of your house, it isn’t worth wasting time and effort if it’s a minor inconvenience.
One day you might have to park in front of someone’s house and, when you do, you’ll hope they’re reasonable enough to let you do so.