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Parking Fines on Private Land – What you need to know

Scott Nelson MoneyNerd Janine Marsh MoneyNerd
Scott Nelson MoneyNerd

Scott Nelson

Debt Expert

Scott Nelson is a renowned debt expert who supports people in debt with debt management and debt solution resources.

Learn more about Scott
Janine Marsh MoneyNerd

Janine Marsh

Financial Expert

Janine is a financial expert who supports individuals with debt management, cost-saving resources, and navigating parking tickets.

Learn more about Janine
· May 24th, 2024
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Parking fines private land

Have you received a private parking fine and are now wondering what to do next?

This is the perfect place for you. Every month, more than 130,000 people visit our website seeking advice on fines and parking tickets. 

In this easy-to-understand article, we’ll cover:

  •  The rules about parking on private land.
  •  How to spot and understand parking signs.
  •  What a Parking Charge Notice is.
  •  How to appeal against a private parking fine.

We know that getting a private parking fine can be very annoying, but you’re not alone. Research shows that over 19,000 parking fines are issued each day in the UK1.

Don’t worry; we have plenty of useful tips and real examples to help you make the best choice. So, whether you’re thinking about paying the fine or appealing it, we’ve got you covered. 

Most Ticket Appeals Succeed

In some circumstances, you might have a legitimate reason not to pay your parking fine.

It’s a bit sneaky, but the last time I needed legal advice, I paid £5 for a trial to chat with an online solicitor called JustAnswer.

Not only did I save £50 on solicitor feeds, I also won my case and didn’t have to pay my £271 fine.

Chat below to get started with JustAnswer

*According to Martin Lewis, 56% of people who try to appeal their ticket are successful and get the charge overturned, so it’s well worth a try.

Is it illegal to park on private land?

You are not allowed to park on somebody else’s private land, which is not a car park.

Parking regulations on private property are referred to as unauthorised parking rather than illegal parking.

But you can park on private land owned by:

  • A supermarket
  • Hospital
  • Business
  • Regular private car park

You usually have to pay for parking when you leave your car on private land.

The RAC found that the number of parking tickets being issued is up by nearly 30%! The report also found that misleading and deliberately confusing signage in private car parks is part of the problem.2

So a lot of people get fined for making a genuine mistake!

Are parking fines on private land enforceable?

Private parking companies cannot force you to pay their fine.

However, the fine may be enforced if a small claims court judges that you must pay.

Thus, a parking fine on private land is not initially enforceable, but it can become enforceable if the car park operator takes legal action against you and wins.

UK law on private parking enforcement means there must be a court order to pay in place, but there are some exceptions.

» TAKE ACTION NOW: Get legal support from JustAnswer

Importance of signage on private land

Landowners and car park operators must erect proper parking signs and follow signage regulations for UK private parking.

According to the British Parking Association (BPA), signs must be clear and easily visible to motorists who use their car parks.

You could have grounds to challenge a parking ticket if the signs are unclear or missing.

Can you ignore a parking ticket from a private company?

You could ignore a parking ticket from a private company and get away without having to pay.

But as we see it, this is risky, and the car park operator could take further action against you, which eventually forces you to pay.

Ignoring the parking ticket could also increase how much you have to pay. 

In short, the consequences of not paying private parking tickets could be expensive.

Successful Appeal Case Study


Initial Fine £100
Additional Fees £171
Total Fine £271

The Appeal Process

Scott used JustAnswer, online legal service to enhance his appeal. The trial of this cost him just £5.

Total Fine £271
Cost of legal advice £5

JustAnswer helped Scott craft the best appeal possible and he was able to win his case.

Scott’s fine was cancelled and he only paid £5 for the legal help.

Get started

In partnership with Just Answer.

What happens if you don’t pay a parking ticket?

If you don’t pay a private land parking ticket, the company will either stop chasing you for payment or take court action.

They could ask a small claims court to give you a court order to pay.

And if you don’t pay, they could ask to use private parking enforcement action, including the use of bailiffs (enforcement officers).

Not paying a Penalty Charge Notice is more serious.

They will send you a charge certificate if you do not pay these council parking fines within 28 days.This automatically increases the fine by 50% and gives you 14 days to pay before taking court action. 

Can you appeal private land parking charges?

You are allowed to appeal against private parking charges if you believe the ticket is unjustified.

To help you better understand the appeal process, here’s a quick table for reference.

Process: Steps you should take:
When you receive the ticket… You should gather as much evidence as you can to support your appeal claim and prove that the ticket was unfairly issued.
If you were given the ticket in person/attached to your car… You must make an informal appeal (sent to the local authority/council that issued the PCN) within 14 days. This should be a letter with the evidence proving why the ticket was incorrectly given.
If it was posted to you… You will be given 21 days to submit an informal appeal (from the day you received the letter). Your informal appeal should be a letter with the evidence proving why the ticket was incorrectly given.
If the informal appeal is rejected… You will receive a Notice to Owner and will have 28 days to respond to this with a formal appeal. You can conduct the formal appeal online or via paper form. The Traffic Penalty Tribunal can send you one of these forms.
If the formal appeal is rejected… You will receive a Notice of Rejection. From here, you are free to challenge the council’s verdict at an independent tribunal.
If the independent tribunal disagrees with your appeal… You should pay the ticket within 28 days of the tribunal rejecting your appeal. If you don’t, the fine will be increased by 50%.
If you don’t have the money to pay the fine, you should contact Citizens Advice or another debt charity.

Getting the support of a Solicitor can take a huge weight off your mind.

Get started

Reviews shown are for JustAnswer.

How do you appeal against private parking tickets?

You challenge a private land parking charge by making an appeal detailing why you believe the parking ticket should be cancelled.

You should provide evidence to support your appeal, which may be:

·        Photos

·        Statements from witnesses 

The specific appeals process should be made clear by the company that issued your private parking ticket.

If your appeal is rejected, you also have the opportunity to take your appeal to an independent appeals service.

The appeals service to use is based on which trade body the car park company is a member of. 

Note: Make sure you follow the right steps to challenge a private parking fine as detailed on the parking ticket you receive.

Misconceptions and myths about private parking tickets

There are many myths and misconceptions about private parking tickets.

We’ve listed some of the common misunderstandings about private parking charges here:

  • You don’t have to pay a private parking ticketNot true. The issuer could take you to court and win a case. Once an order to pay is issued, you must pay the parking ticket
  • You can ignore a Parking Charge NoticeNot true. It is a risky decision which could earn you a County Court Judgement
  • Private parking tickets are not enforceableNot true. As previously mentioned, the issuer could start court proceedings to recover what you owe

Check out what happened to one person who got a CCJ for not paying a Parking Charge Notice.

Source: Moneysavingexpert

Private land parking tickets time limit

The private car park operator usually has 14 days to issue you a Parking Charge Notice. But this timeframe can be extended in some circumstances. 

Some private car park operators will place the Parking Charge Notice on your vehicle.

But other car parks don’t use parking wardens and instead rely on specialist cameras to spot motorists who don’t pay.

They get your address from the DVLA and send the parking fine in the post using your vehicle registration if you are the registered keeper.

They should serve the private parking ticket within 14 days, but they can get much longer if the DVLA is slow to provide your information. 

Hire a Parking Solicitor for less than a coffee.

If you’re thinking about appealing your parking ticket then getting some professional advice is a good idea.

Getting the support of a Solicitor can make your appeal much more likely to win.

For a £5 trial, Solicitors from JustAnswer can look at your case and help you create an airtight appeal.

Try it below

Get started

In partnership with Just Answer.


  1. Sky News — Parking Tickets Statistics
  2. RAC – Parking Tickets Statistics
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The authors
Scott Nelson MoneyNerd
Scott Nelson is a renowned debt expert who supports people in debt with debt management and debt solution resources.
Janine Marsh MoneyNerd
Appeals Expert
Janine is a financial expert who supports individuals with debt management, cost-saving resources, and navigating parking tickets.