Abandoned Vehicles

A vehicle (a car, motorcycle, van, truck, trailer or caravan) parked on a road or in a Council car park which has not moved for what seems like a long time without a valid permit from Council, could be considered abandoned and could be impounded.

A vehicle may be considered abandoned if the vehicle is:

  • Registered, but hasn't moved for at least 2 months.
  • Appears to be in a disused state.
  • Registration is expired or cancelled.

Before impounding a vehicle that has not moved for a long time, Council can investigate why the vehicle is there and whether it can be considered to be abandoned. Various laws apply to vehicles considered abandoned and it may take some time before Council can remove the vehicle. In many cases, Council may be unable to speed up this process.

What You Can Do
Vehicle Registration Statuses
What Council will do about Potentially Abandoned Vehicles
Flagged Vehicles (Vehicles that are stolen or on the Sherriff's List)
Reclaiming Towed and Impounded Vehicles

What You Can Do

If you notice a vehicle left for an extended amount of time in the street, nature strip or Council reserve within the City of Whitehorse and you believe that it is either unregistered or abandoned, contact Council by phone, email or in person or by using Snap Send Solve on your smart phone. You can also check the registration status of any Victorian vehicle for yourself on the Victorian Government Services website.

When you report an unregistered or abandoned vehicle to Council you will need to provide:

  • Vehicle registration number if known.
  • Location (street and street number if possible).
  • Type of vehicle (for example, sedan, utility or wagon).
  • Vehicle make.
  • Vehicle model.
  • The condition of the vehicle, colour, make and model.

Please also attach photos to help us locate the vehicle.

Note: You need to report burnt out, stolen or suspicious vehicles immediately to Victoria Police on 000.

Vehicle Registration Statuses

The following table explains various vehicle registration statuses:

Vehicle Type

How Long Without Moving?

Registered/ Unregistered

Vehicle Status

Parked Legally?

Council Action
Any Any Registered No

Council will only infringe

Any Up to 60 days Registered Yes No action
Any Over 60 days Registered Yes

Place Abandoned Vehicle Notice on vehicle. May impound.

Under 1 tonne Up to 30 days Registered Yes No action
Under 1 tonne Over 30 days Registered Yes

Place Abandoned Vehicle Notice on vehicle. May impound.

Over 1 tonne Up to 15 days Registered Yes No action
Over 1 tonne Over 15 days Registered Yes

Place Abandoned Vehicle Notice on vehicle. May impound.

Any Any

Has an Unregistered Vehicle Permit from VicRoads

Yes

Referred to VicRoads

Any Any

Expired or cancelled registration

Yes

Place Abandoned Vehicle Notice on vehicle. May impound.

Registration Status Explanations

  • Registered Vehicle - The vehicle is registered with VicRoads.
  • Unregistered Vehicle Permits - Some vehicles without number plates may have been issued an Unregistered Vehicle Permit by VicRoads. Council would prefer these vehicles to be parked on private property. Council has no powers to make the owner park the vehicle off the road. The Unregistered Vehicle Permit does not replace vehicle registration. Complaints about Unregistered Vehicle Permits should be directed to VicRoads.
  • Expired but Uncancelled Registration - VicRoads allows vehicle owners a grace period of three months past the registration expiry date for the vehicle to be re-registered by the owner. If the vehicle has not been re-registered before the the three month grace period has expired, VicRoads will automatically cancel the registration.

It is important to note that a vehicle with an expired but un-cancelled registration:

  • May not be driven on the road.
  • Is not covered by TAC third party insurance.
  • May be impounded by Council because it it is unregistered. If your vehicle is impounded, you will need to pay the appropriate release fees to have the vehicle returned to you.

Council recommends that vehicles with expired but un-cancelled registration be parked on private property.

What Council will do about Potentially Abandoned Vehicles

  1. A Community Laws Officer will investigate and place a sticker on the vehicle requesting the owner to move the vehicle.
  2. Council will attempt to contact the owner of the vehicle. If Council cannot contact the owner, 
  3. Council will monitor the vehicle until the owner contacts Council.
  4. If the owner makes contact, Council will request them to move the vehicle.
  5. If Council does not hear from the owner within two months, Council will impound the vehicle. 
  6. This process can take anywhere from seven to 60 business days, depending on the registration status of the vehicle.

Note: Vehicles with expired or cancelled registration may be immediately impounded by Council.

Flagged Vehicles (Vehicles that are stolen or on the Sherriff's List)

If a vehicle is listed on either the stolen vehicle  the sheriff’s lists, the details of the vehicle will be passed onto Victoria Police or Sheriff. Vehicles clamped by Victoria Police or the Sheriff are considered by Council to be controlled by the Victoria Police or the Sheriff.

You can consult the Personal Private Securities Register for more information about specific vehicles.

Reclaiming Towed and Impounded Vehicles

If an unregistered or abandoned vehicle is impounded by Council it will be towed by Shift Towing and Transport to their secure site at 89 Garden Drive, Tullamarine. They can be contacted during business hours on 1300 884 623.

A release fee will be payable to collect the vehicle which must be collected within 28 days of being impounded. After 28 days, unclaimed vehicles impounded by Council will be sold or destroyed.