Unattended and 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.

Under the Whitehorse City Council Community Local Law (2014) S4.7 ( PDF 280.06KB), a motor vehicle weighing more than 1 tonne, a trailer or a caravan is considered to be "unattended" if it is left on a road or in a municipal place for more than 14 continuous days; or if it is a motor vehicle weighing up to 1 tonne, for more than 30 continuous days. Unattended vehicles may be fined.

However, 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
  • It's 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.

On this page

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 may only infringe

Any Over 60 days Registered Yes

An Abandoned Vehicle Notice may be placed on vehicle. Council may impound

Under 1 tonne Up to 30 days Registered Yes No action (must be parked for more than 30 days)
Under 1 tonne Over 30 days Registered Yes

Council may investigate under the Whitehorse City Council Community Local Law 2014 ( PDF 280.06KB)

Over 1 tonne Over 14 days Registered Yes

Council may investigate under the Whitehorse City Council Community Local Law 2014 ( PDF 280.06KB)

Any Any

Has an Unregistered Vehicle Permit from VicRoads


Council may investigate

Any Any

Expired or cancelled registration


An Abandoned Vehicle Notice may be placed on vehicle. Council 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 or 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.