This website is for use by legal professionals (lawyers and law practices) only. If the information is used incorrectly, you could risk losing money or your legal rights. If you are a member of the public looking for free advice about your legal problems please visit legalaid.vic.gov.au, or contact our Legal Help advice line on 1300 792 387, Monday to Friday from 8 am to 6 pm. 

If you decide to use or rely on the information or make decisions based on the information in this website (which VLA does not recommend) VLA is not liable to you or any third party in any way for any loss, damage, costs or expenses you or they may suffer or incur as a result.

Vehicles dumped or abandoned

Information about vehicles that have been abandoned or dumped in the street or on private property.

Vehicle abandoned on private property

The property owner can call the police to ask that the vehicle be removed. The police will come and remove the vehicle and any items inside or attached to the vehicle.

The property owner is not entitled to claim the abandoned vehicle.

See cl. 4(1)(d) Sch 4—Road Management Act 2004 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Vehicles left or abandoned in the street

From 1 January 2017 VicRoads has more power to move vehicles from a freeway or local street. (Before this change they could only remove a vehicle from a freeway.) They can move a vehicle that is:

  • parked or left standing contrary to any law
  • likely to cause traffic congestion
  • likely to be a danger to other road users, or
  • disabled or damaged.

VicRoads may move the vehicle to a convenient place or into storage. When carrying out any vehicle-moving operations, the VicRoads officer may use reasonable force to move the vehicle.

See s. 119A—Road Management Act 2004 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

If vehicle appears to have been abandoned

If the vehicle is unregistered or appears to have been abandoned, VicRoads has the power to remove the vehicle (and anything in or attached to the vehicle) and take it into storage.

Even if the vehicle is still registered, VicRoads may remove it if it has not been moved for 2 months or more.

VicRoads may:

  • impound the vehicle and move it to a storage place
  • only return the vehicle if the owner pays a fee.

The vehicle owner has 14 days to pay this fee and collect their vehicle.

See s. 119B, cl. 4(4), 4(5), Sch 4—Road Management Act 2004 (Vic)(opens in a new window) and r. 22—Road Management (General) Regulations 2016 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Vehicle causing obstruction or danger

If a vehicle is illegally parked, or obstructing a road way VicRoads may move or impound this vehicle.

VicRoads must return the vehicle to the owner after the owner pays a fee. The owner has 60 days to collect the vehicle and pay the fee.

See cl. 5, Sch 4—Road Management Act 2004 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Must try to find the owner

VicRoads must make reasonable attempts to find the owner to tell them:

  • the vehicle has been impounded
  • the owner has to come and collect the vehicle and pay the set fee
  • how much time they have before the vehicle will be sold, destroyed or given away.

VicRoads will do this by posting a notice to the registered operator of the vehicle.

Note: VicRoads do not have to do this if the vehicle has no number-plate or other means of identifying the owner.

See cl. 5, Sch 4—Road Management Act 2004 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

How abandoned vehicles may be disposed of

Abandoned vehicles may be sold, destroyed or given away.

Vehicles that have been impounded because they were causing an obstruction must be held for 60 days before they can be destroyed, sold or given away.

See cl. 4(1)(d), Sch 4—Road Management Act 2004 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

More information

Legislation

Road Management Act 2004 (Vic)

  • s. 3—defines a 'road authority' and 'state road authority'
  • s. 37—which road authority is the responsible road authority?
  • s. 44—specific traffic management powers of state road authorities
  • s. 118—road authority may delegate any power or function
  • s. 119A—power to remove stationary vehicles
  • s. 119B—removal or abandoned property
  • Clause 4, Schedule 4—Power to remove unregistered or abandoned vehicles
  • Clause 5, Schedule 4—Power to remove vehicles causing obstruction or danger

See Road Management Act 2004 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Road Management (General) Regulations 2015 (Vic)

  • r. 22—removal of vehicles

See Road Management (General) Regulations 2016 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

VicRoads

See VicRoads—Request licence or registration information(opens in a new window).

Updated