One of the most common grounds for contesting a parking ticket is the issue of who owned the contravening vehicle at the time of the infringement. Car sales and re-sales are an integral part of motoring Britain, with the rate of transactions often far outstripping that of their formal documentation with the DVLA.
Who is responsible for a parking ticket ?
Legal liability for a parking ticket in the United Kingdom rests with the Registered Keeper. This is the person registered as the owner at the DVLA, the entity responsible for recording and documenting vehicle ownership in the country.
The Registered Keeper is the person liable for formally challenging any parking ticket issued to a vehicle registered to his or her name at the DVLA.
The DVLA, Local Authorities and Responsibility for Parking Tickets
Local authorities responsible for parking enforcement within their jurisprudence secure from the DVLA the names and addresses of vehicle Registered Keepers by supplying it with the relevant Vehicle Registration Mark's (VRM). If the parking ticket remains unpaid 28 days after its date of issue, a Formal Notice to Owner or NTO will be sent by the authority to the keeper of the vehicle offering the opportunity of a formal challenge or full payment.
Appeals and payment are allowed before the 28 days and this could be from the person driving the vehicle at the time even if he or she is not registered at the DVLA as the owner.
However once the NTO has been sent out the Registered Keeper of the vehicle remains solely responsible for the fine, including paying or appealing it
How do disputes over vehicle ownership arise?
If a person has sold a car before an offense was committed or bought one after without the necessary changeover documentation processed at the DVLA, the formal NTO or ticket itself (in the case of CCTV issued tickets) will be sent to the person which details remain on the DVLA's account for the car.
How is the ticket disputed when the car was bought or sold before the contravention but details were not changed at the DVLA.
Clearly processing the necessary change at the DVLA is the best way of preventing the receipt of a charge for a vehicle not under ones ownership at the time a parking contravention was applied against it. However not doing so does not necessarily preclude a successful challenge against the charge.
What would be required to mount a successful challenge on these grounds would be the details; name and address of the debtor owner backed up by some sort of documentary evidence such as an invoice, receipt or signed document substantiating the vehicles transfer.
The information that the document (does not have to be on official letter head) should include will be –
- Name and address of the new or old owner as the case might be.
- Date of the transaction – the date should be before (sold) or after (bought) the date of the contravention.
- Signature of seller and buyer. (The document will still be valid even if the document is not signed as long as both parties are in agreement on its validity)
Scrap Dealers and Vehicle Ownership changes
Motorists' often sell or transfer their vehicles to scrap merchants with an understanding that it would be put out of use. However on certain occasions unscrupulous dealers simply revamp the car and put it back on the road under new, albeit unregistered ownership with any new tickets it incurs being charged to the unsuspecting former owner.
Again in such instances some form of proof that the vehicle was sold or transferred to scrap dealer such as a receipt or invoice should be provided with the details indicated above.
Filling in the Notice to Owner Form
There are 7 categories for formally appealing a Notice to Owner (NTO) which are all out on the form. For disputes arising from ownership disputes the required category would be
That the recipient was not the owner of the vehicle in question
had ceased to be the owner before the date on which the alleged contravention took place or became its owner after that date
Tick the box next this reason and add any comments or explanation in the space provided on the form. You can add extra sheets if required. Copies, not originals of any documentary proof should also be sent along with the returned NTO form, now called a representation.
If you have not got an invoice but do have a name and address also send this as there is every possibility that the new but unregistered owner may give liability for the charge.
If your appeal is turned down, consider appealing to the independent adjudicator who tend to look favourably on cases of this nature provided some sort of evidence is provided that the infringing vehicle was not under the appellants control at the time of the contravention.
No extra charge is added for appealing to the adjudicator as the payment required is frozen during appeal and re-offered if the independent appeal is refused.