A reader questions whether his neighbours have the right to park on the verge in front of his house and if there is anything he can do about it.
He says the owner has rented his house to tenants, who now appear to use his verge whenever convenient to them.
It should be considered that the majority of property adjacent to a road, typically called the verge, is owned by the municipality.
This piece of land normally runs to the border of the adjacent residential or other property, which may be demarcated by a wall, fence or something similar.
See the reader’s question here.
As the reader resides in the Western Cape it is useful to take a look at the by-law of 2017 relating to streets, public places and the prevention of noise nuisances.
This by-law applies in Cape Town but similar by-laws have been adopted by other municipalities.
From the definitions, it is clear that a public place includes a public road.
The definition of a public road is any road, street or thoroughfare which is commonly used by the public or to which the public has a right of access.
It includes the verge of any such road, street or thoroughfare.
The areas adjacent to the road include the shoulder, which is that portion of a road, street or thoroughfare between the edge of the roadway and the curved line.
The verge is defined as that portion of a road, street or thoroughfare, including the sidewalk, which is not the roadway or the shoulder.
It would appear that the reader is complaining of his neighbours’ conduct in respect of the verge, and the fact that the neighbours use the verge situated in front of his residence.
The by-laws provide for what typically is not permitted in respect of a public place. This may be of assistance to the reader.
These state that nobody, other than an authorised official, shall in any way obstruct the pedestrian traffic on a sidewalk by bringing or allowing any object or motor vehicle to be brought on it.
It is also necessary to consider the regulations to the National Road Traffic Act.
These state no person shall park a vehicle on a public road in such a manner as to encroach upon the sidewalk or to obstruct any private or public vehicle entrance to the road.
These clearly relate to driving or parking where pedestrians may be prejudiced. If no sidewalk is present on the verge, the negative effect is arguably minimal at best.
The reader should bear in mind that he should not take the law into his own hands.
He should perhaps approach his neighbours as a polite request might go some way in conveying his concern about their actions, which clearly cause him some distress.
Rather than have the matter escalate into an argument or dispute the reader could also contact his local authorities to advise them that, if it is the case, his neighbours are contravening the applicable legislation through their conduct.
Ask the YourProperty experts a question here.