Junk Cars & Abandoned Vehicles


A vehicle is an illegal abandoned vehicle if it is:

  • Left on public property illegally for more than 48 hours (e.g., overtime parking, snowbird - cars not moved off designated streets by the appropriate time after the declaration of a snow emergency, non-restricted streets)
  • Left on private property without the property owner's consent for more than 48 hours
  • Inoperable or lacking vital component parts (e.g., motor, drive train, or wheels) and has been left outside for more than 48 hours
  • If the vehicle is inside a garage or enclosed shed, it is legal.
  • On private property for repairs for more than 30 days
  • Without current license plates for 90 days

It is legal to have cars in a driveway, unless those cars are abandoned vehicles.

Reporting Abandoned Vehicles

If you are bothered by junk cars on private property, call the DSI - Information & Complaint Office at 651-266-8989. They will send out an inspector, who will write an order to correct the problem. If the cars are on the street or on public property, contact the Police Department at 651-291-1111. They will mark the tires and return to see if the car has been moved or the problem corrected.

The City's Response to Abandoned Vehicles

If the problem is not corrected, the vehicle eventually will be towed to the City impound lot. Once it is towed, the vehicle's disposition depends on its age and condition. If it is more than seven years old, lacks vital component parts, or lacks a current license plate, it can be sold at public auction at any time if not retrieved by owners.

If the vehicle is newer, licensed, and operable, the police will notify the owner that the car has been impounded and the owner has 15 days from the notice to reclaim the car. Reclaiming the car means paying towing and storage charges. If the car is not reclaimed, it can be sold at public auction.

Sweep for Junk Cars

Occasionally, the City will do a sweep for junk cars. Instead of waiting for complaints, inspectors will drive through an area of the City noting and tagging all abandoned vehicles. If you would like to see a sweep in your neighborhood, contact your District Council or Councilmember.

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