How to Report Abandoned Vehicles in Philadelphia


Parking can be tough in Philadelphia, and abandoned vehicles don't help the situation. In March 2021, Philly 311 received over 4,000 inquiries about abandoned vehicles. To help Philadelphians recognize and report abandoned vehicles in their neighborhoods, Philly 311 recently published a blog with Everything you need to know about abandoned vehicles in Philadelphia.

According to 75 Pa.C.S. § 102, a vehicle "shall be presumed to be abandoned" under the following circumstances:

        1. The vehicle is physically inoperable and is left unattended on a highway or other public property for more than 48 hours.
        2. The vehicle has remained illegally on a highway or other public property for a period of more than 48 hours.
        3. The vehicle is left unattended on or along a highway or other public property for more than 48 hours and does not bear all of the following:
                1. A valid registration plate.
                2. A current certificate of inspection.
                3. An ascertainable vehicle identification number.
        4. The vehicle has remained on private property without the consent of the owner or person in control of the property for more than 24 hours.
        5. The vehicle has remained on the private property of a salvor for 20 days.

Philadelphia Code § 12-1120(1)(a) adds to this list vehicles "including, but not limited to, any vehicle not capable of being moved under its own power, or with deflated tire or tires, or without tire or tires, or without current license tags, which remains parked upon such street or highway for a period of more than forty-eight (48) hours."

Philadelphia has a number of ways to report an abandoned vehicle, including by calling 3-1-1 (or 215-686-8686 if you are outside of Philadelphia), by emailing, using the mobile app, or using the online web portal. When reporting an abandoned vehicle, make sure to include the following information: the closest exact address; the vehicle make, model, color, and body style; a description of the vehicle's condition; the license plate state and number; and, if possible, a picture of the vehicle.

It can take up to 60 days, or longer, for an abandoned vehicle to be removed. The Neighborhood Services Unit (NSU) of the Philadelphia Police Department will first investigate the vehicle. If the vehicle "constitutes a safety hazard, the Police Department may remove it immediately and within twelve (12) hours send a written notice to the last registered owner" (Phila. Code § 12-1120(3)). In other circumstances, the vehicle owner may receive a notice from the Police Department and be given a short period of time to "bring their vehicle into compliance with the law".

If it has been more than 60 business days and the vehicle has not been removed, reach out to Philly 311 with your service request number and they will check on the status of the case for you.

Has your vehicle been towed by NSU and you want to get it back? Contact them by calling 215-685-9500, Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.

For more information about vehicle laws, check out Title 75 of the Pennsylvania Statutes and Title 12 of the Philadelphia Code.

Looking for secondary resources on vehicle laws? Ask Us!

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