I am a security officer for a private estate. I frequently deal with cars parking in a way that obstructs other vehicles.

On a recent occasion I asked the various tenants of the estate and each denied that the problem card belonged to any of their visitors. I put notices on a couple of the cars with brown tape requesting that the owners move the cars. The notices said that the police would be called and the cars towed if the request was not complied with.

The owner of one of the cars is now threatening to sue me for criminal damage. The tape left only a small amount of residue that can easily be removed with soap and water. Is there any liability associated with my actions?

  • 4
    What country/jurisdiction are you in?
    – Ron Beyer
    Mar 21 '19 at 15:14
  • See: respondeat superior
    – A. K.
    Mar 23 '19 at 2:45
  • Hi, and welcome to law.SE! The title of your question was not very expressive, so I edited it to expand. Please review, and feel free to re-edit if I got something wrong.
    – sleske
    Mar 25 '19 at 10:36

You have the right to notify the owner of the car of their vehicular trespass and the consequences of that. You do not have the right to damage the car in giving said notice. You have the right to offer to clean the gum off whatever part of the car you stuck the notice to. If you succeed in cleaning it,the other party will not have a legal cause of action, in all likelihood, since there is no damage (though with a bit of imagination they might come up with some 'missed business opportunity' loss). The court would probably find your choice of sticker to be negligent (put the notice under the wipers? use painter's tape -get some if you don't have any). The rationale 'we had no other choice' holds no water: there are alternatives.

'Criminal Damages' is a concept in UK law, but it relates to willful damage such as vandalism, not accidents. It would be an issue if you had planned to cause damage, but that seems not to be the case here.

  • 1
    I also don't think you can "sue for criminal damage"... You can sue for damage, the "criminal" aspect would be a case brought on by a governmental unit (most likely local DA). Even then it would be difficult to prove the "criminal" part of this.
    – Ron Beyer
    Mar 21 '19 at 17:51
  • @RonBeyer In the UK, it would be possible for the owner to bring a private prosecution for criminal damage (but it would be open to the Attorney General to take over the prosecution and then offer no evidence). Mar 22 '19 at 12:24

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