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Abandoned Vehicles FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions about abandoned vehicles in Albuquerque.

What is considered an abandoned vehicle?

  • The vehicle is parked on or along any street, alley or public way and the vehicle displays no current license plate and validating sticker; or
  • The vehicle is left unattended on or along any public property, street, alley or public way in the same place for a period of 36 hours without a valid police sticker as defined in division (B) of section 8-5-2-3;
  • The vehicle is left on private property without the consent of the property owner, tenant, or occupant for a period of 24 hours; or
  • At a private residence, any vehicle which is not lawfully parked on a driveway for a period of at least 36 hours.
  • View ordinance 8-5-2-3 for more information.

What is considered public property?

  • All streets, roadways, alleys, and sidewalks. If a vehicle is partly on a sidewalk, or obstructs a sidewalk, it is considered to be on public property.
  • Parking lots at or attached to a public park or a public facility.

What is considered private property?

  • Any property that is not owned by a government agency, such as an individual, business, or non-profit organization.
  • Business parking lots: In the case of an apartment complex or business parking lot, it is the responsibility of the property owner or management to deal with an abandoned vehicle on their property.  They should be contacted regarding such vehicles, not the City.  The Albuquerque Police Department and Zoning Enforcement cannot take action unless the vehicle has been reported stolen or involved in a crime.
  • Residential property: Property used primarily as a private residence.
  • View ordinance 8-5-2-9, Inoperable Vehicle on Private Property

Who handles reported abandoned vehicles?

  • If the vehicle is on public property, it will be sent to the APD's Abandoned Vehicle Unit. 
  • If the vehicle is on private property, it will be sent to the City's Zoning Enforcement.

It may take several weeks to remove a reported vehicle while all of the required legal steps are taken.

What information does the City need to respond to a reported abandoned vehicle?

The following information is essential for the City to reasonably locate a reported abandoned vehicle:

  • A minimum of 2 identifiers for the vehicle such as license plate, make/model or color.
  • A description of the condition that would qualify the vehicle as abandoned or inoperable for 72 hours, such as: flat tires, broken windows, on blocks, blocking a driveway, blocking a sidewalk, or other parking violations.

Please be as specific as possible with the location of the vehicle.  The exact address is preferable, and at least the closest cross streets is necessary. 

This information will allow the City to make a reasonable effort to identify the vehicle and begin the required legal steps to remove the vehicle. When reporting please give as much information as possible to help us identify the vehicle you have reported.

What if I believe the vehicle is stolen?

If you have reason to believe the vehicle may be stolen, please call 242-COPS (242-2677) so that an officer may be sent to check the vehicle.

How can I park on the street for an extended period?

The Chief of Police may issue a sticker temporarily permitting street storage, upon application of any owner or agent of an owner for any vehicle, which is operable and has a current license plate.  Stickers shall expire 15 days after issuance.  No owner, whether an individual, business, corporation, organization, partnership or trust, is entitled to more than four stickers at any time.

Some residential streets around Downtown, the State Fairgrounds, and the University of New Mexico have restricted parking for resident and their visitors. Application for on street parking permits can be made through the Parking Division. Learn more.

Display and Sale of Motor Vehicles by the Roadway

It is a violation of city ordinance to display a vehicle for sale, by an individual, except at their current home, business or other location with the permission of the property owner.  Any vehicle found in violation of this ordinance will have a yellow tag placed on it by a person authorized to enforce this ordinance.  The owner of this vehicle will have 24 hours to remove it or the vehicle may be towed.

View ordinance 7-5-3