How Many Junk Cars are You Allowed to Own?

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Edgar Moulton.


Edgar Moulton. Car Expert

There are several reasons why someone may have junk cars on their property. An owner may be looking for a buyer, or they want to fix it in the future. The simplest ones may be that an owner is looking for a buyer or wants to fix it in the future. Regardless of the situation, such people may wonder — how many cars can you have on your property? In this article, you can find the number of allowed junk vehicles, ways to comply with the regulation, some arguments against storing them on your territory, and ways to get rid of your junkers.

What Kind of Car Can Be Considered a Junk Car?

Before we answer the question of how many junk cars you can have on your property, let’s discuss the signs of a junk vehicle first. A junk car is a type of vehicle that has been severely damaged and can be sold only as scrap. Here are some signs.

Older than 20 years 

In some cases, even a car under 20 years old may fall into the junk category, depending on its state. At the same time, any car older than 20 years is generally considered junk, especially if it has been extensively repaired over the years. 

Damaged vehicle 

If your car has suffered extensive damage in an accident, and it costs more to repair than the car's worth — it’s a junk vehicle. In these cases, an insurance company is most likely to declare a car a total loss.

Unmaintained and unused car

Cars need regular maintenance to remain in a driveable state. If a vehicle has been neglected for many years and simply left in a garage or even outside, it will need to be fixed. Before this happens, it is considered a junk vehicle. 

Serious transmission or engine problems

Even if a car looks normal from the outside, any problems with its vital systems, such as transmission or engine, make it unusable. What is more, such problems usually mean that getting rid of a car will be a better idea than replacing these parts.

Can You Have a Junk Car on Your Property?

You may be driving past someone’s property, see their junk cars in the front yard, and wonder — is it even legal? According to the storage laws, a person may leave one or two of their junk cars in the enclosed space on their property. However, regulations differ depending on each state. In most cases, having multiple cars in your yard is more than likely to cause your neighbors to file complaints and take legal action.

Also, they should not be visible to neighbors. For this reason, you have to store them in a garage or another enclosed space. When the car becomes a nuisance, you can expect it to be removed from your property. For example, according to the Code of Ordinances of the city of Washington, IA, no junk vehicle should be openly stored on the property for more than seven days. Such vehicles should always be kept in enclosed spaces.

Limit for Junk Cars on Your Property

How many junk cars are you allowed to own? This is a complex question, and the answer may also differ depending on where you live. From a legal standpoint, junk cars are treated similarly to abandoned cars if you simply leave them on your property for everyone to see. 

The maximum number of non-operational vehicles allowed on the property is two in most cities if you want to avoid problems with the law, but there are also some locations that allow you to keep only one junk car. For instance, in Los Angeles and Chicago, property owners may store no more than two junk vehicles, while in Dallas and San Francisco — no more than one. 

As for the consequences of breaking zoning laws and junk car ownership rules, there may be such:

  • You may pay a fine that will differ depending on the number of cars and where you live. In some cases, a fine can reach $1,000 or even more. 
  • A junk vehicle will be towed from your location by local authorities if you don’t remove or enclose it on your own. 
  • You may be held liable for costs if someone is injured due to a junk vehicle on your property. 

Should I Leave Junk Cars on Property or Not? 6 Arguments Against

While there are restrictions on owning junk cars at home, some drivers may still ask themselves — should I leave the allowed number of vehicles on my property? Here are the main reasons why it’s a bad idea. 

Environmental hazard 

If you're worrying about the environment, the question "How many junk cars can one residence have?" is irrelevant, as even one can be destructive to nature. A stationary junk vehicle still has some fluids inside that may leak and contaminate the soil or water. Compared to new cars, junk vehicles also produce higher levels of carbon monoxide, which is harmful to the environment. 

Safety concerns 

If your car has been severely damaged, it is also unsafe to leave it on the property. This is especially relevant if you have pets or children running around the yard. A junk car also may be in the way if you have an emergency situation. 

Legal issues 

Another serious argument against leaving junk cars on the property is legal issues. If you have abandoned cars on a territory without proper enclosure, you will soon get complaints from neighbors, and they may call the corresponding services, which may lead to a fine. 

Negative impact on the aesthetic 

Even if you have an allowed number of junk cars on your property, they still ruin the look of your yard if you don’t have them hidden away. You may also get complaints from neighbors. 

Lower property value 

If you are trying to sell your property, you should keep in mind that having junk vehicles on the territory certainly doesn’t add to its value. Potential buyers may not pay much attention to your land if you have scrap cars on it. 

Lost opportunities to earn some money back

A lot of people don’t realize that they can still get some money for their cars, even those in a terrible state. However, when a car is left on the property for years, it will lose almost all of its value. The best option is to sell your car to a professional junk car buyer the moment it falls into the junk category. 

How to Comply With Regulations?

Now that you have the answer to the question, “How many cars can one residence have?” let’s discuss several ways you can comply with regulations. 

Properly storing your junk car 

If you have no more than two junk vehicles, you have to store them away from your neighbor’s eyes, as they might be considered a nuisance. The problem with this solution is that your garage or another space will be constantly occupied with junk cars. Before you keep junk vehicles on your territory, it is best to look up municipal ordinances for storing junk cars in your area

Recycling and selling parts 

Another option you have is to sell a vehicle for parts. While it seems like a good idea on paper, it may take you months to find a buyer if you search for them on your own. Properly recycling a car requires professionals, so you will need to take your junk vehicle to a specialized location, thus paying for it to be towed. 

Donating your car 

Many organizations take car donations, but junk cars are not always accepted if they have been severely damaged. If you have an unused or old car, you are more likely to get rid of it in this way as opposed to one that is deemed a total loss. 

Selling to a reliable junk car buyer 

If you know that you cannot comply with the permissible number of inoperable vehicles on private land and have nowhere to store them, your best option is to sell them. 

When you sell a car to a professional junk car buyer, such as JunkCarsUs, you don’t have to wait around or hire someone to tow your non-driving car. You can sell your car even on the same day, freeing up the space in your yard or garage, getting the Highest Price for your vehicle, and not leaving your neighbors time to file a complaint. 

Consider JunkCarsUs as Your Trusted Partner

If you want to get rid of a junk car, you need a reliable buyer, such as JunkCarsUs. Our company specializes in buying damaged and inoperable vehicles in any condition. With our help, you won’t have to worry about the limit for junk cars on your land and thus won’t run into any problems with the law or your neighbors. 

One of our advantages is that we offer quick and free removal of junk cars right from your yard. In this way, you don’t have to worry about anything or spend money on getting your vehicle to a scrapyard. 

Contact our team, and we will help you get rid of the unwanted car! 


Where can I throw away a junk car?

It should always be thrown away in specialized places. You can either take it to a scrapyard on your own or choose an easier option — sell it to a professional junk car buyer, like JunkCarsUs.

Is it legal for my neighbors to have junk cars on their property?

It depends on the number of junk vehicles they can have on the property in their state. If your neighbor has numerous junk cars that are not kept according to the junk vehicle storage regulations, you can file a complaint to the local authorities.

How many junk cars can you have on your property?

To avoid problems with the law and with neighbors, you have to adhere to the junk car ownership limits and have no more than one or two junk cars on your territory in the enclosed space.

Why do people keep junk cars in their yards?

Some people may not want to get rid of cars in hopes of repairing them sooner or later. Others may keep them for sentimental value or simply don’t have time to remove them from the property.

What happens if you have too many junk cars on your property?

If you have too many junk vehicles on your property without following local regulations for storing non-working cars, you are more than likely to get complaints from neighbors. It means that you will have problems with the law, as it is not legal to have junk cars visible to others on the property in all states. 

Edgar Moulton.


Edgar Moulton. Car Expert

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