Clear signs key to private-road rules
PRIVATE-PROPERTY owners have the liberty to impose rules on the land they own, in theory, and this includes traffic schemes on roads within their plot of land, lawyers told My Paper yesterday.
But whether the rules are reasonable will depend on factors like the presence of visible public warning signs, they said.
The issue came into focus after a resident in Jalan Mas Puteh wheel-clamped a car parked on the private service road in front of his home last Saturday, and collected a $500 fee from the driver to unclamp the wheel. A post on the incident appeared on citizen-journalism website Stomp.
Residents had put up signs to indicate that the road was private property.
Mr Lee Terk Yang, a director at law firm Characterist, said it "may not be reasonable" for people to know that a property is private, and abide by the rules for it, if the property owner does not have signs stating so.
Lawyer Chia Boon Teck said: "When a driver enters the private property after seeing the signs, it could be argued that he agrees to and accepts the contents of the signs."
In the Jalan Mas Puteh case, residents own the service road as it is on land they own.
Frustrated with motorists who park on the road and block their way, residents spent about $2,000 to install signs indicating that the road was private property. Some $250 was spent on the wheel clamp, bought from a company that supplies access-control equipment.
Residents implemented their rule after consulting the Land Transport Authority (LTA).
The LTA, in a reply to the residents, said it is "unable to enter the private property for any works", but residents could "gather among themselves and implement traffic schemes that they deem fit".
So far, the $2,000 collected in wheel-clamp-release fees have been used to reimburse residents for the signs and maintenance of the road.
The residents hope that there will be no more cases of illegal parking at their estate, and said that wheel-clamp-release fees collected from now might go towards paying for a fence between the pavement and the road, to make it more obvious that it is private property.
Aggrieved individuals whose vehicles are clamped in cases like the one in Jalan Mas Puteh can bring the matter to court, said lawyers.
"At the end of the day, if the (motorist thinks the residents') demand is unreasonable, he can take it to court to let the court decide whether it is reasonable," said Mr Chia.