Though nobody wants their car towed, cities and private property owners do have rights when it comes to parked cars. To decrease the chance of getting towed, it’s important to make sure you know your rights for parking and the rights of those who could potentially have you towed.
Parking on Private Property
If you parked your car on private property, the land owner has the right to have your car towed. There are certain rules around this law that make it a tricky subject to navigate, but it is best to just not park on private property because a majority of the time, the land owner will win the case.
There are certain rules for towing a car parked on private property. The first is that the land owner must have exclusive possession of the land. This just means the owner has full rights to the land and it’s used so if you are parked there, they have the right to have your car towed away. The second is that the car must cause damage to the property. In most cases, an illegally parked car does no damage to the property, but since towing is a large expense, the cost of towing is considered to be an actual damage. The last is that your car must still be on the land. If your car is moved, the land owner cannot hunt you down and have your car taken away from you for having been previously parked on their property.
Some think that if there are no warning signs displayed, they cannot be towed. This is not true. There is no requirement for private property owners to display a sign warning that cars will be towed if parked illegally nor do they have to provide the tow companies contact information. This can be very tricky when trying to figure out where to park and most people assume that if there is no sign that they cannot be towed, so remember that this is not the case and avoid parking on private property altogether to reduce your risk.
If your vehicle is damaged in the towing process you should contact the towing company directly. Often times you can talk to your insurance and they will file a claim with the tow company and help you obtain reparations for the damage done to your vehicle.
Parking on Public Land
The rules for parking on private property are not the same for parking on public land. Only police officers or traffic wardens have the power to authorize the removal of a car obstructing a road or vehicle entrance or causing another traffic problem.
These situation are typically well marked. Aside from the general laws about not parking in front of a road entrance, keeping distance from stop signs, not parking in front of fire hydrants, and other similar rules, the no parking zones must be marked. This is often done with yellow curbs or no parking signs.
Other Important Things to Know When Your Car Is Towed
If you return to your car and it is being towed, you can keep your car, but you may have to pay a drop fee. Keep in mind though that just because you get in your car does not mean they can no longer charge you. They can’t take your car but they do have the right to charge you a fee.
You have access to your car and can retrieve your personal belongings from the towing company free of charge.
You may request a tow hearing at the Justice of the Peace Court in the county which your car was towed if you believe that you have been wrongfully towed. You must request a hearing within fourteen days of when your car was towed.