TOWING - KNOWING YOUR RIGHTS
Eric Glazer, Esq.
June 3, 2013
There may be a group that I dislike more than
developers as far as community associations go; tow truck
companies. No doubt, many of you that are reading this blog
today either had your car or your guest's car towed from right
in front of your home or while legally parked in a guest parking
spot or other proper location in the community. It happened to
me too. To the average homeowner, or owner of a vehicle for
that matter, it appears that tow truck drivers and tow truck
companies operate with complete immunity and have absolutely no
laws that regulate them and their conduct. Believe it or not
however…Florida Statute 715.07 is chock full of provisions that
are designed to protect you from often times over aggressive
behavior of tow companies and their drivers. Here are but a
The law clearly recognizes the right of
condominium associations to tow vehicles and states: the owner
or lessee of real property, or any person authorized by the
owner or lessee, which person may be the designated
representative of the condominium association if the real
property is a condominium, may cause any vehicle or vessel
parked on such property without her or his permission to be
removed by a person regularly engaged in the business of towing
vehicles or vessels, without liability for the costs of removal,
transportation, or storage or damages caused by such removal,
transportation, or storage…
However, Any towed or removed vehicle
or vessel must be stored at a site within a 10-mile radius of
the point of removal in any county of 500,000 population or
more, and within a 15-mile radius of the point of removal in any
county of less than 500,000 population. That site must be open
for the purpose of redemption of vehicles on any day that the
person or firm towing such vehicle or vessel is open for towing
purposes, from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and, when closed, shall
have prominently posted a sign indicating a telephone number
where the operator of the site can be reached at all times. Upon
receipt of a telephoned request to open the site to redeem a
vehicle or vessel, the operator shall return to the site within
1 hour or she or he will be in violation of this section.
If no towing business providing such service
is located within the area of towing limitations set forth in
sub-subparagraph a., the following limitations apply: any towed
or removed vehicle or vessel must be stored at a site within a
20-mile radius of the point of removal in any county of 500,000
population or more, and within a 30-mile radius of the point of
removal in any county of less than 500,000 population.
The police must be notified within 30 minutes
after completion of such towing or removal. A person in the
process of towing or removing a vehicle or vessel from the
premises or parking lot in which the vehicle or vessel is not
lawfully parked must stop when a person seeks the return of the
vehicle or vessel. The vehicle or vessel must be returned upon
the payment of a reasonable service fee.
Notice must be posted meeting the following
a. The notice must be prominently placed at
each driveway access or curb cut allowing vehicular access to
the property, within 5 feet from the public right-of-way line.
If there are no curbs or access barriers, the signs must be
posted not less than one sign for each 25 feet of lot frontage.
b. The notice must clearly indicate, in not
less than 2-inch high, light-reflective letters on a contrasting
background, that unauthorized vehicles will be towed away at the
owner’s expense. The words “tow-away zone” must be included on
the sign in not less than 4-inch high letters.
c. The notice must also provide the name and
current telephone number of the person or firm towing or
removing the vehicles or vessels.
d. The sign structure containing the required
notices must be permanently installed with the words “tow-away
zone” not less than 3 feet and not more than 6 feet above ground
level and must be continuously maintained on the property for
not less than 24 hours prior to the towing or removal of any
vehicles or vessels.
e. The local government may require
permitting and inspection of these signs prior to any towing or
removal of vehicles or vessels being authorized.
When a vehicle or vessel has been towed or
removed it must be released to its owner or custodian within one
hour after requested. Any vehicle or vessel owner or agent shall
have the right to inspect the vehicle or vessel before accepting
its return, and no release or waiver of any kind which would
release the person or firm towing the vehicle or vessel from
liability for damages noted by the owner or other legally
authorized person at the time of the redemption may be required
from any vehicle or vessel owner, custodian, or agent as a
condition of release of the vehicle or vessel to its owner. A
detailed, signed receipt showing the legal name of the company
or person towing or removing the vehicle or vessel must be given
to the person paying towing or storage charges at the time of
payment, whether requested or not.
Although reading today's blog won't keep you
from getting towed, if you are, you now know your rights and are
a force to be reckoned with on that inevitable day when you're
late for work, grab your car keys, run out the front door and
jump into your……….wait a minute. Where the #$%@& is my car?
Any towing horror stories? Let's hear em.