Unlawful towing is an increasing concern in rental apartments, and while numerous qualified towing companies follow legal towing practices in line with local codes, some don’t. Illegal towing results in a major inconvenience for the vehicle owner, creating a financial burden, and could possibly damage your car.
Nevertheless, parking enforcement is an excellent way to help everybody live peacefully. After all, when visitors and neighbors live in accordance with the established regulations, towing services don’t make money. Here’s what you need to know about illegal towing:
Reasons for Towing in Apartment Units in Texas
Texas regulates every aspect of towing in private property, particularly from rental apartments, and towing can only take place on grounds stipulated under state law. Therefore, the vehicle you leave unattended in a parking facility should not:
- Obstruct a traffic aisle, entry, or exit of the parking facility
- Prevent a car from leaving a parking space
- Obstruct a marked fire lane
- Leak a fluid that presents a threat or hazard to property or persons
Common Tactics that Lead to Illegal Towing:
- Inappropriate signage
- Inappropriately maintained marked slots, confusing, faded, worn, or totally nonexistent markings
Numerous unlawfully towed victims complain of signs and markings that aren’t placed in noticeable areas, confusing information on the slot or sign, as well as weather-worn information on the sign.
Nevertheless, the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation has a site that delineates citizens’ rights and the penalties for not adhering to the established rules.
What to Do if You Suspect you’re a Victim of Illegal Towing
First, ensure your car didn’t violate any parking rules. These can differ, depending on the particular day of the week or hour of the day. In some instances, private property, for instance, an apartment complex or a business may have rules concerning where and when to park.
Therefore, it’s imperative you contact the pertinent authority’s office and acquire a copy of their guidelines for evaluation. Once you establish that you didn’t breach any parking regulations, it’s possible the fault is with the towing company.
To verify this, research the towing regulations in the municipality. For instance, some states don’t permit tow trucks to remove cars from private property unless the one who requested the tow service is there to witness the removal.
In addition, if there were no signs where you parked the vehicle, clearly indicating the conditions of liability, you shouldn’t bear the liability for the costs. Instead, the property owner should take financial responsibility.
It’s important you take photos or video to support your claim with as much physical proof as possible. Ensure you have a printout of the company’s paperwork indicating the time, date, and grounds for towing your car. Make sure you document your claims in writing if they’re contradictory to the violations delineated in the company’s files.
Towing a Vehicle from an Apartment Complex
Your landlord must provide the parking policies and rules when signing the lease, either as a separate document or as part of the lease. It should read Parking Rules or Parking, be capitalized, underlined, or in bold.
Generally, your vehicle can be towed from your apartment’s parking lot if it blocks other cars, a walkway, or is in a reserved or restricted space.
Parking is a valuable yet scarce commodity in every state. Therefore, numerous property owners use towing as a means of keeping off-street parking accessible for renters and their guests. However, the right to tow isn’t unlimited.
State law gives car owners protections and rights against predatory and unreasonable towing. To protect yourself against the high cost of retrieving a towed car, ensure you familiarize yourself with the fundamental tenets of towing law.
For more information on vehicle towing from an apartment, contact us at Apartment Agents or leave a message.