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  1. #1

    Default Towed from My Own Apartment Complex - Personal Property Issues

    My question involves towing laws for the State of: Kansas

    Legally parked/registered/insured/parking decal(it was in the back left when should be in front right) in a marked spot for all residents. Violates nothing in the lease except the right to tow any car with 10 days notice. They put a sticker on the car the 5/23 then towed 5/24. Only 24 hours notice. Also never bothered to leave a note on my door, call me, leave something in my mailbox or anything of that nature since my car is registered with the front office. No reason it should have been towed in the first place. The car is not worth much with front end damage, and since I have a suspended licence I do not drive it. I have it moved by my roomates/girlfriend at least every 2 weeks. I do not want to pay $180 to get it out plus $30/day storage fee. I have the money, but don't see it financially responsible to get my car out since it's not worth much more. However, I do have personal property such as bank statements, pay stubs, legal documents, and various other things left in the vehicle. I tried to talk to the tow truck company owner about signing the title to him, but he was not in today. They also would not let me even view my car without paying the bill in full.

    My two main questions are:

    1. How can I hold my apartment complex financially responsible for towing my vehicle unauthorized?

    2. Am I legally entitled to the personal property that is still in the vehicle? And if I sign the title over to the tow truck company am I still liable for any charges?


    I know a considerable amount about the law having taken the lsat/being a poli sci major, but cannot seem to find a direct answer regarding Kansas.

    I've been looking up information all day. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you for your time in this matter.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    27,824

    Default Re: Towed from My Own Apt Complex/Personal Property Issues

    so, when you asked the complex management about why they towed the vehicle, what did they say?

  3. #3

    Default Re: Towed from My Own Apt Complex/Personal Property Issues

    I went in this morning to request a copy of my lease. Asked for the property manager to call me which he has yet to. After talking to the tow truck company I sent an email to the manager directly asking for a meeting tomorrow and included my phone # for him to reach me(which they already have considering they call me twice a week to renew my lease, but not to tell me they were going to tow my car). So far no word back from management

  4. #4
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    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: Towed from My Own Apt Complex/Personal Property Issues

    when you figure out what the justification for towing you is, you can then start to figure out who might be liable for what. If they have a legitimate justification for towing, obviously, all costs would be on you. If they don't, then they might very well be liable.

    Am I legally entitled to the personal property that is still in the vehicle?
    yes, but getting them can be problematic. Until you figure out if the complex had any justification to tow, I would wait until that time before jumping into getting your stuff back.

    And if I sign the title over to the tow truck company am I still liable for any charges?
    that is up to the tow company. There is no requirement for them to accept your title nor is there any requirement for them to offset the tow charges for you relinquishing the title to them. That would all be a matter of negotiation.

    also understand that as your vehicle continues to accrue storage charges, as long as it is determined that you are liable for the charges, they will continue to accrue until such time the laws of your state allow the tow company to sell the vehicle as abandoned and then you will still owe whatever charges that were not covered by the sale of the vehicle.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Towed from My Own Apt Complex/Personal Property Issues

    Thanks for all the help so far. I do understand that I am liable for the charges if found to be an authorized tow. The apartment management just sent me an email claiming to have considered my car abandoned. Saying they gave fair warning and have not seen the car move for a long period of time(no licence so i don't drive, but do keep an eye on it) It has been driven in the past month, and there is nothing in the lease about towing a vehicle they claim to be abandoned. Im going to nicely try to resolve the situation face to face. Any advice on where I legally stand?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    1,995

    Default Re: Towed from My Own Apt Complex/Personal Property Issues

    Quote Quoting collegekid92
    View Post
    Thanks for all the help so far. I do understand that I am liable for the charges if found to be an authorized tow. The apartment management just sent me an email claiming to have considered my car abandoned. Saying they gave fair warning and have not seen the car move for a long period of time(no licence so i don't drive, but do keep an eye on it) It has been driven in the past month, and there is nothing in the lease about towing a vehicle they claim to be abandoned. Im going to nicely try to resolve the situation face to face. Any advice on where I legally stand?
    I once had an 80 year old neighbor, who owns a car, keeps it in the driveway, comes down to turn the engine on once a week for 15 minutes, but does not drive it anywhere. He keeps the car in case he needs to take his wife to the hospital. His upstairs neighbor does the shopping and gives him a lift when he needs it.

    At one time, I car pool, and my buddy drives me to work, and leave my car in the driveway weeks at a time.

    I don't think for a registered, and insured car, and being a LL, I don't know of any requirement that cars has to to driven around the block once a week, or once a day. I doubt you'll find that in the lease, and if so, not driving it does not make it an abandoned car. The fact that you are not licensed does not come into the equation, as there are other reasons, as I pointed out above, why cars are not driven.

    This is clearly a landlords-tenant issue, and the best way is to check the landlord tenant laws in your state as to where a landlord can unilaterally declare a car abandoned. I doubt you will find it. But if it is unclear, I suggest if you have time, to get hold of your state legislators to help clarify the issue in the state's landlord tenant statutes, perhaps making this a class project for you.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Towed from My Own Apt Complex/Personal Property Issues

    That's a great point just because a car is not driven does in no way means that it is abandoned. Also You're right there is nothing in the lease regarding an abandoned vehicle only if "belongs to a resident or occupant who has surrendered or abandoned the premises." which by paying rent I have not surrendered the premises. Nor does it state it must be driven X amount of times in X amount of time. Thanks for the help

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Towed from My Own Apartment Complex - Personal Property Issues

    so far, nothing you have stated supports their right to tow the car. Unless they can support their actions with something other that an ambiguous claim of it being abandoned, which in itself doesn't even seem to be true, the complex appears to have had no right to tow the vehicle.

    If their rules state there will be at least 10 days notice and they ignored their own rules, I see no reason why you should suffer the injury of having to pay for the tow and storage fees.

    The problem now becomes one of how much they are liable for. You have a duty to mitigate your damages. That means, since you know where the vehicle is, you have the right to claim the vehicle, you have the duty to do so so as to limit your damages. I would contact the management and urge them to do something now. If they refuse or hesitate, you need to get the vehicle back, even if you have to pay for it. Then, if necessary, sue the management for the costs incurred.

    If you refuse to mitigate the damages, it will prevent you from claiming for those damages that were within your control to prevent.

  9. #9
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    Mar 2008
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    Default Re: Towed from My Own Apt Complex/Personal Property Issues

    Quote Quoting collegekid92
    View Post
    That's a great point just because a car is not driven does in no way means that it is abandoned. Also You're right there is nothing in the lease regarding an abandoned vehicle only if "belongs to a resident or occupant who has surrendered or abandoned the premises." which by paying rent I have not surrendered the premises. Nor does it state it must be driven X amount of times in X amount of time. Thanks for the help
    Go, claim your car, and you can ask to be reimbursed for what you are out, you can then try recovery through "small claims", if they refuse. As pointed out to you, you should mitigate damages.

    If you are right on the issues, then the small claims judge would award you the money. If the LL can find a justification, then he can explain it to the judge right then and there.

    There is no way an insured, registered car, where the tenant is paying rent on the parking space can be considered abandoned, only because it has not been driven for a while.

    Otherwise, folks hospitalized for illnesses, or go on a few weeks vacation would find their car's towed, for no other reason than they didn't answer fast enough on inquiries why the car is not moved. Under the doctrine of "quiet enjoyment", tenants are not required to explain themselves. as long as they follow all legalities ( registering and insuring the car, and legally drivable ), and paying the rent on time.

    Read more on "quiet enjoyment":

    http://legal-dictionary.thefreedicti...uiet+enjoyment

    Requiring you to drive the car around the block for no reason is an intrusion on your "quiet enjoyment". This common law doctrine is implicit in all rental agreements, whether it is stated or not.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Towed from My Own Apt Complex/Personal Property Issues

    You all were excellent help. They returned my car at no charge to me, and gave me a $100 gift card to chipotle for my hassle( I'd rather get actual cash, but they offered on top of getting my car dropped back off for free) Turns out there was a quiet enjoyment clause in my lease. I explained that they had no legal right to tow it, and I would pro rate my rent per day for everyday my car was not returned since they were not holding up their end of the lease. I also printed off the paperwork to file a small claims suit. Filled out the required paperwork with all evidence I needed to pursue my case. Boy were they not ready for that. The apt manager immediately got on the phone with the tow truck company. Thanks again for all the support. ExpertLaw is a great website with great people.

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