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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    1

    Default Illegal Towing from Private Property

    My question involves a traffic citation from the state of: California

    i'd like to find out if i have a case against my HOA(or/and Property management company) and towing company.

    here is what happened,
    I live in a detached condominium (more like town house) in a gated private community.
    My condo is detached and a single dwelling WITHOUT any driveway in front of my garage.

    I got home late last saturday night and couldn't find any parking space so i parked my car right in front of my garage. (about 2 feet away from my garage door)
    Next day (Sunday) morning around 10 AM, my neighbor knocked on my door and told me that my car just had been towed away.
    i immediately ran outside and started running up and down the streets to look for any sign that contains information of towing company but i was NOT able to find any signage that contains information of towing company. not to mention that the tow truck driver didn't even leave a notification.
    However i found two signs near by entrances reads as below

    "Private Property NO Parking, unauthorized vehicles subject to citation or tow-away at vehicle owner's expense sheriff Dept (555) 555-xxxx"

    "Patrolled by XXXXXX security company (555) 555-xxxx"


    So i called the sheriff dept, but they didn't have my car in their "towed car database" yet, so i called the security company hoping that they might have information on towing company.
    it turned out that a security guard from the security company who patrols our community once or twice a day called the towing company and authorized the towing because my car was parked in the "firelane".
    well, i admit that i violated a parking regulation by parking my car other than designated parking area, and i'm NOT planning to argue that i did not violate parking regulation in front of a judge, but i'd really like know how "in-front of my own garage" can be "fire lane" when there is not even curbs to be painted in red in front of my garage.


    And my interpretation of vehicle code 22658 is that even if someone violates a parking regulation, the property owner (in my case it's HOA) and the towing company must follow VC 22658 and all signage must be compliant with VC 22658 in order to legally remove a parked car from the property, otherwise it's a illegal towing. (please correct me if i'm wrong!)


    my point of arguement will be focused on how HOA/Property Managment and the towing company violated VC 22658 and the towing company conducted a business WITHOUT a proper business license/permit as below.



    HOA/Property Manager
    •failure to have a proper signage containing "the name and telephone number of each towing company" - VC 22658 (a)(1)


    Towing Company
    •failure to have a business license/permit to conduct business in my city where my car was parked and towed from. (i went to the city hall of my city and confirmed the towing company does NOT have a business license/permit to conduct business in my city)
    •failure to leave a notification where my car was towed (not sure if it's required, but the tow truck driver could've easily left a note on my garage door) - VC 22685(I)(1)(A)
    •The towing company is NOT located within 10 mile radius. (the towing company and their yard is about 20 miles from where i live and my car was parked) - VC 22658 (n)(1)(A)



    Thank you all in advance

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    75,396

    Default Re: Illegal Towing from Private Property

    There aren't gaps in a fire lane at every driveway, such that people can park in front of driveways and block the fire lane. Quite obviously, the entire fire lane must be clear or fire trucks cannot pass through.

    If you believe you have grounds to sue the HOA or towing company for statutory violations in order to recover the towing fees, small claims court awaits.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    LA LA Land
    Posts
    9,175

    Default Re: Illegal Towing from Private Property

    Quote Quoting bksky77
    View Post
    And my interpretation of vehicle code 22658 is that even if someone violates a parking regulation, the property owner (in my case it's HOA) and the towing company must follow VC 22658 and all signage must be compliant with VC 22658 in order to legally remove a parked car from the property, otherwise it's a illegal towing. (please correct me if i'm wrong!)

    I would assume it can only be "illegal towing" if they towed it without reason. The fact that they towed by the sign appears to be non-compliant just means that the property owner owes you either double the storage OR double the towing fees.


    Quote Quoting bksky77
    View Post
    HOA/Property Manager
    •failure to have a proper signage containing "the name and telephone number of each towing company" - VC 22658 (a)(1)

    Same as above... If the sign is non-compliant, the property owner owes you either double the storage OR double the towing fees.


    Quote Quoting bksky77
    View Post
    Towing Company
    •failure to have a business license/permit to conduct business in my city where my car was parked and towed from. (i went to the city hall of my city and confirmed the towing company does NOT have a business license/permit to conduct business in my city)

    My understanding is that tow truck drivers and companies are regulated and licensed by the DMV, they also contract with local law enforcement agencies (typically the CHP but it could obviously be any law enforcement agency)... Even if there is such a requirement to get a permit from the city, any fines or penalties for failing to do so would presumably go to the city, but you're free to pursue that if you wish!


    Quote Quoting bksky77
    View Post
    Towing Company
    •failure to leave a notification where my car was towed (not sure if it's required, but the tow truck driver could've easily left a note on my garage door) - VC 22685(I)(1)(A)

    The notice is not given to you, left where your vehicle was or taped on the garage door you were parked in front of, that notice can under some circumstances, be mailed to you within 48 hours.


    Quote Quoting bksky77
    View Post
    •The towing company is NOT located within 10 mile radius. (the towing company and their yard is about 20 miles from where i live and my car was parked) - VC 22658 (n)(1)(A)

    And for this one, you should read the exception under Subpargraph 22658(n)(1)(B) The 10-mile radius requirement of subparagraph (A) does not apply if a towing company has prior general written approval from the law enforcement agency that exercises primary jurisdiction in the city in which is located the private property from which the vehicle was removed, or if the private property is not located within a city, then the law enforcement agency that exercises primary jurisdiction in the county in which is located the private property.


    Question is, did you get your vehicle out... You obviously cannot leave it in storage for 2 weeks and the decide you want to sue the property owner for double the storage fees. Get your vehicle out ASAP!

    Good luck!

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