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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    21

    Default HOA Threaten Tow on Public Street Based on 'Suspicious Vehicle'

    My question involves towing laws for the State of: California

    Does a local neighborhood HOA have the power to initiate a tow at will from a public street? I came home tonight to find a homemade printout from the HOA on my windshield, warning that my car has been reported to the local PD as a 'suspicious vehicle' (even though it's been parked there on and off for weeks) and that it will be towed at my expense. I am not a member of this HOA, but live in the next street (this is the closest street parking available to me). This neighborhood is not a condo, but a residential neighborhood where people park on the streets all the time.

    The car is properly registered/plated with no violations on record.

    Is this legal? Note that the car gets driven/moved every other day (definitely within 72 hours).

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Oklahoma
    Posts
    695

    Default Re: HOA Threaten Tow on Public Street Based on 'Suspicious Vehicle'

    As long as you are not violating any local tow laws then the HOA can't have you towed just because they don't like you parking on the street. If they call the police, and if the police respond (suspicious vehicle calls are not on the top of the list) they will run the tag, find out its registered to a local person, and drop it at that.

    If you want to be picky about it you can send the HOA a certified letter stating that parking on a public street is legal and not a towable action. Any action on their part to report your vehicle as "suspicious vehicle" may result in legal action. Give them a description of your vehicle in the letter. If the HOA manages to get your vehicle towed you can file a civil suit to recover damages, and file a complaint for a false report.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    20,594

    Default Re: HOA Threaten Tow on Public Street Based on 'Suspicious Vehicle'

    Quote Quoting antrc170
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    If the HOA manages to get your vehicle towed you can file a civil suit to recover damages, and file a complaint for a false report.
    I can't see how they could get it towed at all unless the development is private and subject to the rules of the HOA. In such a case, the police would not be involved in towing at all.

    Perhaps just send a note back to the HOA informing them that the vehicle is not "suspicious" and it, in fact, belongs to you. Perhaps you can also thank them for their concern and watching out for the neighborhood ... you can be snarky and complimentary at the same time.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    21

    Default Re: HOA Threaten Tow on Public Street Based on 'Suspicious Vehicle'

    Quote Quoting cdwjava
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    I can't see how they could get it towed at all unless the development is private and subject to the rules of the HOA. In such a case, the police would not be involved in towing at all.
    In such cases there should be signage posted for legal reasons right? I do not see any such signage but I will check again.

    I would love to contact the HOA , but unfortunately they did not leave any contact info. Google search came up with nothing.

    I suspect this is more a case of vigilante parking enforcement. Several cars near me also received 'reported to the local PD' notes in recent days. Some are clearly visitors coming for the weekend/overnight.

    Wouldn't the local PD get annoyed with every unfamiliar parked vehicle called in as 'suspicious'?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    20,594

    Default Re: HOA Threaten Tow on Public Street Based on 'Suspicious Vehicle'

    Quote Quoting LBaker
    View Post
    In such cases there should be signage posted for legal reasons right? I do not see any such signage but I will check again.
    There should be signage indicating that the property is private and not open to the public, but these developments are not all that common.

    Wouldn't the local PD get annoyed with every unfamiliar parked vehicle called in as 'suspicious'?
    They might. But, if they receive a call and have the resources to respond, they will. If they can identify a caller and eventually get tired of responding they might ask the caller to knock it off, but there is little they can do to prevent the call from being made.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    21

    Default Re: HOA Threaten Tow on Public Street Based on 'Suspicious Vehicle'

    I checked and there are no private road/development signs. It looks like every other suburban public street and there are many vehicles parked on it.

    Should I be pro-active and talk to the local PD about it? I really don't want to find my vehicle towed one morning due to someone's 'suspicion' and telling the police who knows what.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    20,594

    Default Re: HOA Threaten Tow on Public Street Based on 'Suspicious Vehicle'

    Quote Quoting LBaker
    View Post
    I checked and there are no private road/development signs. It looks like every other suburban public street and there are many vehicles parked on it.

    Should I be pro-active and talk to the local PD about it? I really don't want to find my vehicle towed one morning due to someone's 'suspicion' and telling the police who knows what.
    You can certainly ask them about it, but the police are not going to tow a car from the street for no reason. They might tag it for tow if it doesn't move over a certain period of time (usually 72 or 120 hours by most ordinances), but you should have a tag on it if they intend to tow it.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    1,995

    Default Re: HOA Threaten Tow on Public Street Based on 'Suspicious Vehicle'

    Quote Quoting LBaker
    View Post
    I checked and there are no private road/development signs. It looks like every other suburban public street and there are many vehicles parked on it.

    Should I be pro-active and talk to the local PD about it? I really don't want to find my vehicle towed one morning due to someone's 'suspicion' and telling the police who knows what.
    Don't you have representatives like a city alderman, or state assemblyman that you can call?? These people offer constituent services that few people seem to bother to take advantage of.

    I was talking to a co-worker at work some time ago about problems on my street, garbage not picked up, construction sites spilling cement all over blowing onto windshields where you can't scrape the thing off in the morning. Half a dozen neighbors called the mayor's office, police, fire, sanitation, and the reaction they got was "why are you bothering us. Don't you know we got things to do"??

    Guess who's waiting for these calls?? My local councilman. All the neighbors complained that a local crew would refuse to pick up a pail of garbage if it's too heavy, and if you call sanitation headquarters, the reaction was "you got to be kidding calling about this".

    And what did my councilman do when I called him?? His office called sanitation, and they sent a truck the next day (not regular pickup) just to pick up my can of garbage, with an inspector coming separately to verify. Then the councilman's office called back to make sure the garbage was picked up.

    Where I live, there's been neighborhood disputes where they DO NOT want OTHERS parking on THEIR streets, in front of their homes etc, so people had resorted to placing threatening notes on windshields, orange cones on the streets, garbage cans etc. to claim spaces, and it got to the point when the authorities felt that some action or legislation is necessary.

    I find when complaint are bought to your local representatives, which is the proper place to bring these matters, then you are dealing with people with the time, and authority to deal with these issues, not the local police precinct where they have enough to deal with, and doesn't need to deal with nuisance complaints about people hogging parking spaces.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    21

    Default Re: HOA Threaten Tow on Public Street Based on 'Suspicious Vehicle'

    Thanks for the suggestion SChinFChin.

    Well today I found a 'this vehicle will be towed after 72 hours' day-glo orange sticker from the local PD on my window, after parking there half a day (not yet overnight). I even left a note on my dash letting them know I'm an area resident (with my cell #), guess the officer doesn't care.

    Somebody really doesn't want me/us parking there.

    Quote Quoting SChinFChin
    View Post
    Where I live, there's been neighborhood disputes where they DO NOT want OTHERS parking on THEIR streets, in front of their homes etc, so people had resorted to placing threatening notes on windshields, orange cones on the streets, garbage cans etc. to claim spaces, and it got to the point when the authorities felt that some action or legislation is necessary.
    How was it resolved? I'm not even parked in front of the homes by the way. I purposely avoided that out of respect for the home owners. I'm parked at the end of the street.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    1,995

    Default Re: HOA Threaten Tow on Public Street Based on 'Suspicious Vehicle'

    Quote Quoting LBaker
    View Post
    Thanks for the suggestion SChinFChin.

    Well today I found a 'this vehicle will be towed after 72 hours' day-glo orange sticker from the local PD on my window, after parking there half a day (not yet overnight). I even left a note on my dash letting them know I'm an area resident (with my cell #), guess the officer doesn't care.

    Somebody really doesn't want me/us parking there.



    How was it resolved? I'm not even parked in front of the homes by the way. I purposely avoided that out of respect for the home owners. I'm parked at the end of the street.
    One nice thing I know getting hold of the local alderman is normally they are up on the local codes, as they are the ones who writes them in the first place. If you are in violation of any local codes as far as parking goes, and you can't figure out what it is from the street signs, then they can explain it to you.

    In my dad's neighborhood, he can legally call and have a car towed if the local PD first cites the car first, and code section that you are violating would be on the citation.

    And in a neighboring community, the PD has been hassling residents on parking, the citizens called their councilman, and he asked the PD to put a stop to it pending some legislation he is introducing the fix a minor technicality. Because a councilman can do this, and the local PD cannot, that's why it's better if you can get hold of your local legislator to find out what's going on.

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