Know the Laws When it Comes to Towing Cars Off Your Parking Lot
If you have a brick and mortar business that relies on customers or clients, it goes without saying that you need places for them to park. And when non-customers use your parking spaces, it can affect your bottom line.
It may be tempting to just call the local towing company and move those cars. But be careful, because if you don’t follow Florida’s towing laws, you could be the one that ends up in trouble.
If You Follow the Laws, You’re Safe
The good news as a property owner is that so long as you follow the laws related to legal towing, you can’t be held liable for any damages that may result to any other people’s property, related to the towing. You also won’t owe any of the storage or other fees related to towing and confinement of the vehicle: the vehicle owner will have to pay those amounts.
No Direct Payment
While you can legally call for a vehicle to be towed, you cannot directly pay a towing company. You also can’t legally pay for any third party, like a service, that arranges the towing of vehicles. The towing company is paid by the vehicle owner or whomever gets the car from the towing company.
Notification to Owner
Once you have a car towed, you can bet the property owner will contact you about the location of the vehicle. You do not need to know where the car goes after towing—you can just tell the property owner to contact the local police department. By law, the towing company must tell the local police department information about the towing, including where the car is being towed to and housed at, within 30 minutes of the tow.
Before you tow anybody, you must comply with notice and signage requirements. The words “Tow Away Zone” must be posted on signage, in letters that are 4 inches or larger. The sign must also inform people that the towing will occur at the owner’s expense, contain contact information for who you will call to tow vehicles, and all of that information must be in contrast with the background of the sign, must be reflective of light, and must be at least 2 inches high.
The signs themselves should be 3-6 feet off the ground and must be at the entrance of every access point for whatever lot they pertain to. Signs can be on the curb at entryways, or one sign every 25 feet of whatever area is restricted.
If you have less than 20 parking spaces, the requirements are a little easier; you only need reflective lettering, 4 inches high or more, that says that “reserved parking for customers only, unauthorized vehicles will be towed at owner’s expense.”
Cities and municipalities can add to these requirements and often do. Make sure you know what your city requires, before you start towing anyone.
Customers, clients or employees: We can help with legal problems related to any of them. Call our Fort Lauderdale business lawyers at Sweeney Law P.A. at 954-440-3993 today.