Florida Private Property Towing Law

Here is the Florida Law regarding private property towing

REAL AND PERSONAL PROPERTY Chapter 715
PROPERTY: GENERAL PROVISIONS View Entire Chapter

715.07 Vehicles or vessels parked on private property; towing.–

(1) As used in this section, the term:

(a) “Vehicle” means any mobile item which normally uses wheels, whether motorized or not.

(b) “Vessel” means every description of watercraft, barge, and airboat used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water, other than a seaplane or a “documented vessel” as defined in s. 327.02(9).

(2) The owner or lessee of real property, or any person authorized by the owner or lessee, which person may be the designated representative of the condominium association if the real property is a condominium, may cause any vehicle or vessel parked on such property without her or his permission to be removed by a person regularly engaged in the business of towing vehicles or vessels, without liability for the costs of removal, transportation, or storage or damages caused by such removal, transportation, or storage, under any of the following circumstances:

(a) The towing or removal of any vehicle or vessel from private property without the consent of the registered owner or other legally authorized person in control of that vehicle or vessel is subject to strict compliance with the following conditions and restrictions:

1.a. Any towed or removed vehicle or vessel must be stored at a site within a 10-mile radius of the point of removal in any county of 500,000 population or more, and within a 15-mile radius of the point of removal in any county of less than 500,000 population. That site must be open for the purpose of redemption of vehicles on any day that the person or firm towing such vehicle or vessel is open for towing purposes, from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and, when closed, shall have prominently posted a sign indicating a telephone number where the operator of the site can be reached at all times. Upon receipt of a telephoned request to open the site to redeem a vehicle or vessel, the operator shall return to the site within 1 hour or she or he will be in violation of this section.

b. If no towing business providing such service is located within the area of towing limitations set forth in sub-subparagraph a., the following limitations apply: any towed or removed vehicle or vessel must be stored at a site within a 20-mile radius of the point of removal in any county of 500,000 population or more, and within a 30-mile radius of the point of removal in any county of less than 500,000 population.

2. The person or firm towing or removing the vehicle or vessel shall, within 30 minutes after completion of such towing or removal, notify the municipal police department or, in an unincorporated area, the sheriff, of such towing or removal, the storage site, the time the vehicle or vessel was towed or removed, and the make, model, color, and license plate number of the vehicle or description and registration number of the vessel and shall obtain the name of the person at that department to whom such information was reported and note that name on the trip record.

3. A person in the process of towing or removing a vehicle or vessel from the premises or parking lot in which the vehicle or vessel is not lawfully parked must stop when a person seeks the return of the vehicle or vessel. The vehicle or vessel must be returned upon the payment of a reasonable service fee of not more than one-half of the posted rate for the towing or removal service as provided in subparagraph 6. The vehicle or vessel may be towed or removed if, after a reasonable opportunity, the owner or legally authorized person in control of the vehicle or vessel is unable to pay the service fee. If the vehicle or vessel is redeemed, a detailed signed receipt must be given to the person redeeming the vehicle or vessel.

4. A person may not pay or accept money or other valuable consideration for the privilege of towing or removing vehicles or vessels from a particular location.

5. Except for property appurtenant to and obviously a part of a single-family residence, and except for instances when notice is personally given to the owner or other legally authorized person in control of the vehicle or vessel that the area in which that vehicle or vessel is parked is reserved or otherwise unavailable for unauthorized vehicles or vessels and that the vehicle or vessel is subject to being removed at the owner’s or operator’s expense, any property owner or lessee, or person authorized by the property owner or lessee, prior to towing or removing any vehicle or vessel from private property without the consent of the owner or other legally authorized person in control of that vehicle or vessel, must post a notice meeting the following requirements:

a. The notice must be prominently placed at each driveway access or curb cut allowing vehicular access to the property, within 5 feet from the public right-of-way line. If there are no curbs or access barriers, the signs must be posted not less than one sign for each 25 feet of lot frontage.

b. The notice must clearly indicate, in not less than 2-inch high, light-reflective letters on a contrasting background, that unauthorized vehicles will be towed away at the owner’s expense. The words “tow-away zone” must be included on the sign in not less than 4-inch high letters.

c. The notice must also provide the name and current telephone number of the person or firm towing or removing the vehicles or vessels.

d. The sign structure containing the required notices must be permanently installed with the words “tow-away zone” not less than 3 feet and not more than 6 feet above ground level and must be continuously maintained on the property for not less than 24 hours prior to the towing or removal of any vehicles or vessels.

e. The local government may require permitting and inspection of these signs prior to any towing or removal of vehicles or vessels being authorized.

f. A business with 20 or fewer parking spaces satisfies the notice requirements of this subparagraph by prominently displaying a sign stating “Reserved Parking for Customers Only Unauthorized Vehicles or Vessels Will be Towed Away At the Owner’s Expense” in not less than 4-inch high, light-reflective letters on a contrasting background.

g. A property owner towing or removing vessels from real property must post notice, consistent with the requirements in sub-subparagraphs a.-f., which apply to vehicles, that unauthorized vehicles or vessels will be towed away at the owner’s expense.

A business owner or lessee may authorize the removal of a vehicle or vessel by a towing company when the vehicle or vessel is parked in such a manner that restricts the normal operation of business; and if a vehicle or vessel parked on a public right-of-way obstructs access to a private driveway the owner, lessee, or agent may have the vehicle or vessel removed by a towing company upon signing an order that the vehicle or vessel be removed without a posted tow-away zone sign.

6. Any person or firm that tows or removes vehicles or vessels and proposes to require an owner, operator, or person in control of a vehicle or vessel to pay the costs of towing and storage prior to redemption of the vehicle or vessel must file and keep on record with the local law enforcement agency a complete copy of the current rates to be charged for such services and post at the storage site an identical rate schedule and any written contracts with property owners, lessees, or persons in control of property which authorize such person or firm to remove vehicles or vessels as provided in this section.

7. Any person or firm towing or removing any vehicles or vessels from private property without the consent of the owner or other legally authorized person in control of the vehicles or vessels shall, on any trucks, wreckers as defined in s. 713.78(1)(c), or other vehicles used in the towing or removal, have the name, address, and telephone number of the company performing such service clearly printed in contrasting colors on the driver and passenger sides of the vehicle. The name shall be in at least 3-inch permanently affixed letters, and the address and telephone number shall be in at least 1-inch permanently affixed letters.

8. Vehicle entry for the purpose of removing the vehicle or vessel shall be allowed with reasonable care on the part of the person or firm towing the vehicle or vessel. Such person or firm shall be liable for any damage occasioned to the vehicle or vessel if such entry is not in accordance with the standard of reasonable care.

9. When a vehicle or vessel has been towed or removed pursuant to this section, it must be released to its owner or custodian within one hour after requested. Any vehicle or vessel owner or agent shall have the right to inspect the vehicle or vessel before accepting its return, and no release or waiver of any kind which would release the person or firm towing the vehicle or vessel from liability for damages noted by the owner or other legally authorized person at the time of the redemption may be required from any vehicle or vessel owner, custodian, or agent as a condition of release of the vehicle or vessel to its owner. A detailed, signed receipt showing the legal name of the company or person towing or removing the vehicle or vessel must be given to the person paying towing or storage charges at the time of payment, whether requested or not.

(b) These requirements are minimum standards and do not preclude enactment of additional regulations by any municipality or county including the right to regulate rates when vehicles or vessels are towed from private property.

(3) This section does not apply to law enforcement, firefighting, rescue squad, ambulance, or other emergency vehicles or vessels that are marked as such or to property owned by any governmental entity.

(4) When a person improperly causes a vehicle or vessel to be removed, such person shall be liable to the owner or lessee of the vehicle or vessel for the cost of removal, transportation, and storage; any damages resulting from the removal, transportation, or storage of the vehicle or vessel; attorney’s fees; and court costs.

(5)(a) Any person who violates subparagraph (2)(a)2. or subparagraph (2)(a)6. commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

(b) Any person who violates subparagraph (2)(a)1., subparagraph (2)(a)3., subparagraph (2)(a)4., subparagraph (2)(a)7., or subparagraph (2)(a)9. commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

History.–s. 1, ch. 76-83; s. 221, ch. 77-104; s. 2, ch. 79-206; s. 2, ch. 79-271; s. 2, ch. 79-410; s. 1, ch. 83-330; s. 51, ch. 87-198; s. 3, ch. 88-240; s. 9, ch. 90-283; s. 839, ch. 97-102; s. 18, ch. 2001-64; s. 5, ch. 2005-137; s. 11, ch. 2006-172.

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11 Responses to Florida Private Property Towing Law

  1. corey on November 11, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    This morning early my car was towed from the street outside of my house. My HOA has put a law in effect that says we cant park on the street. However, it is extremely hard to fit 5 cars on out driveway without parking in the garage, which is full of stuff, or on the grass which looks just trashy. Is there any way we can fight them about this issue, almost everyone on the street has turned their driveway/yard into a parking lot…

  2. Dan Loyd on April 25, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    No one enforces any of the towing laws in place today. Its all a joke, no oversite, no enforcement and no one in charge. The largest organized crime network in the USA. The ability to take your car at anytime, anywhere without reason and its legal. Then just to ignore the laws set up for them to follow. When complaints arise then where do you do you begin and who do you complain to.

    I suggest the lawmakers and enforcers have a great day when you or your family are violated by these hooligans and remember, you were the ones left watching out for the innocent.

    Concerned Father

  3. Benjamin Moser on December 8, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    This is the text of an optimistic letter I will send to predatory towing service:

    Tampa Towing Alliance Main Dispatch
    a/k/a Countywide Towing
    2001 North 57th Street
    Tampa FL 33619

    Re: Complaint of improper removal and probable damage to vehicle.

    To whom it may concern:

    I am the registered owner of a vehicle (2009 Suzuki SX4 AWD, hereafter called “vehicle”) wrongfully removed by unknown wrecker. I traveled to Reflections Apartments (“Reflections”), address 14517 Prism Circle, Tampa FL. I arrived at approximately 7 PM on December 7, 2010. My host informed me that visitor parking was available. As it was already dark when I entered Reflections, I did not see the signage (“Tow Away Zone”) that is posted to left of the entry gate. I entered directly behind another vehicle without stopping. There appears to be no marking or signage indicating that specific spaces are prohibited to visitors, or otherwise reserved for tenants. When I left my host’s apartment, at about 11:30 PM on the night of December 7, 2010, I made a fruitless search for my vehicle. I advised my host what to do and he called a towing company (yours) and quickly determined that my vehicle had been towed. My host drove me to the Main Dispatch office and I paid $225 ($223 was demanded) in order to release my vehicle at approximately 2:00 AM.

    My vehicle requires special towing techniques to avoid transmission damage. Unfortunately it appears the wrecker did not follow them. Based on my test-driving on Wednesday December 8, I have reason to believe that the drive train is damaged. A final determination will have to await an inspection by a Suzuki dealer.

    I expect to be compensated, at minimum, for the $225 fees and for any incidental damage to my vehicle. Please contact me at your earliest convenience so that we may negotiate a fair settlement. If I do not hear from you in a reasonable time, counsel will seek remedy under Florida Statutes 715.07 (4) and other relevant statutes.

  4. Christopher Haines Miles on February 18, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    I am dealing with County-Wide also. They appear to have illegally towed my client’s car. I’m sure by now you have found they have several complaints. My suspicion is that they likely didn’t legally tow your vehicle either. There are several statutes and ordinances which they have not complied with in my client’s case and I would be the same would be true in yours. Strict compliance is generally necessary in order to perform non-consensual towing of vehicles and in order to receive immunity for the tow (as noted in 715.07). I’d be interested in knowing what their response was. However, there is at least one law that sets a maximum of $1.00 (yes one dollar) for towing, and return of the vehicle, if they did not comply with certain requirements. If you have any questions you should contact a lawyer.

  5. Nicole on April 4, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    I was just a victim of predatory towing the other day, and unfortunately was alone with my baby and small child. The towing company is in Orlando/Kissimmee, FL and they are called D & J Recovery.
    I was at a family fun day at a local place of worship, and was parked in the same place as other guests. The tow truck drove by telling us that we have to move, or will be towed. When I moved my vehicle to the place they said to, I went back into the festival. Less than 10 minutes later, I had to leave because my little one was getting fussy. Upon arriving at my vehicle, with 2 crying kids, I see the tow truck driver getting out of his truck and approaching my vehicle. He wouldn’t look at me, and 100% completely IGNORED me as I was asking him what was going on?? I was at my vehicle WELL before he started to hook it up, and he didn’t care.
    Fortunately, I had many friends still near to come and help me out, but still ended up having to pay the drop fee, and my vehicle wasn’t even hooked up to his truck.
    I don’t know how these guys can sleep at night. He was going to leave me with a baby and a small child alone, even though I was there way before he started to tow.
    I believe that they told us to move just so they could tow our vehicles. This is a huge violation, and I am hoping to file several complaints against this ‘company’.

  6. Joy on June 15, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    I was towed from Reflections on Sunday night during the MIami/Dallas game. The company did not comply with at least three of towing statutes and I’ve contacted an attorney. However, I’m looking to get the law changed to that a signature is required to tow a without the owner/operator’s permission.
    JorgieGorgeous@gmail.com

  7. Joy on June 17, 2011 at 11:34 pm

    Update: I finally got a chance to inspect my vehicle, inside and out…I found the person who towed my car left their shirt on my back seat…

    How/why did they enter my vehicle? Is that even legal?

  8. Joy on June 17, 2011 at 11:51 pm

    Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission
    2007 W. Kennedy Blvd.
    Tampa, Florida 33606

    Via Telephone:    (813) 272-5814

    Via Fax:   (813) 272-6288

  9. Jennifer L on July 14, 2011 at 11:51 am

    I own a townhome that has a community parking lot instead of individual driveways; however, we do have parking spaces designated for our home. Yesterday morning, when leaving for work, I discovered my car missing. I found out that it had been towed because my tag was expired-it had expired last month. My car was backed into my parking spot, so the tow company had to be walking around with a flashlight, looking for expired tags. Yes, I know I should not have let my tag expire, but it seems like a total dirt bag move to tow a car for that reason.
    The car was towed by a company called Need Towing in Kissimmee. When I look up their info online, the only thing that pulls up, is the owners home address- which is different from their physical location, the physical location is much further away and is a dirt car sales lot/towing.
    When we went to the tag office to get the paperwork needed to pick up the car, the person that helped us said she heard a lot of complaints about this company.
    I believe the towing company is authorized by the HOA to tow from our neighborhood, but can they just tow it away when its parked in my parking spot, for a house I own?? Is there anything that can be done to prevent this company from going after other individuals in the same way?

  10. Bruce Nelson on September 11, 2011 at 12:55 am

    I had my 60 foot bucket truck towed of a job site at 2am it was after storm delayed were on job site first day set up we started job removing several branches when appx 4:30 pm winds picked up to 50 to 60 mph I came down from the tree I was working on and told my customer that we can not safely work over 18 mph rain or wind we would resume at 7:30 the following morning appx 7:00 am the next my customer called and asked if I removed my truck he said it was not there . It had been towed by Airport Towing at 2 am I called and 109 person told me my truck had been towed off private property and the ransom was $400.00 I paid received the truck back the tool box doors had been pried open the brakes did not work properly and would not steer well I am having it looked at by experts because my life depends on this truck if any can recommend what I should do please call orlandotree.com @ 407-456-1912

  11. Steven Fore on September 28, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    09/28/11
    I have lived at Oakwood apartments for 5 years. They were just bought out by new managment, and they told me I could no longer park my boat at the complex. They gave me 30 days to remove it, but the towing company hauled off my boat right away. The apartment complex told the towing company the boat was not to be towed and to bring it back. That was over 24 hours ago, and they have not yet brought it back. Also, the $160 boat cover is not designed to be used in tow, so I would assume that it is destroyed. I just finished replacing the interior of the boat, and have over $15,000 invested. Does anyone know a good lawyer that can help? please contact me at rocksiuc@yahoo.com.

    Thanks,
    Steven

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