Many associations have asked about using an immobilizing boot (also known as a "Denver Boot") for parking violations. Unfortunately, the use of boot devices is not addressed in the newly enacted Vehicle Code §22658. However, former Attorney General Bill Lockyer published an opinion that argues against their use.
Tampering. The Attorney General's August 12, 2004 Opinion 03-1204 reasoned that since (former) Vehicle Code 22658 did not authorize the placement of a "boot" on a vehicle parked in a private parking lot, doing so would be considered "tampering" under the general prohibition found in Vehicle Code §10852.
Signs. In the Attorney General's opinion, placing a sign at the entrance to a parking lot describing the booting of vehicles would not be sufficient to protect against a tampering violation.
Limited Authorization. The Opinion explains that the Legislature limited the use of boots. Vehicle Code §22651.7 restricts authorization to peace officers and parking enforcement employees to immobilizing vehicles parked "on a highway or any public lands," if it is known that the owner has been issued five parking violations that are delinquent.
Recommendation. Since the Attorney General has concluded that security firms may not use immobilizing boots on private property, the same restriction likely applies to homeowner associations. Therefore, it is our recommendation that associations not use immobilizing boots.
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