Adams Stirling PLC


Starting January 1, 2007, the Vehicle Code was changed so that associations may tow vehicles for parking violations only if at least one of the following conditions has been met:

  • appropriate signage has been posted;

  • the vehicle has been issued a notice of parking violation and 96 hours have elapsed since the issuance of that notice;

  • the vehicle is inoperable and the local traffic enforcement agency has been notified at least 24 hours prior to towing; or

  • the property upon which the vehicle is parked is improved with a single-family dwelling.

Towing Agreements. Associations should enter into written agreements with one or more towing companies (which must be listed on the towing signs) requiring them to comply with the requirements of the Vehicle Code, including:

  • providing notice to the local traffic enforcement agency within 1 hour of receiving authorization by the association to tow a vehicle;

  • immediately giving notice to the owner of the vehicle of the towing, the grounds for the removal, and the place to which the vehicle has towed; and

  • providing a copy of the notice to the proprietor of the facility (such facilities must be within a 10-mile radius of where the vehicle was removed), if the vehicle is stored in a storage facility.

Specific Authorization. Except as noted below, each time a vehicle is towed (i) the association must provide a specific signed authorization to the towing company and (ii) a representative of the association must be present when the vehicle is towed. The towing request must contain the following information:

  • the make, model, vehicle identification number, and license plate number of the removed vehicle;

  • the name, signature, job title, residential or business address and working telephone number of the person authorizing the removal of the vehicle;

  • the grounds for the removal of the vehicle;

  • the time when the vehicle was first observed parked at the private property; and

  • the time that authorization to tow the vehicle was given.

Exceptions to Specific Authorization. Associations may give written general authorizations to companies to tow any vehicle unlawfully parked within 15 feet of a fire hydrant or in a fire lane, or in a manner which interferes with an entrance to, or exit from, the property.

Guest Parking. Associations may tow from common area guest parking spaces, provided the parking areas are properly marked and appropriate signage is posted at all entrances to the development.

Handicap Parking. Any time an association needs to tow vehicles from handicap parking spaces, they need to ensure that their signage and procedures comply with Vehicle Code § 22511.8.

Recommendation: You should have legal counsel prepare towing guidelines in your Rules & Regulations and review your agreements with towing companies. NOTE: The Vehicle Code often changes without notice. Make sure you check the Code to make sure you have the most up-to-date information.

ASSISTANCE: Associations needing legal assistance can contact us. To stay current with issues affecting community associations, subscribe to the Davis-Stirling Newsletter.

Adams Stirling PLC