Picture this: You’re visiting with a friend who lives on a busy San Leandro street. There’s no room to park your car outside their home so you take the only spot you can find — in front of a restaurant 10 yards from your friend’s property.
Time rushes by while you and your friend catch up. But when you emerge 90 minutes later, you discover that your car has been towed.
Because you parked on private property for too long. And when you try to get your car back, the towing company asks you to pay more than you expect before they can release it.
If you’ve been in a similar situation, you’ll know how frustrating it is. But it’s crucial to know your rights when your vehicle is towed from private property in San Leandro, whether you’re in the wrong or in the right.
What are your rights when your vehicle is towed from private property?
Property owners have the right to order the removal of a parked vehicle in various situations.
For example, with private property open to the general public (e.g. a restaurant or bar), there’s a one-hour grace period before that vehicle may be towed.
But that’s not always the case. A vehicle can be towed immediately if the driver parks it in:
- A way that obstructs the property’s entrance(s) or exit(s)
- A parking space intended for disabled drivers
- A position within 15 feet of a fire hydrant
- A fire lane
When private property is residential (rather than commercial), the one-hour grace period doesn’t apply. The same is true for hotels or motels in which parking spots are clearly assigned to specific rooms.
Your vehicle may also be towed from a public parking lot if you leave it for more than 24 hours.
However, proper signage warning of these regulations MUST be visible on private property by law. You learn more about this here.
Your rights before you pay fees
Under California law, you’re entitled to do the following before you pay any fees for storage or towing of your vehicle:
- Retrieve personal effects from the car, free of charge
- Gain access to information permitted by law (e.g. Towing Fees and Access Notice) and an itemized payment statement
- Avoid a lien fee if you retrieve your vehicle from storage within 72 hours
What do you need to do if you want to remove a vehicle parked illegally on your property?