How to get a car towed from an apartment

 In Blog

As population density increases throughout Clark County, the need for parking increases. Established suburban neighborhoods and homes usually have a garage, driveway, and on-street parking out front. The closer you get to the urban center, that on-street parking becomes more scarce.

If homes are near the city center, they may need to contend with drivers looking to bypass parking meters. This can be troublesome for a few reasons, such as blocking mailboxes or impeding the views of other drivers. Streets can also be clogged with parked cars, turning a two-lane street into a single lane.

However, no one owns the street. By that, we mean homeowners don’t get to claim on-street parking as their own. According to Washington State law, it’s not even illegal to park in front of a mailbox. Frustrating as heck, but not illegal.

But what about multifamily residences, such as apartments, triplexes, or condos that don’t have designated parking on site? It’s not unusual to see street signs requiring users to show parking permits for certain spots at certain times. Some local laws even prohibit parking for one side of the street in especially dense areas.

In those cases, where it’s clearly marked as a tow-away zone, homeowners are free to alert the police by calling 311 to report an illegally parked car. In most cases (such as an abandoned car), law enforcement will need to be contacted. They will post a notice and if the situation isn’t rectified, towing services will be called in.

When parking problems occur within an apartment complex, things become a little murkier. It’s important to read the rental or lease agreement when it comes to parking. If you do encounter a parking issue, you will call the manager, management company, or other authorized agents to solve the situation, including calling the police.

Tenant Options

This is where it’s important to read the fine print. Apartment complexes want to make their properties as attractive as possible for renters, so providing plenty of parking space is definitely an asset. However, if they don’t provide a solid parking plan as part of the lease or rent agreement, things can get out of control.

Which leaves a tenant out of luck in most cases. Before signing the lease, make sure to ask about parking rules and how they are enforced. If there are issues, is there a specific phone number you can call to report it? Confronting another tenant is certainly an option, but it’s hard to know how someone will react.

Luckily, most complexes have clearly marked signs prohibiting parking in certain areas, assign spots to tenants, and provide some visitor parking. As private property, they can design any kind of parking plan they want. They may even contract with a towing company to streamline the process.

In those cases, tenants still need to alert the appropriate people at the apartment if a car is parked where they shouldn’t be. Whether it’s a designated spot for someone else, in front of dumpsters making them inaccessible, or other areas where parking is prohibited (such as a fire lane).

Property Owner Options

It can get a little tiresome, but apartment managers must think of every conceivable issue with tenants and their parking lots. How long can a vehicle have a flat tire before being towed? Does an RV or a boat count as a vehicle? Will you provide written notices for infractions, or will they just be towed?

It may seem like minutia, but it will save you and the towing company from a potential illegal towing. This could lead to small claims court and a less than shiny reputation. Especially if you need to pay for any storage fees, like if the tenant was charged a drop fee when they were towed.

If everything is in the lease agreement and you were able to provide proof of malfeasance (oftentimes a photo will do), you won’t have to worry about any of it. If it’s a one-time problem, fix the situation and let it go. But a recurring issue needs to be dealt with.

The Bottom Line

If you are being blocked in by another vehicle, your spot is taken, or you notice cars haven’t moved for an unusually long time, contact the property manager. For one, you want to make sure each instance is documented. But most tenants also want a nice place to live without having to worry about constantly fighting over something as simple as a parking spot!

Your spot is your spot, though. If repeated reminders don’t do the trick, it’s time to take action. In most cases, a towing company won’t act on the word of a tenant unless there is a strong relationship with the property. In some cases, they’ll even have a list of license plates and where those vehicles are allowed to park.

The vehicle owner may not be happy about it, but if the proof is there, they can’t really do anything about it. Even if they only went inside for a few minutes. You’re paying good money to live there. You shouldn’t have to deal with these pesky parking problems.

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