Community Insider Fall 2017 - Page 8

BEFORE YOU TOW, KNOW THE LAW By: Jonathan D. Massie, Esq. I n most Common Interest Development (“CIDs”), open parking spaces are a limited commodity. An effective tool available to a Board to properly manage parking within the community is towing vehicles parked in violation of the Governing Documents. Vehicle Code Section 22658 allows a CID to tow improperly parked vehicles to the nearest public garage if they meet specified requirements. Section 22658 only allows a CID to tow from Common Areas and not from individually owned spaces or lots. If someone parks in an owner’s deeded space or driveway on their lot, only the owner of that space can authorize such a tow. An important first step a CID should take is to install a sign, at least 17 by 22 inches in size with lettering at least one-inch high, at each entrance to the Association that must state that public parking is prohibited and all vehicles not authorized to park in the development will be removed at the owner’s expense. The sign must also now include: (1) the telephone number of the local traffic law enforcement agency and (2) the name and telephone number of each towing company that the association has authorized, 8 | SAN DIEGO COMMUNITY INSIDER | FALL 2017 in writing, to perform general towing within the development. The sign may also indicate that a citation may be issued for the violation. If the association hasn’t posted signs, the CID may issue a citation then tow after 96 hours has elapsed (assuming the vehicle is still parked within the community.) The CID may also have a vehicle towed if it lacks an engine, transmission, wheels, tires, doors, windshields or other major parts or equipment necessary to operate safely on the highways, after notifying the local traffic law enforcement agency and letting 24 hours elapse after that notice. A tow truck operator must immediately give written notice to the vehicle’s owner of its removal, grounds for removal, the place to which the vehicle has been removed, the mileage on the vehicle, and the time of the removal of the property (See Vehicle Code Section 22658(b)). If the identity of the owner is not known or ascertainable, the tow truck operator must comply with Vehicle Code Section 22853(c) which relates to an officer removing a vehicle from private property. The above is a summary of some of the more important aspects of Section 22658. Given the complexities of this law, CID boards are urged to consult their managing agent, an experienced towing company, and legal counsel to develop a plan of action prior to initiating tows. Jonathan D. Massie is a A careful review of Vehicle principal of Massie Berman, APC, a full-service law firm Code Section 22658 will greatly specializing exclusively eliminate potential challenges in representation of homeowners associations. to legitimate tows and increase Mr. Massie can be reached at (619) 260-9010 or jmassie@ efficiency of managing scarce common area parking. WWW.CAI-SD.ORG