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Ask a Cop: Towing Vehicles on Private Property

Have a question for the Fredericksburg Police Department? Send it to dan.telvock@patch.com

Question: I would like to find out if a vehicle can be towed from parking in townhomes (private property) when the vehicle has plates/registration that is out of date?  I live in a townhome community and we seem to have lots of vehicles popping up in the visitor parking that have dead plates or out-of-date registration.

Answer: A vehicle can be towed from any private property at the request of the owner of such property as long the towing company complies with the locality’s ordinances governing such removal. There need not be any articulable reason for a property owner removing a vehicle, as it is an inherent right of property ownership. Therefore, if the property management (working under authority of the property owner) rules that all vehicles parked on their lot must be properly registered, then vehicles not meeting that requirement can certainly be towed at the request of management.

John Walsh August 14, 2012 at 12:48 PM
To expand on this answer, if you live within the city limits, the city has an inoperable vehicle ordinance. Under City Code Chapter 59, Article 2 it prohibits the keeping of any vehicle within the city limits any vehicle that does not have current tags and a current inspection sticker unless completely screened or shielded from view, or kept within a completely enclosed structure. It takes a little time to get them moved, but if a citizen files a complaint with the city we will send a notice to the owner notifying them of the vehicle that is in violation, and give them ten (10) days to bring it into compliance. If they do not bring the vehicle into compliance then the city will go tow the vehicle at the expense of the vehicle owner. John Walsh, CBMO, Property Maintenance Official, City of Fredericksburg
Dan Telvock (Editor) August 14, 2012 at 01:53 PM
John, thank you for this addition! Helpful and informative.
TPKeller August 14, 2012 at 02:40 PM
Just to add to John's comment, that is a different situation than the private towing ordinance mentioned in the original article. One of the most unfair characteristics of the city's private towing ordinance is that it requires a property owner to enter a contract with a towing company before offending cars can be towed. The ordinance does not spell that out, but it does require that signs be posted with the towing company's name and phone number, so that clearly implies that one must have a contract or arrangement with that company. This is unfair to the smaller property owners, IMHO. There are lots of problems with the city's private towing ordinance, and ironically, the City Council is scheduled to discuss changes to it today in the Work Session and then again later in the regular meeting at 7:30.

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