Can an HOA tow cars that are parked on the streets? Many homeowners associations do this to enforce their parking rules and reduce parking violations. However, this choice can be controversial in many communities.
Can an HOA Tow Cars?
The most pressing question for many homeowners is this: can an HOA tow your car? Is it even legal? The answer is yes, HOAs are generally allowed to tow vehicles inside the neighborhood. However, there are a few caveats to this.
Firstly, the governing documents must have HOA towing rules that allow this. The members may contest HOA towing cars within the community if it does so without authorization from the governing documents.
Furthermore, the HOA must consider state law. This is because some laws may influence HOA tow parking rules. For example, New Jersey has a Predatory Towing Prevention Act that requires HOAs to have a towing agreement with a towing company. They must also post signs with detailed parking information. These signs must outline the community’s parking rules and towing fees.
Apart from this, the local government may also regulate towing within communities. Some municipalities will restrict what HOAs can do. Homeowners associations that do not review these restrictions may get in trouble when regulating parking stickers, assigned spaces, and deeded spaces.
Some associations may be allowed to tow unlawfully parked vehicles in a fire lane or within 15 feet of a fire hydrant. They may also be allowed to do this if the parked vehicle interferes with exit and entry points to the property.
Finally, HOAS should hire a dedicated towing company before they tow any vehicles. These companies are often updated on local and state regulations. The HOA may also go through the contract with an HOA lawyer to protect the association.
How Can an HOA Tow Cars the Right Way?
Homeowners associations may be tempted to hire a towing company and let them handle everything. However, the HOA must have a proper policy to create order. Otherwise, they might get into hot water if they accidentally tow the wrong vehicle or tow a car that does not violate any association rules.
What are the best practices for parking rules and towing policies? How can the HOA tow cars without running into problems? Here are some things to consider.
1. Create Clear Parking Rules
If there are many cars causing problems for the community, it may be a sign that the HOA’s parking rules are unclear. It’s best to revisit these rules and clarify them so homeowners are informed. Make sure to include the following:
- The types of vehicles that are allowed to park in certain spots
- Which areas vehicles are allowed to park
- How long vehicles can park in certain areas
- Where homeowners must park their vehicles
Homeowners associations may also want to limit street parking. This is possible to regulate in gated communities, but public streets usually fall under the authority of local law enforcement. If a homeowner complains, “the HOA towed my car on a public street,” the HOA may run into trouble. It’s best to report the parking violation to local authorities in these cases.
2. Create a Towing Procedure
The homeowners association should create a towing policy that includes the community’s towing procedures. This will guide the board when they find a vehicle violating the rules.
The procedure should include a way to verify whether the vehicle is truly improperly parked. Afterward, many HOAs give the violator time to correct their mistake. Towing should be reserved as a last-resort option if the homeowner does not correct the violation within the allotted time.
It’s also best for the HOA to ensure the towing company asks permission from the board before towing any vehicle. They should not be allowed to enforce the parking rules without proper authorization.
3. Communicate the Parking Rules and Towing Policy
Once the parking rules are clear and the towing policy is set, the HOA should communicate both of these with the homeowners. The communication methods can vary and may be dictated by the governing documents. Often, the HOA must send out a notice to all the residents.
However, it’s also best to inform the homeowners through other vehicles. For example, the board can include them on the website, in HOA newsletters, and in emails. Moreover, the HOA should post signs at every appropriate spot. They can also attach these policies to visitor gate passes so visitors don’t get into trouble.
Can HOA Tow My Car Without Notice?
“The HOA towed my car without notice, is that allowed?” Even if an HOA can tow vehicles, this doesn’t mean the board can tow any car parked on the streets. The homeowners association must provide sufficient notice first. They should also obtain towing authorization and notify their local traffic enforcement agency before towing.
Can I Sue My HOA for Towing My Car?
If a homeowner parks their vehicle in a common area and the HOA has the authority to tow, it might be hard to contest the association. However, a homeowner may be able to challenge the association if they don’t follow due process or have proper authorization.
For example, they may be able to protest if the governing documents or state law does not grant them authority. They may also contest if the HOA towed a vehicle on a public street. Generally, the homeowner may be able to go against the HOA if they violate the law or any ordinances.
Strike a Balance
Can HOA tow cars? Yes, they can — but that doesn’t always mean they should. It’s a useful option for HOAs with many parking violators. However, the HOA should carefully comply with the governing documents and state and local laws. They should also follow proper procedures.
It can be hard to navigate the complexities of parking rules and towing policies. A good HOA management company like Elite Management Services can help. Call us today at (855) 238-8488 or contact us online for more information!
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