Thousands of Vehicles Towed Illegally From Apartment Complexes

Everyday, hundreds of vehicles are towed without legal authority to do so and the public has been duped into believing whatever is posted on the tow sign, their vehicle would be subject to being towed, when in fact it’s a SCAM.

The only reasons an unattended vehicle can legally be towed from an apartment complex according to the Texas Occupations 2308.253 is:

(1) obstructs a gate that is designed or intended for the use of pedestrians or vehicles;

(2) obstructs pedestrian or vehicular access to an area that is used for the placement of a garbage or refuse receptacle used in common by residents of the apartment complex;

(3) is in or obstructs a restricted parking area or parking space designated under Subchapter G, including a space designated for the use of employees or maintenance personnel of the parking facility or apartment complex;

(4) is in a tow away zone, other than a fire lane covered by Section 2308.251(c), that is brightly painted and is conspicuously and legibly marked with the warning “TOW AWAY ZONE” in contrasting letters at least three inches tall;

(5) is a semitrailer, trailer, or truck-tractor, as defined by Chapter 502, Transportation Code, unless the owner or operator of the vehicle is permitted under the terms of a rental or lease agreement with the apartment complex to leave the unattended vehicle on the parking facility; or

(6) is leaking a fluid that presents a hazard or threat to persons or property.

(c) A parking facility owner may not have an emergency vehicle described by Section 2308.251(b) removed from the parking facility.

(d) Except as provided by a contract described by Subsection (e), a parking facility owner may not have a vehicle removed from the parking facility merely because the vehicle does not display an unexpired license plate or registration insignia issued for the vehicle under Chapter 502, Transportation Code, or the vehicle registration law of another state or country.

(e) A contract provision providing for the removal from a parking facility of a vehicle that does not display an unexpired license plate or registration insignia is valid only if the provision requires the owner or operator of the vehicle to be given at least 10 days’ written notice that the vehicle will be towed from the facility at the vehicle owner’s or operator’s expense if it is not removed from the parking facility. The notice must be:

(1) delivered in person to the owner or operator of the vehicle; or

(2) sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, to that owner or operator.

(f) This section may not be construed:

(1) to authorize the owner or operator of a vehicle to leave an unattended vehicle on property that is not designed or intended for the parking of vehicles; or

(2) to limit or restrict the enforcement of Chapter 683, Transportation Code, the abandoned motor vehicle law.

(g) A provision of an apartment lease or rental agreement entered into or renewed on or after January 1, 2004, that is in conflict or inconsistent with this section is void and may not be enforced.

A tow company cannot legally tow your vehicle for being parked on the grass, flat tires, backed into a parking space, parked next to a red curb claiming to be a tow away zone, double parked, taking up two parking spaces, relocating the vehicle within the parking lot, if the tow sign is posted farther than 25′ from a public street, the tow sign lacks all statutory language and verbiage, the tow sign is not “facing” you when entering the driveway into the apartment complex, lacks two tow signs if the driveway is wider than 35′ at the street if the respective owners do not receive written notice advising them that their vehicles were subject to being towed pursuant to Texas Occupations Code 2308.255.

If your vehicle has been towed for any other reason than stated in 2308.253 from an apartment complex, condominiums or duplexes, by all means file the TDLR complaint against the tow company’s license, take the required photos and submit them along with copies of the release documents or drop fee tow company receipt, as TDLR will force the tow company to refund your money.

Should you not want to wait for TDLR to get your money, since it takes such a longtime, file the request for a tow hearing and/or file the Small Claims Court Lawsuit for violating Occupations Code 2308.253 against both the tow company and the property management company on behalf of the property owner.

Use the following two court filings by TDLR against tow companies for these reasons so you have a better understanding how your rights were violated.

Download (PDF, 108KB)

Download (PDF, 223KB)

Download (PDF, 171KB)


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