Can Landlord Tow Your Car Without Notice

In most jurisdictions, landlords cannot tow your car without providing proper notice. The specific notice requirements vary from state to state, but generally, the landlord must first post a notice on your car stating that it will be towed if it is not moved within a certain period of time. The notice must also include the date and time of the tow, as well as the name and contact information of the towing company. If you do not move your car within the specified time period, the landlord can have it towed. However, the landlord is responsible for any damage caused to your car during the towing process.

Landlord’s Right to Tow Your Car

In certain situations, landlords have the legal authority to tow vehicles parked on their property, even without providing prior notice to the vehicle’s owner. The conditions for towing vehicles may vary in different jurisdictions, but generally, landlords can order a tow under the following circumstances:

Legal Authority and Restrictions

  • Unauthorized Parking: If a vehicle is parked in a restricted area, such as a no-parking zone, a disabled parking space, or a fire lane, the landlord can have it towed to ensure safety and accessibility for all tenants and visitors.
  • Lease Violations: When a tenant’s lease agreement explicitly prohibits parking in certain areas or exceeds the allocated parking spaces, the landlord may tow the vehicle if the tenant violates these terms.
  • Abandoned Vehicles: If a vehicle remains parked on the property for an extended period without any signs of use or maintenance, the landlord can consider it abandoned and request a tow.
  • Blocking Access: If a vehicle is parked in a manner that blocks access to driveways, parking spaces, or emergency exits, the landlord has the right to have it towed to clear the way for emergency vehicles and ensure the safety of other tenants.
  • Safety and Security Concerns: If a vehicle poses a safety or security risk, such as leaking fluids, emitting noxious fumes, or attracting criminal activity, the landlord may tow it to protect the property and its occupants.

Vehicle Removal Process

  1. Notice of Violation: In most cases, landlords are required to provide tenants with a notice of violation before towing their vehicle. This notice typically states the reason for the tow and a deadline for the tenant to rectify the violation, such as paying any outstanding parking fees or moving the vehicle to an authorized spot.
  2. Towing without Notice: In certain circumstances, landlords may be permitted to tow a vehicle without prior notice. These situations typically involve immediate safety hazards, abandoned vehicles, or vehicles parked illegally in no-parking zones.
  3. Towing Costs: The costs associated with towing and storing the vehicle vary depending on the towing company and the local regulations. Landlords are generally allowed to charge the tenant for these expenses, and the charges may include towing fees, storage fees, and any applicable administrative fees.

It’s important to note that the specific rules and regulations regarding vehicle towing by landlords may differ in different jurisdictions. Tenants should carefully review their lease agreements and consult local laws to understand their rights and responsibilities related to parking and vehicle ownership on the property.

Summary Table of Landlord’s Right to Tow Vehicles
SituationTowing PermittedNotice Required
Unauthorized ParkingYesYes, in most cases
Lease ViolationsYesYes
Abandoned VehiclesYesNo
Blocking AccessYesYes
Safety and Security ConcernsYesYes

Notice Requirements for Towing: State and Local Regulations

The towing of vehicles by landlords without prior notice is a highly regulated area, with varying requirements across different states and local jurisdictions. These regulations are in place to protect the rights of vehicle owners and ensure that towing is conducted fairly and reasonably. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in legal consequences for the landlord.

State Regulations

California: Vehicle Code Section 22658 requires landlords to provide at least 14 days’ written notice before towing a vehicle. The notice must include specific information, such as the date and time of the intended tow, the location of the vehicle, and the reason for the tow.

New York: Multiple state laws govern towing regulations, including the Vehicle and Traffic Law and the Real Property Law. In general, landlords must provide at least 10 days’ written notice to the vehicle owner. The notice must specify the reason for the tow and the date and time when the vehicle will be towed.

Florida: Landlords in Florida must follow specific notice requirements under both state and local laws. Typically, they must provide at least 24 hours’ written notice to the vehicle owner before towing the vehicle.

Local Regulations

In addition to state laws, many cities and counties have their own ordinances governing the towing of vehicles by landlords. These ordinances may impose additional requirements or restrictions beyond those mandated by state law.

For example, in San Francisco, landlords must obtain a towing permit from the city before towing any vehicles. They must also provide at least 72 hours’ written notice to the vehicle owner and display a prominent sign on the vehicle stating that it is subject to towing.

Avoiding Unlawful Towing

To avoid unlawful towing, landlords should carefully review and comply with all applicable state and local regulations. This includes providing the required written notice to the vehicle owner, specifying the reason for the tow, and obtaining any necessary permits or licenses.

Landlords should also ensure that the towing company they hire is reputable and follows all legal requirements. They should verify that the towing company has the appropriate insurance coverage and that their employees are properly trained and licensed.

By following these guidelines, landlords can help protect themselves from legal liability and ensure that the towing process is conducted fairly and responsibly.

Notice Requirements for Towing — Summary Table
StateNotice PeriodAdditional Requirements
California14 daysNotice must include date, time, location, and reason for tow.
New York10 daysNotice must specify reason for tow and date/time of tow.
Florida24 hoursVaries by city/county; may require additional notice.
San Francisco, CA72 hoursRequires towing permit and prominent sign on vehicle.

Tenants’ Rights and Protections: Due Process and Remedies

Landlords generally cannot tow a tenant’s car without providing proper notice and following the legal process. The specific requirements vary from state to state, but tenants typically have certain rights and protections to prevent wrongful towing.

Due Process Requirements:

  • Adequate Notice: Landlords are usually required to give tenants a reasonable amount of notice before towing their cars. The required notice period can range from 24 hours to several days, depending on the state and local laws.
  • Clear and Conspicuous Posting: Landlords must post towing notices in a visible location on the property, such as near the parking area or the entrance to the property. The notice should include information about the towing policy, the procedure for contesting a tow, and contact information for the towing company.
  • Opportunity to Cure: In some cases, tenants may be given a grace period to correct the violation that led to the tow notice. For example, if the tenant has unpaid rent, they might have a certain amount of time to make the payment before the car is towed.

Remedies for Wrongful Towing:

  • Filing a Complaint: If a tenant’s car is towed without proper notice or due process, they can file a complaint with the local authorities or the court.
  • Damages: Tenants may be entitled to compensation for any damages or expenses incurred due to the wrongful tow, such as the cost of towing, repairs, and inconvenience.
  • Reinstatement of Lease: In some cases, tenants may be able to get their lease reinstated if it was terminated due to the wrongful tow.
StateRequired NoticeGrace Period
California24 hours3 days
New York48 hours5 days
Florida72 hours7 days

Alternative Dispute Resolution: Mediation and Arbitration

If you find yourself in a dispute with your landlord over towing your car, you can try resolving the matter without going to court. Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods, such as mediation and arbitration, can help you reach a mutually agreeable solution. These methods are often faster and less expensive than going to court.


  • Mediation is a process in which a neutral third party helps you and your landlord communicate and negotiate a settlement.
  • The mediator does not decide the case but facilitates the discussion and helps you find common ground.
  • Mediation is often successful in resolving disputes because it allows both parties to be heard and to understand each other’s perspectives.


  • Arbitration is a process in which a neutral third party, called an arbitrator, hears evidence and makes a decision that is legally binding on both parties.
  • Arbitration is generally faster and less expensive than going to court, but it is also less formal.
  • Arbitration is a good option if you and your landlord want a quick and final resolution to your dispute.
ADR MethodDescriptionAdvantagesDisadvantages
MediationA neutral third party helps you and your landlord communicate and negotiate a settlement.-Faster and less expensive than going to court
-Allows both parties to be heard and to understand each other’s perspectives
-May not be successful if the parties are unwilling to compromise
ArbitrationA neutral third party hears evidence and makes a decision that is legally binding on both parties.-Faster and less expensive than going to court
-Provides a final and binding resolution to the dispute
-Less formal than mediation
-May not be appropriate for complex disputes

Well, folks, that wraps up our little chat about landlords and towing. Hopefully, you’ve got a better handle on the rules and regulations in your neck of the woods. Remember, communication is key when it comes to landlord-tenant relationships. Shooting your landlord a quick text or making a friendly phone call could save you a whole lot of hassle down the road. And, as always, if you find yourself in a pickle, don’t hesitate to reach out to a lawyer. They’re the experts in this game, after all. Thanks for joining me on this wild ride, folks. Be sure to drop by again soon for more legal adventures. Until then, keep your tires pumped and your parking skills sharp!