Parking Enforcement Rules and Rights- When is it permissible to tow?
It is well known that parking can be an especially frustrating problem for individuals living in community settings, especially in apartments and condominium associations. Whenever action is taken against wrongfully parked vehicles, there is bound to be an emotional reaction. Accordingly, it is essential for communities to have enforceable and effective rules and regulations in place regarding the towing of illegally parked vehicles in order to avoid potential litigation.
Recently, in the New Jersey Appellate Division case, Husseyin v. Longview Apartments, LLC, N.J. Super. App. Div., a tenant sued his landlord alleging that the landlord illegally towed his vehicle from one of the building’s parking spaces and sought damages from the landlord for the towing of his vehicle. Although the tenant acknowledged that his lease assigned him a specific parking space (#8), he claimed he could not park in his assigned parking space as it was already occupied by another vehicle and received permission from a neighboring tenant to park in his spot (#6). The neighboring tenant’s lease did not grant use of a parking space. Although the tenant acknowledged receiving a Notice to Cease parking in spaces #6 and #8 from the landlord, the tenant stated that the vehicle illegally parked in space #6 did not belong to him.
The landlord filed a motion to dismiss the tenant’s complaint on the grounds that the tenant failed to sustain his burden as to liability and damages. Specifically, the landlord alleged that the tenant failed to present any evidence that he paid money to retrieve his vehicle from the towing company, that he was parked in an authorized parking space when his vehicle was towed, that the landlord requested the vehicle be towed, or that towing the tenant’s vehicle was illegal. The trial court dismissed the tenant’s complaint and the Appellate Division affirmed holding that the evidence established that the tenant’s parking in space #8 was impermissible.
As evidenced above, it is vital for all communities to have parking rules and regulations in effect. These parking and towing enforcement rules must be in compliance with the New Jersey Predatory Towing Act of 2007 in order to tow illegally parked vehicles. The New Jersey Predatory Towing Act has several requirements, including, but not limited to, the display of signs at all vehicular entrances to the property.
If you are a condominium or community association manager or owner, and your governing documents do not contain the express authority to tow, the law firm of Griffin Alexander, P.C. can assist you in creating a Towing Resolution or other parking rules and regulations. Once the rule-specific notice requirements of the New Jersey Predatory Towing Act are met, your community will have a solid legal footing when towing vehicles.
The information in this Client Alert is provided solely for information purposes. It should not be construed as legal advice on any specific matter and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based upon particular circumstances. Each legal matter is unique, and prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.
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