Can My Landlord Tow My Car? (Know the Laws & Your Rights)

Can My Landlord Tow My Car

Parking is a common issue for renters, and many people wonder if their landlord has the right to tow their car. Understanding the rights of both landlords and tenants is important in resolving any parking disputes.

In most cases, landlords cannot tow a tenant’s car without proper legal authorization. However, there are exceptions to this rule, such as if the tenant is parked in a fire lane or if the car is blocking access to the building. It’s important to review your lease agreement and local laws to determine what your rights and responsibilities are in regard to parking on the property.

Having the proper insight into this issue is highly confusing, which is why we took the challenge of trying to clarify it for you. Keep reading because you’ll find out when a landlord can tow, what can count as an unlawful tow, and what rights you hold after someone towed your car.

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Here’s a Quick Pro Tip!

Your landlord can’t tow your car without a good reason, such as a violation of a rental agreement or if you parked your car illegally. Examples of illegal parking include parking on a crossroad, on the sidewalk, in front of a gate, and other similar places.

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3. Outdoor Security CamerasLet them get caught! Record the moment when your landlord decides to tow your car illegally. 

Times When Landlords Can Tow

Before we know what to do after our landlord tows our cars, it’s important to understand the laws that may or may not allow your landlord to proceed with such actions. So, let’s debunk this issue below.

Is My Landlord Allowed to Tow My Car?

A landlord is allowed to tow your car under certain circumstances. Most of these circumstances include the lack of compliance with parking policies and other things included within state law. 

A landlord could tow your car if you parked it illegally. An example of illegal parking is parking in front of a fire hydrant or a gate. In such cases, they can call a towing company to remove your car from the premises without a previous warning. 

Can a Landlord Tow Your Car Without Notice?

A landlord can only tow your car without notice if there is a valid reason behind it. Usually, most state laws only allow this when your car is illegally parked within their premises or if you’re breaking the parking policy established within the lease.

This event is most common with shared driveways. Your landlord may have put a limit inside the lease about when and where you should park your car. And, if you go beyond these limits, you risk having them tow your car.

Usually, the best way to avoid these issues is by having the landlord put up a fence or divide the driveway using a driveway divider. However, aside from the above, other circumstances may require your landlord to hand you a two-day prior warning.

Can a Landlord Tow Your Vehicle?

Your landlord can tow your vehicle, but it has to be under certain requirements established by most state laws. The only way they can do it without further legal repercussions is when there is a rental lease violation.

Suppose the lease agreement you consented to established certain parking policies, and you violated them. In that case, the landlord has an absolute right to call a towing company and have them remove your vehicle. 

The same thing happens with guests you bring over. If they park their car outside the property without following the guidelines established within your rental lease, they can have their car towed by your landlord.

Can My Landlord Tow My Car From My Driveway?

A landlord can only tow your car from your driveway if you didn’t comply with the agreement established in the rental lease you signed or if the driveway you parked in wasn’t an allowed space.

Always know your lease clauses and agreements to avoid getting your car towed from the driveway. Keep them in mind always so that you can avoid future conflicts and complications. If you share a driveway, try to get a divider to avoid further conflicts. 

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Can My Landlord Tow My Car for Expired Tags?

Surprisingly, some states allow landlords to tow your car because of expired tags since your car can be seen as if it was abandoned or as a public disturbance. However, other states have established that this practice is illegal.

In this case, your landlord has to give you a prior warning. For example, Texas law establishes that your landlord has to notify you of the issue 10 days before they decide to tow your car. 

In the case of the state of Nevada, your landlord must put a note on your car that states the reason behind its towing. And, if they truly wish to proceed, the car must have a 60-day expired tag. Anything less than that will make it count as illegal towing.

Can a Landlord Tow a Tenant’s Car?

A landlord could tow a tenant’s car if they violated a parking policy they agreed upon once they signed the rental lease. However, they can also tow a tenant’s car if they park illegally on the premises.

For example, you risk getting your car towed if you block gates, a fire hydrant, or a driveway. Since this practice counts as illegal parking, your landlord is entitled to tow your car without prior warning, and the law protects them.

But, a landlord can also tow a tenant’s car if they fail to comply with the agreement in the rental lease. For example, if your landlord allowed you to park in a shared driveway, but you took part of the space that belongs to him, they can tow your car. 

However, these issues can be avoided when there is something dividing your driveway space from his—for example, a chain divisor or a detachable fence.

Can a Landlord Tow a Car Because of No License Plate?

A landlord could tow a car because of the lack of a license plate, but this depends on the state where you live. While some states allow it and even protect the landlords, others choose to protect the driver by making this illegal.

For example, in Texas, a landlord can’t tow a car because a tenant doesn’t have a license plate. And if they do, they have to give the tenant a 10-day prior notice. If they fail to, the tenant has a right to sue them and request compensation for towing fees.

Apartment Complexes and Car Towing

Now that you know about your landlord’s possible motives for towing your car and whether it’s legal, it’s time to see if the same applies to apartment building complexes. So, let’s discuss them below.

Can an Apartment Complex Tow Your Car Without Notice?

An apartment complex could tow your car without notice if they find that you are violating the law or the lease you signed with them. Although, most states require them to notify their tenants in advance.

For example, your apartment complex may choose to tow your car because you violated a parking policy, such as not using your parking tag or because your car is deemed non-functional. The latter means that your car is a disturbance to the building.

Can an Apartment Complex Tow My Vehicle?

An apartment complex can tow your vehicle by hiring a contracted towing company. Although, the reasons they have for towing your car must be valid. For example, if they found that you were violating the rental agreement.

Many apartment complexes have rules regarding how and where you park. For example, your apartment complex can assign you one or two parking spaces and give you specific numbers that will tell you where they are located within the complex.

If you park in someone else’s parking, whether by accident or not, there is a high chance that your car can get towed because it would violate parking policies within the building premises. This can also happen if you don’t use an approved parking tag.

Can an Apartment Complex Tow My Car From My Registered Spot?

An apartment complex can tow your car if they see that you violated a parking policy, even if the car is still within your registered spot. But, the apartment complex has to notify you in advance and comply with local law requirements.

If your apartment complex fails to comply with local laws that regulate when and how they are allowed to tow a tenant’s car, they could be liable. In addition, you can receive compensation for the fees you had to pay when retrieving your car from the towing company.

Can My Apartment Complex Tow My Car for Expired Tags?

Many states allow apartment complexes to tow cars due to expired tags, but others disagree. When considering towing cars, the apartment complex wants to have a free parking space for future tenants.

Apartment complexes will inform you about parking policies when you sign the lease. So, anything that makes them understand that you are currently violating the agreements made in the lease will give them enough reason to have a company towing your car.

But this does not mean that they can do so carelessly. The apartment complex where you live must have a valid reason to tow your car, and they must provide notice. This is so that you have enough time to make proper adjustments before they tow your car.

Can My Apartment Complex Tow My Car for Not Having a Plate?

Whether your apartment complex can or cannot tow your car will depend on the state where you live. Some state laws allow apartment complexes to require their tenants to have registered vehicles, while others simply don’t.

If your state allows your apartment complex to tow your car for not having a license plate, they’ll do it. Usually, a car without a tag or plate is seen as if it was dumped or abandoned, so they’re likely to take quick action. Hence the importance of using parking tags.

Suppose your apartment building uses parking tags and allows you to keep your car in the parking lot despite you not having a plate. In that case, they will usually give you a reasonable amount of time to allow you to renovate it accordingly.

Can My Apartment Tow My Car for Expired Tags?

Your apartment can tow your car for expired tags only in the states where it is allowed. In places where this practice isn’t allowed, they could be legally liable, and you’d be entitled to compensation for the fees you paid while getting your car.

The best way to avoid getting your car towed due to expired tags is by keeping your tags up-to-date. Moreover, there are other circumstances in which your apartment complex may forgive this.

For example, if they allow you to park within their facilities by using a parking tag, and not necessarily the car tag. In such a case, you can say there is certain relief, although you should still make sure that your car is visibly registered.

What to Do After a Tow

Having your car towed can ruin anyone’s day, but there’s no need to worry. You can get it back! Although, there might be some expenses you need to prepare for. So, let’s talk about what to do after your car gets towed.

Can I Sue My Landlord for Towing My Car?

You are entitled to sue your landlord for towing your car if you’ve found out their reason for having it towed is illegal. In such cases, it is highly recommended that you consult an expert attorney who can assist you throughout the process.

For example, you can sue your landlord if:

  • Your landlord towed your car without prior warning in a case where there was no proven illegality or lack of compliance with the signed rental agreement
  • Your landlord towed your car, stating it was abandoned when this allegation was false.
  • Your landlord towed your car without reasonable warning or out of malicious intentions.

Moreover, you may be the victim of tenant harassment if your landlord used this as a way to try to get you out of his property. In such cases, the law protects you, and you shouldn’t hesitate to contact your local authorities.

What to Do if My Landlord Threatens to Tow My Car?

If your landlord threatens to tow your car, you should try to speak to them about the matter and investigate their motives. If the situation can be handled while avoiding conflict, it’s much more convenient. But there are more things to keep in mind.

Perhaps, your landlord is concerned that you accidentally (or willingly) broke your lease agreement by parking somewhere you shouldn’t. Sometimes, talking it out and making a solid compromise to change the situation is all it takes to end the problem.

What Are My Rights if My Landlord Towed My Car?

If your landlord towed your car, you have the right to retrieve the information about the company that took your car and where your car is located. Additionally, the towing company has to ensure that your car is safe and damage-free.

The towing company must ensure that your car isn’t damaged and that the items you left inside them aren’t missing. If this happens, you’ve got to complain to the company through a written letter and expect immediate results.

But, if the towing company fails to comply with your rights, or if they fail to let you retrieve your personal items, you can file a lawsuit. Plus, if it turns out that your landlord towed your car illegally, you don’t have to pay anything.

Regarding fees, certain state laws regulate how much a towing company can charge you. For example, in Virginia, the initial tow must not go beyond $180, and the company can’t charge you during the first 24 hours since your landlord removed your car. 

Can I Sue an Apartment Complex for Towing My Car?

If the apartment complex towed your car illegally, then you are allowed to sue them to get compensation for the damages caused by their actions. However, proving this is very difficult, so it is highly recommended to talk with a lawyer.

If you believe or are sure that your landlord towed your car illegally, don’t hesitate to consult with a professional attorney. They can give you a better insight into what you should do and what you should avoid doing so that you can solve the matter efficiently.

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Related Questions

Can My Car Be Towed Without Warning?

Someone can tow your car without warning only if it was parked illegally or violated a rental lease agreement from a landlord. Additionally, the government can tow it if it’s deemed a public disturbance.

However, some states require that your car must be towed after putting a clear “No Parking” sign around a property, space, or land as a means to warn the driver that they should avoid placing their car in that space.

If someone parks in such spaces, it is highly likely that their car will get towed without warning, and, in the case of government properties, they may face some fines due to a lack of compliance with the law.

How Can I Get a Car Towed From My Apartment Complex?

To get a car towed from your apartment complex, you have to be the building manager or owner of the complex. And you should do so through a contracted towing company that will come to you as soon as you give the call.

You can’t get a car towed from your apartment complex as a tenant. The only one authorized to do that is the manager of the building or the owner. However, if you find that someone is invading your parking spot, you should notify them.

Additionally, the owner, manager, or any other person authorized to do it should comply with state laws. For example, some laws require them to give their tenants prior notice, depending on the situation. Meanwhile, other times they can just do it without prior warning.

Can a Landlord Start Charging for Parking?

Your landlord can’t start charging for parking if they didn’t originally include it in the lease. If your landlord begins to charge you extras without them being included in the agreement, they may violate your tenant rights.

If your landlord violates the agreement by adding extra charges mid-lease, they may be doing something illegal. For example, they can’t charge you for something you previously could use for free, as this would imply a lease violation.

Final Thoughts

Although it’s not pleasing, your landlord can tow your car if you violate the agreements established within the rental lease. Additionally, they can tow your guest’s car for the same thing.

Moreover, some laws may protect you if your car is illegally towed. If this happens, you don’t even need to pay towing fees and may be entitled to compensation.

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