Florida Private Property Towing Law
Below is the Florida Law regarding private property towing.
REAL AND PERSONAL PROPERTY Chapter 715
PROPERTY: GENERAL PROVISIONS View Entire Chapter
715.07 Vehicles or vessels parked on private property; towing.–
(1) As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Vehicle” means any mobile item which normally uses wheels, whether motorized or not.
(b) “Vessel” means every description of watercraft, barge, and airboat used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water, other than a seaplane or a “documented vessel” as defined in s. 327.02(9).
(2) The owner or lessee of real property, or any person authorized by the owner or lessee, which person may be the designated representative of the condominium association if the real property is a condominium, may cause any vehicle or vessel parked on such property without her or his permission to be removed by a person regularly engaged in the business of towing vehicles or vessels, without liability for the costs of removal, transportation, or storage or damages caused by such removal, transportation, or storage, under any of the following circumstances:
(a) The towing or removal of any vehicle or vessel from private property without the consent of the registered owner or other legally authorized person in control of that vehicle or vessel is subject to strict compliance with the following conditions and restrictions:
1.a. Any towed or removed vehicle or vessel must be stored at a site within a 10-mile radius of the point of removal in any county of 500,000 population or more, and within a 15-mile radius of the point of removal in any county of less than 500,000 population. That site must be open for the purpose of redemption of vehicles on any day that the person or firm towing such vehicle or vessel is open for towing purposes, from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and, when closed, shall have prominently posted a sign indicating a telephone number where the operator of the site can be reached at all times. Upon receipt of a telephoned request to open the site to redeem a vehicle or vessel, the operator shall return to the site within 1 hour or she or he will be in violation of this section.
b. If no towing business providing such service is located within the area of towing limitations set forth in sub-subparagraph a., the following limitations apply: any towed or removed vehicle or vessel must be stored at a site within a 20-mile radius of the point of removal in any county of 500,000 population or more, and within a 30-mile radius of the point of removal in any county of less than 500,000 population.
2. The person or firm towing or removing the vehicle or vessel shall, within 30 minutes after completion of such towing or removal, notify the municipal police department or, in an unincorporated area, the sheriff, of such towing or removal, the storage site, the time the vehicle or vessel was towed or removed, and the make, model, color, and license plate number of the vehicle or description and registration number of the vessel and shall obtain the name of the person at that department to whom such information was reported and note that name on the trip record.
3. A person in the process of towing or removing a vehicle or vessel from the premises or parking lot in which the vehicle or vessel is not lawfully parked must stop when a person seeks the return of the vehicle or vessel. The vehicle or vessel must be returned upon the payment of a reasonable service fee of not more than one-half of the posted rate for the towing or removal service as provided in subparagraph 6. The vehicle or vessel may be towed or removed if, after a reasonable opportunity, the owner or legally authorized person in control of the vehicle or vessel is unable to pay the service fee. If the vehicle or vessel is redeemed, a detailed signed receipt must be given to the person redeeming the vehicle or vessel.
4. A person may not pay or accept money or other valuable consideration for the privilege of towing or removing vehicles or vessels from a particular location.
5. Except for property appurtenant to and obviously a part of a single-family residence, and except for instances when notice is personally given to the owner or other legally authorized person in control of the vehicle or vessel that the area in which that vehicle or vessel is parked is reserved or otherwise unavailable for unauthorized vehicles or vessels and that the vehicle or vessel is subject to being removed at the owner’s or operator’s expense, any property owner or lessee, or person authorized by the property owner or lessee, prior to towing or removing any vehicle or vessel from private property without the consent of the owner or other legally authorized person in control of that vehicle or vessel, must post a notice meeting the following requirements:
a. The notice must be prominently placed at each driveway access or curb cut allowing vehicular access to the property, within 5 feet from the public right-of-way line. If there are no curbs or access barriers, the signs must be posted not less than one sign for each 25 feet of lot frontage.
b. The notice must clearly indicate, in not less than 2-inch high, light-reflective letters on a contrasting background, that unauthorized vehicles will be towed away at the owner’s expense. The words “tow-away zone” must be included on the sign in not less than 4-inch high letters.
c. The notice must also provide the name and current telephone number of the person or firm towing or removing the vehicles or vessels.
d. The sign structure containing the required notices must be permanently installed with the words “tow-away zone” not less than 3 feet and not more than 6 feet above ground level and must be continuously maintained on the property for not less than 24 hours prior to the towing or removal of any vehicles or vessels.
e. The local government may require permitting and inspection of these signs prior to any towing or removal of vehicles or vessels being authorized.
f. A business with 20 or fewer parking spaces satisfies the notice requirements of this subparagraph by prominently displaying a sign stating “Reserved Parking for Customers Only Unauthorized Vehicles or Vessels Will be Towed Away At the Owner’s Expense” in not less than 4-inch high, light-reflective letters on a contrasting background.
g. A property owner towing or removing vessels from real property must post notice, consistent with the requirements in sub-subparagraphs a.-f., which apply to vehicles, that unauthorized vehicles or vessels will be towed away at the owner’s expense.
A business owner or lessee may authorize the removal of a vehicle or vessel by a towing company when the vehicle or vessel is parked in such a manner that restricts the normal operation of business; and if a vehicle or vessel parked on a public right-of-way obstructs access to a private driveway the owner, lessee, or agent may have the vehicle or vessel removed by a towing company upon signing an order that the vehicle or vessel be removed without a posted tow-away zone sign.
6. Any person or firm that tows or removes vehicles or vessels and proposes to require an owner, operator, or person in control of a vehicle or vessel to pay the costs of towing and storage prior to redemption of the vehicle or vessel must file and keep on record with the local law enforcement agency a complete copy of the current rates to be charged for such services and post at the storage site an identical rate schedule and any written contracts with property owners, lessees, or persons in control of property which authorize such person or firm to remove vehicles or vessels as provided in this section.
7. Any person or firm towing or removing any vehicles or vessels from private property without the consent of the owner or other legally authorized person in control of the vehicles or vessels shall, on any trucks, wreckers as defined in s. 713.78(1)(c), or other vehicles used in the towing or removal, have the name, address, and telephone number of the company performing such service clearly printed in contrasting colors on the driver and passenger sides of the vehicle. The name shall be in at least 3-inch permanently affixed letters, and the address and telephone number shall be in at least 1-inch permanently affixed letters.
8. Vehicle entry for the purpose of removing the vehicle or vessel shall be allowed with reasonable care on the part of the person or firm towing the vehicle or vessel. Such person or firm shall be liable for any damage occasioned to the vehicle or vessel if such entry is not in accordance with the standard of reasonable care.
9. When a vehicle or vessel has been towed or removed pursuant to this section, it must be released to its owner or custodian within one hour after requested. Any vehicle or vessel owner or agent shall have the right to inspect the vehicle or vessel before accepting its return, and no release or waiver of any kind which would release the person or firm towing the vehicle or vessel from liability for damages noted by the owner or other legally authorized person at the time of the redemption may be required from any vehicle or vessel owner, custodian, or agent as a condition of release of the vehicle or vessel to its owner. A detailed, signed receipt showing the legal name of the company or person towing or removing the vehicle or vessel must be given to the person paying towing or storage charges at the time of payment, whether requested or not.
(b) These requirements are minimum standards and do not preclude enactment of additional regulations by any municipality or county including the right to regulate rates when vehicles or vessels are towed from private property.
(3) This section does not apply to law enforcement, firefighting, rescue squad, ambulance, or other emergency vehicles or vessels that are marked as such or to property owned by any governmental entity.
(4) When a person improperly causes a vehicle or vessel to be removed, such person shall be liable to the owner or lessee of the vehicle or vessel for the cost of removal, transportation, and storage; any damages resulting from the removal, transportation, or storage of the vehicle or vessel; attorney’s fees; and court costs.
(5)(a) Any person who violates subparagraph (2)(a)2. or subparagraph (2)(a)6. commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(b) Any person who violates subparagraph (2)(a)1., subparagraph (2)(a)3., subparagraph (2)(a)4., subparagraph (2)(a)7., or subparagraph (2)(a)9. commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
Jacksonville, FL Traffic Code
Sec. 804.1301. – Definitions.
(a) City as used herein shall refer to the City of Jacksonville.
(b) Property owner shall mean that person who exercises dominion and control over the real property, including, but not limited to, the legal title-holder, lessee, a resident manager, a property manager or other agent who has legal authority to bind the owner. A person providing a towing service may not be appointed as an agent for a property owner.
(c) Tow shall mean to haul, carry, pull along, or otherwise transport or remove a motor vehicle by means of another vehicle.
(d) Towing service shall include any person, company, corporation or other entity whether licensed or not, who engages in or who owns or operates a business which engages, in whole or in part, in the towing or removal of motor vehicles for compensation.
(e) Trespass towing shall mean towing or removal of a vehicle, without the consent of the vehicle’s owner or operator, that is parked on private real property.
(f) Storage sites or storage yards shall comply with all Jacksonville Ordinance Code provisions including but not limited to Sections 656.322 and 656.323, Ordinance Code, as may be amended from time to time.
(g) Contract towing is defined as a situation where a contract between a property owner and a towing service exists, and the contracted towing service subsequently subcontracts for special equipment and/or an operator to aid in the removal of any vehicle, boat, truck or piece of equipment from the subject property. Any vehicle, boat, truck or piece of equipment towed under such a subcontract must be invoiced and stored by the towing service that has the contract with the property owner, and must be stored at the location noted on the Tow-away signs posted on the subject property.
(Ord. 2004-1374-E, § 2; Ord. 2008-166-E, § 2)
Sec. 804.1302. – Towing of vehicles for compensation.
No towing service shall tow or otherwise transport a vehicle for compensation when the point of origin of the tow or transportation is within the jurisdictional limits of City of Jacksonville without complying with the requirements of F.S. Chs. 713 and 715, and the provisions of this Chapter where applicable. All documentation, required by Florida Statutes or the Jacksonville Municipal Ordinance Code, including, but not limited to, tow away authorization forms, notices of claims of lien and correspondence, shall be retained within the jurisdictional limits of the City of Jacksonville.
(Ord. 2004-1374-E, § 2; Ord. 2009-700-E, § 1)
Sec. 804.1303. – Prerequisites to trespass towing from private property.
(a) Prior to the trespass towing of any vehicle, the property owner of the real property and the towing service shall have executed a written agreement which shall at a minimum contain the following provisions:
(1) The name and address of the property owner requesting the towing services;
(2) The location and description of the property from which the vehicle(s) will be towed;
(3) The duration of the agreement;
(4) The time of day that such towing is authorized;
(5) The days of the week that such towing is authorized;
(6) An enumerated list of all current fees set by the City to be charged to either the property owner or vehicle owner/operator;
(7) The address and description of the location where the vehicle will be towed/stored with verification that the storage site is authorized under Sections 656.322 and 656.323, Ordinance Code, as may be amended from time to time. Said storage site shall be located within a ten-mile radius from where the tow originates; and
(8) The signature of both the property owner and the owner, or an authorized representative of the towing service, certifying that each has read and is in compliance with the provisions of F.S. § 715.07 and the provisions of this Chapter. The property owner, or an authorized representative or agent thereof must be present at the time of towing and must sign the authorization at that time. For the purposes of this subsection, no person employed by, or affiliated with the towing service may act as the property owner’s representative or agent. No pre-approved blank forms or post-approved blank forms are permitted, and use of same shall constitute a violation under this chapter.
(9) A Tow-away sign must provide only one name, address, and current telephone number of the person or firm authorized to tow from that location. The vehicle shall only be towed to the address posted on the sign. Signs shall be posted within a ten-miles radius from the posted address of the tow business and or lot to which the subject vehicle could be towed.
The above requirement of a written agreement shall not apply to the removal of vehicles from property appurtenant to and obviously part of a single-family residence or where the vehicle is parked in such a way as to obstruct access to private entrances, exits, drives or loading areas.
(b) Prior to the trespass towing of any vehicle, a copy of the executed agreement described in paragraph (1) above, shall be filed by the towing service with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Vehicle Storage and Recovery Unit. Said agreements shall be nontransferable. The towing service shall be responsible for advising the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Vehicle Storage and Recovery Unit within two business days of any changes, amendments, or modifications to, or rescissions of, these agreements.
(c) No towing service shall tow a vehicle located within the City of Jacksonville unless the towing service shall file and keep on record with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office a complete copy of the current rates charged for the towing and storage of towed vehicles.
(d) No towing service shall pay or rebate money, or solicit or offer the payment or rebate of money or other valuable consideration, to property owners for the right to engage in trespass towing from any property.
(e) Any towing service operating within the City of Jacksonville shall, within 30 minutes of the completion of any trespass tow, notify the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office of the towing; the storage site; the time the vehicle was towed or removed; the make, model, year, color, vehicle identification number (VIN), and license plate number of the vehicle; and, shall obtain the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office case number assigned to the case.
(f) All vehicles towed shall be towed directly to the storage site owned or leased by the towing service and the vehicle shall not be kept in any temporary holding area.
(g) Each towing service shall staff or monitor its telephone at all times and immediately advise any vehicle owner or authorized representative who calls by telephone prior to arriving at the storage site of the following:
(1) Each and every document or other item which must be produced to retrieve the vehicle;
(2) The exact charges as of the time of the telephone call, and the rate at which charges will accumulate thereafter;
(3) The acceptable methods of payment; and
(4) That the vehicle can be picked up within one hour of request.
(h) Towing services shall provide a written bill at the request of the owner or operator of a vehicle detailing the charges to date.
(i) Towing services shall provide, at the time of payment, a written receipt for all charges imposed and received from the owner or operator of a vehicle resulting from the towing of a vehicle. Said receipt shall include at a minimum:
(1) The date, time and location of the tow;
(2) The total charges listed individually and specifically; and
(3) The date and time of payment of the charges.
(j) The towing service shall prepare and maintain a tow data sheet which shall include, but not be limited to, the following information:
(1) The name of the towing service and person providing the service;
(2) The location from which the vehicle was towed;
(3) Date and time the tow was initiated;
(4) The destination to which the vehicle was taken;
(5) The description of the vehicle including the make, model, year, color, vehicle identification number, and license plate number;
(6) The time and date the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office was contacted by the towing service;
(7) The description of the services rendered including an itemized list of all charges; and
(8) The date and time the vehicle was returned to the owner and the identity of that owner.
(k) All towing services shall keep all such tow sheets on file for a period of three years and shall make them available to any law enforcement officer during normal business hours.
(l) No towing service shall tow a vehicle when there is a natural person occupying the vehicle.
(m) No towing service shall tow a vehicle located within Duval County out of Duval County.
(n) Each towing service shall keep a company daily updated universal log of all vehicles brought to their storage lot with date and time of tow, case number, badge number, vehicle identification number, year, make, model, color, tag number, date released and who the vehicle was released to. This log shall be kept at the storage lot for review at any time and shall be retained at the storage property for a period of not less than three years. In addition to the company’s universal log of all tows, each truck shall keep a log with the year, make, model, VIN, location towed from and location towed to for every vehicle towed. Such log shall be completed prior to every tow and shall be available for inspection at anytime.
(o) All towing services that perform trespass towing from private property must have on record a Zoning Certificate Form from the City’s zoning office listing their storage yard as a permitted use, and shall file a copy with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.
(Ord. 2004-1374-E, § 2; Ord. 2008-166-E, § 2)
Sec. 804.1304. – Exemptions.
This Part shall not apply to the towing of a vehicle which occurs:
(a) At the direction of a law enforcement officer of the City pursuant to an agreement between the City and a towing service, or
(b) With the consent of the vehicle’s owner or operator.
(Ord. 2004-1374-E, § 2)
Sec. 804.1305. – Return of owner prior to tow.
No towing service operating within the City shall tow a vehicle or charge for its services where the registered owner or other legally authorized person in control of the vehicle arrives at the scene prior to the towing, unless:
(a) The registered owner or other legally authorized person in control of the vehicle refuses to remove the vehicle; or
(b) The vehicle has already been connected to the towing or removal apparatus and the registered owner or other person in control of the vehicle refuses to pay a service fee of not more than one-half of the rate contained herein for such towing service for Class B and C wreckers. The tow truck or wrecker operator shall wait a minimum of 30 minutes to allow the vehicle’s owner or operator to secure cash for the payment of the fees enumerated herein if cash is required by the tow truck or wrecker driver.
(Ord. 2004-1374-E, § 2; Ord. 2008-166-E, § 2)
Sec. 804.1306. – Establishment of rates.
(a) The maximum rates for towing a vehicle or for the storage of a towed vehicle when the point of origin of the tow is within the City limits of the City shall be as follows:
(1) Class A vehicles:
Towing of vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of up to and including 10,000 pounds $106.32
Plus $3.04 per mile.
Maximum daily storage (after six hours) $22.72
(2) Class B vehicles:
Towing of vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of more than 10,000 pounds and up to and including 19,500 pounds 121.17
Plus $3.79 per mile.
Maximum daily storage (after six hours) 30.29
(3) Class C vehicles:
Towing of vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of more than 19,500 pounds (which are upright and in a towable condition), per hour, no mileage charges $394.75
Maximum daily storage (after six hours)
(b) Non-business hours (8:00 p.m. through 7:00 a.m., seven days per week) access fee of $57.27per visit. However, access for the recovery of prescription medication or prescription glasses, child car seats, oxygen tanks and any type of medical equipment or life necessity items, or to pay for and retrieve the vehicle, shall be at no charge.
(c) The maximum rates established in paragraph (1) above shall be a flat fee which shall be all inclusive and, by way of illustration, no additional charges shall be made for:
(1) Any fees for special equipment or services such as double hook up, vehicle entry when locked, dropping transmission linkage, axle or drive shaft removal, dollies, trailer or flat bed, lifts, slim jims, go jacks, removing bumpers, airing up brakes, and mileage;
(2) Time spent at the scene of the tow; or
(3) Storage for the first six hours.
No other fees of whatever kind may be charged for services rendered during the first 72 hours that the vehicle is in the possession of the towing service, beginning from the time the vehicle is delivered to the storage facility. Storage fees as set forth above may be assessed after the initial six-hour period based on a 24-hour day, each day starting at the time of impound. An administrative fee not to exceed $60 actual documented costs may be charged after the first 72 hours so long as the towing service has actually complied with the requirements of F.S. § 713.78 for actual documented costs, including execution and mailing of the lien notice.
(d) Crash Wrap Fee. A towing firm may charge a crash wrap fee in the amount of $25 for vehicles which without the wrap cannot be sealed from water.
(e) Internet Research Fee. A towing firm may charge actual cost, up to $5, for internet research per vehicle, but only when such research is necessary. This amount is in addition to the administrative fee.
(Ord. 2004-1374-E, § 2; Ord. 2008-166-E, § 2)
Sec. 804.1307. – Sheriff’s authorization to adjust rates.
Effective October 1, 2005, and every October 1 thereafter, the Sheriff is authorized to adjust the rate for towing and other services and storage charges, upward or downward, by an amount equal to the percentage change in the Consumer Price Index for the most current June to June 12-month period immediately preceding the adjustment, utilizing the Average of All Items (1982-84=100), U.S. City Average, All Urban Consumers, as published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Statistics (the CPI). The rate will be adjusted by the Sheriff with notice to the City Council through the Council Secretary’s Office and will be effective on October 1 of each fiscal year hereafter.
(Ord. 2004-1374-E, § 2)
Sec. 804.1308. – Civil penalty.
It shall be a violation of the Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act as specified in F.S. § 501.203 to violate any provision of Chapter 804, Part 13. A civil penalty may be assessed by the Court up to $10,000, giving due consideration to the appropriateness of the penalty with respect to the gravity of the violation, the good faith of the violator and the history of previous violations.
(Ord. 2004-1374-E, § 2)
Sec. 804.1309. – Violations and fines.
The violation of any provision of this Chapter shall be unlawful and a class D offense.
(Ord. 2008-166-E, § 2)