A driveway is a space reserved for parking cars in front of a house or establishment. For houses with tenants, the driveway is usually shared by the landlord and tenants. So, can your landlord tow your car from your driveway?
Yes, your landlord can tow your car from the driveway if he has the legal right to do so and if you violate the driveway-sharing policy by parking where you are not supposed to park.
In some states, it is possible to have a car towed from the driveway by law enforcement agents for expired tags, junk cars, etc.
Can your Landlord Tow Your Car from Your Driveway?
Yes, your landlord can tow your car from the driveway, in fact, he has the legal right to do so on the basis that you violated the driveway-sharing policy.
Both the landlord and the tenants have equal rights to the driveway with each having a portion of the driveway to park their cars.
Since it has been established that a landlord can tow your car from the driveway, the question now is when can the landlord do so.
The only grounds on which the landlord can tow your car from the driveway are when you violate the driveway-sharing policy.
The driveway-sharing policy states that:
- The driveway belongs to one person (the landlord) and the tenant has the legal right to also use the driveway. In a situation like this, there is always a dimension drawn to indicate where each person is to park, if you park outside of the drawn dimension you will be given a strike.
- If the driveway belongs to two persons i.e. the landlord and tenant. This policy may not stand because a tenant will only be there for a short period of time (temporarily).
Looking at the two policies, one will see that the first policy is the only applicable one, therefore, the landlord can tow your car on that basis.
Your landlord can tow your car by doing any of the following:
- Having the vehicle ticketed by a law enforcement agent (local) at the car owner’s expense in the event that the property does not have a sign in place indicating the driveway-sharing policy.
- The landlord can also have the unauthorized vehicle towed by the towing company without a ticket at the expense of the car owner if the property has a sign indicating the policy.
For a sign to be tagged properly posted, some of the following must be true:
- The sign must indicate ‘Private Property’ which means unauthorized vehicles are not allowed
- At least 4 feet must be present between the bottom of the sign and the ground or parking surface.
- It must be very easy to read and posted at the entrance to the driveway
- The sign must indicate that all unauthorized vehicles will be towed away with the sign ‘Tow Away Zone.
What Should I Do if My Landlord Tow My Car from my Driveway?
Although a landlord is legally right to have your car towed from the driveway there are a number of things that can be done especially if you think your car has been wrongfully towed without your permission.
Here are some things that can be done:
1. Contact the Landlord
Once you realize your car has been towed from your driveway and confirmed it was done by the landlord, you should contact the landlord.
The landlord is in the best position to tell you why your car was towed and you can probably reach a resolution without much trouble.
However, in the event that the landlord is unyielding, you may want to do something else in order to get your car back.
2. Check Your Lease
In the event that your landlord tows your car from your legal driveway, a necessary course of action should be checking the house lease.
When moving into a new apartment you will be given a tenancy agreement stating rules and what is not allowed which you have to sign.
Check to see what the condition for illegal and unauthorized parking is in the tenancy agreement.
If it turns out to be a tenancy condition, check to see if the landlord abides by the terms of the lease violation by giving prior notice.
If the tenancy agreement states the landlord must give written notice and warning before towing a car which the landlord didn’t do, you have a strong case against the landlord.
The purpose of checking the lease is to confirm if it allows towing and if the towing was done in line with the terms and conditions in the lease signed by the tenant.
3. Check the State Law
Apart from checking the lease, you should also check what the state law says about a landlord towing your car from your driveway.
In some state, it is compulsory by law for every entrance to have a signpost in place, entrances that violate this law doesn’t have a right to tow a tenant’s car from the driveway.
For houses that do not have a proper sign posted at the entrance, it is to be assumed that tenants are not aware of the policy as regards driveway sharing.
Can My Landlord Tow My Car Without Notice?
Yes, your landlord can tow your car without notice although the legality of it can be questioned.
Your landlord can tow your car without notice if it is stated in the lease that he has a right to do so. It could be in the lease that if a tenant parks illegally, the car will be towed without prior notice.
If this is the case, there is nothing you can do about it rather than pay the tow fee and get your car back.
On the other hand, if according to the lease, the landlord is expected to give prior notice before towing the car and he doesn’t, that can make for a good case if you decide to go the court route of settling.
It is not a rare occurrence to see landlords tow their tenant’s cars without notice, especially in a bid to get them to move out of the apartment. If this happens, you can sue the landlord and even get your car back without paying a tow fee or other fee attached.
One reason why you shouldn’t be quick to pay a tow fee if your landlord tows your car is that it is possible for you to get your car back without paying. If you have a good case, you can sort things out with the landlord and not pay a dime plus the landlord will be the one to get the car back.