'Costly lesson,' cries driver as car towed from home in just 20mins over parking

A REALTOR experienced a vehicle disappearing within a 15- to 20-minute span for a temporary parking job.

She claims to have seen the tow truck prowling the neighborhood streets at midnight, looking for illegally parked cars.

A woman's friend had their car towed after they were only parked for 20 minutesCredit: AlamyShe said it was a 'costly lesson' to be careful about parking - even if someone has parked the same way for years without an issueCredit: Getty

Parking is extremely limited outside of Cathy Lownie's Virginia home.

So, when her friend visited last month, she urged them to temporarily park their vehicles in a place she knew wasn't legal.

Lownie figured they wouldn't be towed or ticketed if they were quick enough.

However, as she soon discovered, they weren't quite quick enough.

"A friend came by, parked behind our two cars for about 20 minutes, came out and the car was gone," she wrote in a Facebook post to warn other drivers.

"We were just inside and did not hear or see them."

Her friend went to retrieve the car, and was met with a few obstacles - and a hefty fine.

"$180 and we cannot get the car back until their next release time, 4 p.m.," she wrote.

The post was published a little before noon - meaning her friend had to wait four hours to get their car back.

What struck Lownie, though, was that this was the first time she'd seen someone be towed for parking the way her friend did.

‘It was 5am, they took the vehicle out of my driveway’ fumes ‘targeted’ homeowner after his car towed ‘without warning’

"We've been here over a year and done this multiple times with no issues," said Lownie.

"Be careful where you park."

She admitted that she shouldn't have told her friend to park there - but planned to let her HOA know the towing company may have been a little tow-happy.

"I will be notifying the HOA on Monday that perhaps their tow company is a tad bit aggressive," she continued.

Can an HOA ban street parking?

According to a North Carolina lawyer, an HOA holds the legal right to band parking anywhere - even in a homeowner's driveway.

The trick, says HOA lawyer Mike Hunter, is the deed homeowners sign when they buy a home within a subdivision.

"If you buy a home in a deed-restricted community, you’re obligated to abide by those restrictions," he told the Charlotte Observer.

"If the restrictive covenants say you can’t park on the street, the board has the legal duty to enforce that."

Many states are passing laws to limit the power of HOAs, though a majority of states still grant HOAs to enforce their regulations, restrictive or otherwise, however they see fit.

"I had seen them creeping around the neighborhood around midnight a couple of weeks ago."

At the end of it all, it was a valuable lesson to her and her friend to never assume their vehicles are safe - even if it's a practice they've gotten away with before.

"Yes, we were wrong, I told him to park there as it would only be 15-20 minutes and there were zero spots anywhere," she said.

"Costly lesson."

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