My car was towed from outside my own home over a flat tire

A RENTER's vehicle was towed after it had a flat tire for 10 days and asked an attorney if the towing was legal.

An attorney said the condition of the vehicle might have made it a violation.

A renter's car was towed after their vehicle got a flat tire but was parked legally for 10 days - an attorney says it might not be illegalCredit: Getty

Avvo, a website that allows people to ask questions to lawyers without worrying about a consultation fee, has a lot of public questions regarding parking regulations.

A user in Miami, Florida asked the public platform if their property management was in the wrong for towing their disabled vehicle after being parked for more than a week.

"Can my car be towed in my apartment complex over a flat tire?" read their post's title.

"I had left my car parked in a legal parking zone for 10 days straight and it had a flat tire. When I talked to management of the complex they told me they towed it because it had a flat tire and it was parked for more than 10 days in the same spot."

Since the car's location was the tenant's parking spot, their question continued by asking if they had any standing against the property management company.

"Is that an illegal way of towing a vehicle to an attendant that lives in that complex?"

An attorney answered the user's question by saying it may be wise to read the rental agreement before pursuing legal action.

"[It's probably not illegal] but you would need to review your lease and any rules and regulations of the complex to see if they have a policy against disabled vehicles," said Barbara Billiot Stage, a Real Estate Attorney in the state.

A similar question was asked by a Quora user, stating their car was still functional, though they were concerned it may be towed away because of a flat tire.

‘Nothing I can do’ driver fumes after his car was ‘illegally’ towed – culprits can ‘inflict unlimited financial impact’

"Can my car get towed from the apartment complex if the tire is just flat by still runs and drives?" read the question.

Steve Smith, a former service technician for a towing company, said that many apartment complexes require vehicles to be road-worthy.

"Most rental agreements and leases have language requiring cars be kept legal (tags) and they must remain in operating condition," read their answer.

"If they want to tow the car as an inoperable vehicle they have to place a warning on it and give you 72 hours to fix the problem. You should verify your local laws."

What to do if your car is towed

Wrongfully or not, retrieving a towed vehicle can be a hassle.

If your vehicle is towed after parking in a "No Parking" zone or other legitimate reason, there are a few steps to take to get it back.

Steps to take when your car is towed:

Try to figure out why your car was towed. Did you not see a posted "No Parking" sign? Did you miss a car payment? Did you return to a lot where you have unpaid citations? Finding the reason can narrow down the phone numbers to dial.
Locate the vehicle. Most states, cities, or counties require towing companies to leave some form of contact information via a posted sign or sent by mail.
Recovery dates and times depend on the company that towed the vehicle, but those times will be posted to the website or can be recited by a representative.
Pay the fees. Be careful to be as prompt as possible, as some tow yards may charge storage fees by the day.

If you feel your vehicle was wrongfully towed, contesting the action can be done with the following steps:

Be prompt - many states have a small window of time where it's acceptable to file a complaint against a company that wrongfully towed the vehicle.
Gather supporting documents: photos, emails, receipts, police reports, and witness statements if applicable. The more evidence, the better.
Get familiar with your local laws, as laws for towing companies vary per state.
Try speaking with the towing company. Sometimes it may have been a simple oversight, and the matter can be resolved quickly.
Contact the Justice of the Peace in your area, as they may have more insight or resources to help. They are often utilized for towing cases.
Talk to a lawyer. Many lawyers have free case consultations, and depending on the case, it may be worth it to utilize a lawyer.

Source: Oregon Department of Justice, National General, Rak Law Firm

For some property management companies, a flat tire could reflect that the vehicle is not being driven, rendering the vehicle inoperable.

In some cases, a vehicle could be ticketed or towed for not being road-legal.

Depending on whether or not the user's apartment complex has a policy against disabled vehicles like Stage indicated, the Avvo user could be on the hook for up to $125 in towing fees plus storage fees to retrieve the car.

Repairing a flat tire, depending on the reason behind the flat tire, could cost anywhere from $54 to $64, according to Kelley Blue Book.


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