Proposed Changes to Rules Towing Regulations

Trisha K. Harris | Monday, January 28, 2013 | State Legislation

In countless communities, parking is tight and battles are plenty for associations when it comes to regulating parking in a fair and reasonable manner.  Many associations contract with towing companies to assist with parking enforcement.  In many situations, the towing company is given a blanket authorization to tow if vehicles are parked in violation of the association’s rules or covenants, without requiring the towing company to get specific authorization from the association for each particular tow. 

In such cases, towing companies are regulated by rules set forth in the Colorado Code of Regulations.  There is language in the current rules that implies that each individual tow must still be authorized by an individual or individuals authorized to do so by the association (such as the manager or a board member), which would prevent towing companies from legally towing vehicles under a blanket authorization.   However, the rules are not entirely clear.
 
The Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) recently published proposed revisions to the rules regulating the towing of motor vehicles, seeking comment and input.  The proposed rules remove language allowing towing carriers to act as agents for associations, and allow towing carriers to tow if requested to do so upon the authorization of the property owner, which is defined to include the owner of the property or a person who has been authorized in writing to act as agent for the property owner.  That authorized person could be, therefore, a board member or the manager.   Does this clarify that each individual tow must be separately authorized? 

One important change in the proposed rules that is clear, however, is a new provision that would require signs be erected on the property advising people that illegally parked vehicles are subject to tow.  Without such signs, a towing carrier cannot tow, even with the authorization of the association.

Comments

Tough one. Not representing my company opinion, personal one here; I am not if favor of the blanket towing, believing that an owner or authorized agent should make the call/decision on a violation. Other than the towing company, others are not financially motivated to tow, and will focus on the needs and balances of rule enforcement and reasonableness. While I believe signage additions would be good for clarity, ie. visitors to a community do not have the rule sets, I don't believe mandating the signs or towing can't be done is a good way to go either. Again, over zealous actions cause the many to pay for the few.

Do I write to DORA or the state legislature to comment on the proposed revisions? We have firelanes being blocked at all hours of the night that we can't solve in any cost-effective or reliable manner without giving a towing company blanket authority. We can't hire someone 24/7 to watch and no one on the board wants to be called at 3:00 AM. People know we can't patrol so that is when they park there. It is definitely a safety issue in our case.

Board Members often fear retaliation particularly in smaller communities where everyone can see who signs the authorization. Violators need to be towed and that fear is removed when the towing company removes the vehicle. The violators stop after they've been towed.

It is important that a Board governing HOA's be given an avenue to help maintain order no matter what time of the day or night. Appointing a towing company to patrol HOA complexes is a service to all those living in the complex. If someone blocks an emergency entrance at 3 AM in the morning and an emergency happens it can be the difference between of life and death. I would hope that the State of Colorado understands the importance of just this type of service.

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