Can You Tow a Car Blocking Your Driveway?
It can be frustrating to walk outside your home or business and see a car blocking your driveway. After all, you cannot leave or enter your driveway until the other vehicle gets removed. But if you wait for the owner to return and remove it themselves, you could be waiting a very long time.
Sometimes a person may park their car entirely or partially on your driveway if they visit a neighbor next door. Either that or somebody may abandon their vehicle after it has broken down there. None of these situations would give the vehicle’s owner the right to park on any part of your driveway.
According to California law, residents have the legal right to tow any vehicle blocking their driveway. The only requirement is that the residential property has fewer than four housing units, such as houses and duplexes. So, if you live on a residential property with under four housing units, you can immediately contact a towing company to remove the car blocking your driveway.
Private business owners have different rules to follow for their commercial properties. For example, they must post a warning sign on their driveway that uses the proper legal language and complies with local laws. The signage must outline the specific parking rules of the property, such as where they can park and the penalties for blocking the driveway during non-business hours. The main liability would be towing the vehicle at the car owner’s expense.
Therefore, if someone violates the rules of a posted warning sign on the driveway, the business owner has the legal right to immediately contact a towing company to remove the car from the area. However, if there is no warning sign on the property, then a business owner can only have the vehicle towed after 24 hours have passed. The business owner can only get police assistance once they wait 24 hours.
Are you a business owner in California? If so, make sure you post the necessary warning signage on your driveway and parking lot. Then you will have more authority to remove vehicles blocking your driveway and violating the parking rules of your commercial property.
The Best Actions to Take
It is understandable why you’d be anxious to remove a vehicle blocking your driveway because it prevents anyone from leaving or entering your property. What if you have to get to work, but you cannot leave your residential property? What if potential customers cannot enter your commercial property to shop at your business?
Before you get on the phone with your local towing company, your first call should be to the police. It is always better to call the police first to verify whether you have the legal right to tow a vehicle blocking your driveway. Then, if the police say it’s okay to tow the car, the police will file a report of the incident. That way, if the owner calls the police looking for their vehicle, the police can give them the information of the towing company that hauled it away.
Sometimes the towing company will call the police to report the incident on your behalf. In fact, their legal obligation is to call the police each time they tow a vehicle because the towing company is the entity moving the car without the owner’s consent. However, take it upon yourself to call the police for verification anyway. Then you can have peace of mind knowing you’re complying with the law rightfully.
Be Careful of Towing Cars on Public Streets
You have the right to tow parked cars blocking your driveway when they are actually on your property, whether entirely or partially. But removing it gets more complicated if the entire vehicle is on the public street and no part is on your driveway. After all, the law only gives you the right to remove unwanted cars when they are on your property because that is where you have authority.
Homeowners and business owners have no authority over public streets. For this reason, you must call the police if a vehicle is parked on a public street directly in front of your driveway. The police are the only ones with legal authority over the public roads and the cars on them. They will force the motorist to move their vehicle away from your driveway if it is blocking it.
If the motorist doesn’t comply or is nowhere to be found, the police will contact and authorize a local towing company to impound the vehicle. The police will usually attempt to contact the vehicle’s owner first by running a trace on their license plate. But if they are unsuccessful in communicating with the owner, the police will immediately remove the car from the public street. Then your driveway will no longer be blocked.