Towing Vehicles on Private Property in Washington

Michael Kvistad, Edmonds Lawyer

Owning or managing private property can come with its own host of problems, and an unauthorized vehicle parked on your property is no exception. This can cause inconvenience, safety hazards, or liability issues for you and your tenants or customers. In such cases, you may want to have the vehicles towed away by a registered tow truck operator. However, before you do so, you should be aware of the legal requirements and procedures for towing vehicles on private property in Washington.

Please keep in mind that article focuses on private property owners who aren’t in the business of parking cars, and does not address public parking facilities.

Residential Property

If a vehicle is parked without authorization on your private, residential property, you can have it towed without prior notice. However, keep in mind that a statute that narrowly defines residential property as property with no more than four living units located in it. I always interpret that in the broadest sense possible to avoid legal trouble.

Commercial Property

Commercial property has two different rules, depending on whether the property is properly posted. When I mention commercial property, I mean all nonresidential property, including residential property with five or more living units.

If your commercial property is not properly posted, you can tow any unauthorized vehicles after 24 hours have passed.

You can tow a vehicle immediately if it’s properly posted. The rules on proper posting are specific and come from two, detailed sources, RCW 46.55.070 and WAC 308-61-145.

Conclusion

Towing vehicles on private property in Washington is a legal option for property owners or managers who want to protect their rights and interests. However, the penalties for wrongful towing are steep and there is a complex and regulated process that requires compliance with various laws and rules. For instance, a property owner can be held liable for towing a vehicle even if the posting is mostly right.

The law also distinguishes between residential and nonresidential property, which has different implications for towing vehicles on private property. Therefore, it is important to understand the legal requirements and procedures for towing vehicles on private property in Washington, and to seek professional advice or assistance if necessary.

To Learn More about Towing Vehicles on Private Property in Washington, please do not hesitate to contact us at info@beresfordlaw.com or by phone (425) 776-4100 for assistance.

BERESFORD BOOTH PLLC has made this content available to the general public for informational purposes only. The information on this site is not intended to convey legal opinions or legal advice.