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Office of Consumer Protection

Licensing & Registration

Motor Vehicle Repair, Maintenance & Towing

 

Vehicles Left on a Lot

If you have a vehicle left on your lot, there are laws that may apply to the storage and removal of the vehicle.  The following are some examples of laws that apply:

Storage Charges:  Storage charges cannot accrue unless the consumer received notice of the storage charges before they are imposed and it has been at least 24 hours since the customer has been notified that services are completed unless a shorter period has been agreed upon.  A conspicuous sign posted where vehicles are normally received for repairs is evidence of notice.

Removal of a Vehicle:  There are instances when a shop wants to remove a vehicle from its lot.  County Code Chapter 30C, that regulates towing from private property without the consent of the vehicle owner, applies to the removal of vehicles from your lot and makes it more complicated than just calling a tow truck. 
The main requirements of this law are: 
  • A vehicle owner must have been warned by signs on the lot of the parking restrictions and towing.  (For lots over 100 places, stickers may be attached to the vehicle.)
  • You must have a standing written contract with a tow service.
  • You ordinarily must specifically authorize each tow off your property. 

If you are going to engage in towing vehicles from your lot, you need to familiarize yourself with the law and take the necessary actions first.

An alternative for having vehicles removed from your premises is to proceed under the state Abandoned Vehicles Law.  (Md. Transp. Code Ann. §25-201 and 25-210.)  If you believe a vehicle left on your property may qualify as "abandoned," you may contact the Vehicle Recovery Section of the Montgomery County Police Department at 240-773-6411, or   abandoned.vehicle@montgomerycountymd.gov .

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