Bill No.
17-15
Concerning: Motor Vehicle Towing and
Immobilization on Private Property -
Amendments
Revised:
July
21. 2015
Draft No.
5
Introduced:
April
14. 2015
Enacted:
July
21. 2015
Executive:·---------
Effective: - - - - - - - - - -
Sunset Date: __._.N=..on..,.e..___ _ _ _ __
Ch. _ _, Laws of Mont. Co. _ __
COUNTY COUNCIL
FOR MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MARYLAND
Lead Sponsor: Councilmember Berliner
Co-Sponsors: Councilmembers Rice, Katz, Navarro, Rucker, Riemer, Elrich, Council Vice
President Floreen and Council President Leventhal
AN ACT
to:
(1)
(2)
(3)
(4)
(5)
[[authorize]] require the County Executive to set flat rates for certain towing
services;
add certain notice and towing procedure requirements;
provide certain additional enforcement powers for the Office of Consumer
Protection;
prohibit the immobilization of certain vehicles; and
generally amend the law governing motor vehicle towing and immobilization on
private property
By amending
Montgomery County Code
Chapter 30C, Motor Vehicle Towing and Immobilization on Private Property
Sections 30C-1, 30C-2, 30C-3, 30C-4, 30C-5, 30C-6, 30C-7, 30C-8, 30C-9, 30C-10, and
30C-11
By adding
Montgomery County Code
Chapter 30C, Motor Vehicle Towing and Immobilization on Private Property
Sections 30C-2 and 30C-12
Boldface
Underlining
[Single boldface brackets]
Double underlining
[[Double boldface brackets]]
* * *
Heading or defined term.
Added to existing law by original bill.
Deletedfrom existing law by original bill.
Added by amendment.
Deletedfrom existing law or. the bill by amendment.
Existing law unaffected by bill.
The County Council for Montgomery County, Maryland approves the following Act:
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Sec. 1. Sections 30C-1, 30C-2, 30C-3, 30C-4, 30C-5, 30C-6, 30C-7, 30C-8,
30C-9, 30C-10, and 30C-11 are amended, and Sections 30C-2 and 30C-12 are
added, as follows:
30C-1. [[Definitions; scope]] Scone; purpose.
(a)
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4
5
[[Definitions.
otherwise;
( 1)
(2)
As used in this Chapter, unless the context indicates
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Office
means the Office of Consumer Protection.
Immobilize
means to use any method, object, or device, including
a clamp or lock, to prevent or inhibit the movement of a motor
vehicle.
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11
12
(3)
Owner
includes any person in lawful possession or control of a
property or a motor vehicle. The "owner" of general common
elements of a condominium is the council of unit owners, or the
council's agent for parking management. The "owner" of limited
common elements of a condominium is the unit owner or owners
who have the exclusive right
to
use the common elements, or the
agent of that unit owner or owners.
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(4)
Redemption area
means any area or building where a vehicle
owner may pay any charges necessary to redeem a vehicle.
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( 5)
Storage site
means any land or building used by a towing service
to sfore towed vehicles.
(6)
Towing
means the removal, or preparation to remove, any motor
vehicle by another motor vehicle for compensation.
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25
(7)
Trespass towing service or towing service
means any person who
tows any motor vehicle from private property for compensation
without the consent of the vehicle owner
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(8)
Tow truck
includes any motor vehicle used to tow, or attempt to
tow, a motor vehicle from private property.
(9)
Unauthorized vehicle
means any motor vehicle which a property
owner has not consented to have parked on the property.
(b)]]
Scope.
( 1)
This Chapter applies to the towing of a motor vehicle from private
property, or the immobilization of a motor vehicle on private
property, without the consent of the vehicle owner.
(2)
This Chapter does not apply to:
[a.].{A}
[b.](fil
[[Towing]] towing initiated by the vehicle owner;
[[Towing]] towing approved or requested by a police
officer, firefighter, or rescue squad member in the course of
[[duty]] a criminal investigation or under [[the state]] State
law [[on]] regulating abandoned vehicles; or
[c.].{Q
[[Towing]]
towing a
[[motor]]
vehicle while
repossessing it.
(D)
towing from the yard or driveway of a single-family
dwelling: or
!ID
towing from land immediately adjoining an electric or
telephone utility building or structure that is not open to
the general public.
(3)
[[Sections 30C-4 and 30C-6 do]] Section 30C-5 does not apply
to[[:
[a.].{A}
Towing]] towing from designated handicapped
parking spaces[[;
[b.]{ID
Towing from the yard or driveway of a one-family
dwelling; or
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[c.]{Q
Towing from land immediately adjoining an electric
or telephone utility building or structure that is not open to
the general public]].
[[(c)]](bl
Purpose.
The purpose of this Chapter is to protect the health.
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safety. and welfare of County residents and
to
regulate and authorize the
County Executive to set maximum rates for the towing of vehicles from
private property without the consent of the vehicle owner. This Chapter
does not authorize the immobilization, towing or holding of any vehicle.
To the extent that legal authority to immobilize, tow or hold a vehicle
without the consent of its owner exists, that authority must be derived
from other statutes or the common law. [This] [[The purpose of this]]
This Chapter
[[lli
to protect public safety
.Qy
restricting]] [restricts]
restricts the exercise of any such legal authority.
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30C-2.
Definitions.
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In this Chapter:
Commercial property
means real estate approved and designed for retail
or wholesale trade. hotel. restaurant. offices. clinics. warehouses. light
manufacturing. and other such uses but not for residential pumoses.
GVWR
means gross vehicle weight rating for the vehicle.
Immobilize
means to use any method. object. or devise. including
a
clamp
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or lock. to prevent or inhibit the movement of a vehicle.
Otnce
means the Office of Consumer Protection.
Property manager
means any person who manages real property on
behalf of the owner.
Property owner
means the person in
w~ose
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name the propertv is
titledU.JJ. or any other person in lawful possession or control of the
propertv. The owner of general common elements of a condominium is
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the Council of unit owners or the Council's agent for parking
management. The owner oflimited common elements of a condominium
is the unit owner or owners who have the exclusive right to use the
common elements. or the agent of that unit owner or owners.
Redemption area
means an area or building where a vehicle owner may
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pay any charges necessarv to redeem a vehicle.
Residential property
means real estate containing either a single family
or multifamily structure that is available for occupation for non-business
purposes.
Storage site
means any land or building used by a towing service to store
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towed vehicles.
Tow or towing
means use of a tow truck to remove a vehicle from private
propertv for compensation without the consent of the vehicle owner.
Tow truck
includes any vehicle which may tow or attempt to tow a vehicle
·
from private propertv.
Trespass towing company
or
towing company
means any person who
tows any vehicle from private propertv for compensation without the
consent of the vehicle owner.
Unauthorized vehicle
means any vehicle which a propertv owner has not
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consented to have parked on the propertv owner's propertv.
Vehicle
means a device that is able to transport persons or propertv on a
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public highway and is required to be registered pursuant to Title 13 of the
Transportation Article of the Annotated Code ofMarvland.
Vehicle Owner
means the person in whose name the title to a vehicle is
registered.
([30C-2]] 30C-3. Maximum rates.
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(a)
When [[charging for]] towing a motor vehicle from private property
without the consent of the owner, a towing [[service]] company must
[not] not charge[[;.
ill
ill
~
flat
~
rate established
12y
the Executive under this Section; or
rate that is not]] more than a maximum rate [which the county
executive. must establish by regulation under method (2)]
[[established
12y
the Executive under this Section]] which the
County Executive must establish by regulation under method (2).
[The executive must review the rates at least every two (2) years.]
The Executive must review the rates at least everv two (2) years.
(b)
The [executive] Executive must set
[(Qy
method
review at least every two years, either]]
fa~
ill
regulation, and
and reasonable [[flat rates
or]] maximum rates for each of the following acts:
(1)
towing. which includes [[Attaching]] attaching the vehicle to be
towed to the tow truck. towing the vehicle to a storage site. and the
first 24 hours of storage;
(2)
[[Towing the vehicle to a storage site. This rate must be based on
the distance the vehicle is towed;
(3)]] [[Storing]] storing the vehicle until it is redeemed; and
[[(4)]]!J)
(
c)
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[[Any]] any other service needed to safely remove a vehicle.
The fee for releasing a vehicle under section [[30C-7]] 30C-8 must not
exceed [[one-half the attachment fee set under subsection (b)(l)]] $25.
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(
d)
A towing company may charge a vehicle owner a fee for providing notice
under section 30C-6(e) only ifthe vehicle has not been reclaimed
within
48 hours after the towing or removal of the vehicle: the fee must not
exceed the actual cost of providing that notice.
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~
A towing [[service]] company must not charge for any act not listed in
this section unless that act was expressly requested by the vehicle owner.
[[30C-3]] 30C-4. Administration; rates.
(a)
Each tow truck operated by a trespass towing company must be
identified. registered. and insured as required under State law. except that
any required lettering must be placed on both sides of the truck. Each
driver employed by a trespass towing service must be at least 18 years of
age and must have a valid license to operate a tow truck.
(b)
Every trespass towing [[service]] company must [[file]] register with the
Office and must file a schedule of its rates for each action connected with
the towing or storage of
disapprove a rate that[[;.
un~uthorized
vehicles. The Office may
ill
ffi]]
(
c)
is different
from~
flat rate set under Section 30C-2; or
exceeds [the]
~maximum
rate set under Section 30C-2.
A trespass towing [[service]] company must not charge a rate that is
higher than the rate on file with the Office for any action in connection
with the towing or storage of any unauthorized vehicle.
(d)
Each trespass towing [[service]] company must furnish the Office proof
that it carries the insurance required under Section 31A-15(b). Each
trespass towing [[service]] company must inform the Office of the type
of business organization or ownership in which the [[service]] company
operates and the names and current addresses of all owners or, if the
[[service]] company is a corporation, of the officers of the corporation
and the name and address of a person authorized to accept service of
process.
(
e)
A property owner must not order the towing of an unauthorized vehicle
unless the property owner has entered into a written contract that
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authorizes a towing [[service]] company to tow vehicles from the owner's
property. This provision does not apply ifthe towing [[service]] company
is the record owner of the property from which a [[motor]] vehicle is
towed. The property owner and the towing company must keep on file
I
each contract that is in effect, or that was terminated within the previous
12 months. The Office, the Police Department, and the owner of any
vehicle towed by the [[service]] company may inspect and copy any
contract during normal business hours. The Office may issue model
contracts that meet the requirements of this Chapter.
Any new written contract must include:
ill
a statement that the propertv owner is responsible for posting
proper and sufficient signage to notify the public of parking
restrictions:
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,(2)
a statement that the propertv owner is responsible for expressly
authorizing the towing of a particular vehicle. except as allowed
under 30C-5(c)(10). and that the existence of this contract does not
constitute express authorization:
Q)
a statement that a propertv owner or towing company is liable for
a violation of any duty imposed on the propertv owner or towing
company by Chapter 30C. and the damages payable are three times
the amount of any towing. release or storage fees charged: [[and]]
ill
a statement that a property owner and a towing company are jointly
and severally liable for a violation of any duty imposed on the
towing company by Chapter 30C. with a right of contribution or
indemnification: and
ill
a statement that any violation of any duty imposed on the propertv
owner or towing company by Chapter 30C subjects the propertv
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(
f)
owner or towing company to a potential fine of [[$500.00]] up to
$1.000.00.
[[The Office may issue subpoenas to compel the production of
documents, papers, books, records, and other evidence in any matter to
which this Chapter applies.]] Any propertv owner wishing
to
engage in
the non-consensual towing of vehicles from their propertv must first
register each commercial parking lot with the Office of Consumer
Protection using an electronic registration program. The propertv owner
must provide:
ill
fl}
the name and contact information for the propertv owner;
the name and contact information of all individuals who may
authorize the towing of each vehicle:
ill
a copy of the contract between the property owner and the towing
fmn; and
ill
a diagram of the dimensions of the parking lot including a mark
indicating the locations of each sign stating the parking restrictions
and disclosures required by County and State law.
.{g}
[[Any
violation of this chapter is a class A violation.]] A property owner
must update the information provided to the Office of Consumer
Protection within 24 hours of any changes to the information provided
under subsection (fl.
Qi}
A propertv owner must provide ([quarterly)] annual reports regarding the
number of vehicles towed and the reason why each vehicle was towed
unless the Director of the Office of Consumer Protection waives the
requirement after finding that Police Department records meet the
Office's needs for enforcement of this Chapter.
[[30C-4]] 30C-5. Public notice; tow procedures.
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(a)
Requirement.
Before towing a motor vehicle from private property
without the consent of the vehicle owner, the property owner and the
towing [[service]] company must comply with all applicable provisions
of this section.
(b)
Signs.
(
1)
A property owner must post a sign, notifying the public of parking
restrictions, at least 24 hours before towing or ordering the towing
of an unauthorized vehicle.
(2)
[[Sufficient numbers of signs must be posted permanently so that
at least one sign is clearly readable from each parking area and
each vehicle entrance to the property at all times.]] [Alternatively]
[[Additionally, in a parking lot with more than 100 parking spaces,
at least one sign must be posted
in
a conspicuous place for each
[75) 25 parking spaces, and each sign must be readable from all
affected spaces.]] The propertv owner must post a sufficient
number of signs so that:
CA)
at least one sign is clearly readable from each parking area
and each vehicle e:ntrance to the property at all times: or
all
in a parking lot with more than 45 parking spaces. at least
one sign must be posted in a conspicuous place for each 45
parking spaces and each sign can be read from all affected
spaces.
(3)
Each sign must:
[a.](A)
be at least 24 inches high by 30 inches wide:
all
[[Summarize]] summarize all parking restrictions on the
property enforced by towing unauthorized vehicles,
including time and area restrictions;
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[b.]
[[@)]](O
[[Indicate]] state that
~
[[vehicles violating]]
vehicle parked in violation of the restrictions may be towed
at the vehicle owner's expense; [(and]]
[c.][[(Q]]m)
state that County and State law require that
towed vehicles be available for redemption 24 hours per
day. seven days per week:
!m
state the maximum amount that the owner of the vehicle
may be charged for the towing or removal of an
unauthorized vehicle:
(El
([List]] list the name and telephone number of each towing
[[service]] company hired to tow unauthorized vehicles
from the property, [[or a telephone number that is answered
personally at all times of the day and night by the property
owner or an agent of the owner who is informed of each
vehicle towed from the property]] and the location to which
the vehicle will be towed:
(G)
be sized [[and made of reflective material that can be seen
in low light.]] and located so that it is able to be read by
motorists in daylight and at night: and
an
(5)
be maintained
in
a legible and unobstructed condition.
(((4) Each sign must be sized, printed and located so that it is readable
by motorists in daylight and at night.
The property owner must maintain each sign in legible and
unobstructed condition.
(6)]](i)
An
owner of residential property, including a condominium,
cooperative or homeowners' association, may also have an
unauthorized vehicle towed from that property [[without posting
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the signs required by this subsection if]] by posting the signs
required in subsection
(b)(2)
only at the entrances to that property
and:
[a.]@
[[A]]
~
notice specifying a violation of an applicable
rule or covenant is securely attached to the vehicle in a
conspicuous place;
[b.].(ID
[[The]] the date and time the notice was attached is
written on it;
[c.].(Q
(i)
[[The]] the notice informs the vehicle owner that:
the violation must be couected or the vehicle may
be towed at the vehicle owner's expense 48 hours
after the notice is attached; and
(ii)
an unauthorized vehicle that has received a notice
of the same violation under this Section on the same
property within the previous 180 days may be towed
without any further notice; and
[d.]ill}
[[The]] the vehicle is not towed until at least 48 hours
after the notice is attached unless the unauthorized vehicle
received a notice of the same violation under this Section on
the same property within the previous 180 days.
[[(7)]]
ill
An owner of a commercial parking lot [[with more than 100
spaces]] may have an unauthorized vehicle towed from that
property [[without posting the signs required by this subsection if]]
by posting the signs required in subsection
(b)(2)
only at the
entrances to that propertv and:
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[a.](A}
[[A]] §.notice specifying a violation of an applicable
rule or covenant is securely attached to the vehicle
in
a
conspicuous place;
[b.].{ID
[[The]] the
date
and time the notice was attached is
written on it;
[c.]{Q
(i)
[[The]] the notice informs the vehicle owner that:
the violation must be corrected or the vehicle may
be towed at the vehicle owner's expense 24 hours
after the notice is attached; and
(ii)
an unauthorized vehicle that has received a notice
of the same violation under this Section on the same
property within the previous 180 days may be towed
without any further notice; and
[d.](ID
[[The]] the vehicle is not towed until at least 24 hours
after the notice is attached unless the unauthorized vehicle
received a notice of the same violation under this Section on
the same property within the previous 180 days.
(c)
Tow procedures.
(1)
Except as provided
in
subsection (c){lO), a [[property owner]]
towing company must not tow a motor vehicle from [[the
owner's]] private property unless the property owner has, directly
or through an agent, expressly authorized the towing of the
particular vehicle.
(2)
[[The authorization to tow may take the form of a tow slip.]] The
property owner must authorize the towing of a vehicle
in
writing
via tow authorization form
in
person. or via fax. email. or other
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electronic means approved by the Director of the Office of
Consumer Protection.
(3)
(4)
The Office may issue a model tow [[slip]] authorization form.
[[If
a tow slip is used, the property owner or the owner's agent must
sign the slip immediately before the vehicle is towed. A legible
copy of the slip must be securely attached to the vehicle.
(5)]] Any property owner or any person acting as an agent of a property
owner, must not:
[a.]@
[[Falsely]] falsely state that a property owner
authorized the towing of a particular vehicle; or
[b.].{ID
[[Record]] record any false information about .the
towing of a particular vehicle[[; or
[c.
].(g
Sign a tow slip before all of the information relating
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to the towing of a particular vehicle is recorded on the slip]].
[[(6)]](2)
A towing [[service]] company must not charge a vehicle
owner any fee for the services of another agent of the property
owner.
[[(7)
In
this subsection, "owner" means the person in whose name title
to the property is registered. The "owner" of general common
elements of a condominium is the council of unit owners. The
"owner" oflimited common elements of a condominium is the unit
owner or owners who have the exclusive right to use the common
elements. "Property manager" means a person who generally
manages the property on behalf of the owner.
(8)]]!fil
A person must not act as a property owner's agent for the
purpose of ordering the towing of an unauthorized vehicle, unless
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the owner or property manager has expressly authorized in writing
the person to so act.
[[(9)]]ffi
An agent of a property owner, for the purpose of ordering
the towing of an unauthorized vehicle·, must not:
[a.](A)
[[Be]] be employed by, or have any member of his or
her immediate family employed by, any towing [[service]]
company; or
[b.].(fil
[[Have]] have any financial interest in any towing
[[service]] company or the towing of any motor vehicle.
This provision does not apply if the towing [[service]] company is the
record owner of property from which a motor vehicle is towed.
[[(IO)]](fil
An unauthorized vehicle may be towed from private
property without the express authorization of the property owner
or the owner's agent only[;
a.
Between 2:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m.; or
If]~
b.
(A)
Between 2:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m.: or
if the vehicle is [[directly]] blocking a clearly marked fire
lane or access to another vehicle. the property or a building
on the property.
!fil
[[(11
)]]!2)
Before towing or authorizing the towing of an unauthorized
vehicle from private property
[£.,.~person]]
under this Section. [[the
towing company]] a person must obtain photographic evidence of
the violation or event that precipitated the towing of the vehicle.
The photograph must be available for inspection by any interested
partv for at least one year. and a copy of the photograph must be
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provided to the vehicle owner along with the receipt required under
Section 30C-9.
[[(Ul
A towing company must not attach to a tow truck or tow an
unauthorized vehicle from private property that is held open to the
public for parking within
15
minutes of the vehicle being parked.
unless the vehicle is:
(A)
blocking a clearly marked fire lane:
blocking access to another vehicle;
blocking access
to
the propertv or a building on the
property; or
(D)
an
(Q
parked in a parking space reserved for disabled persons
without a valid handicapped registration plate or valid
disabled person's parking permit.]]
(d)
(1)
A property owner may move a vehicle within a parking lot
without prior notice to the vehicle owner, but must not remove
the vehicle from the lot, when moving the vehicle is necessary
to:
[a.]@
debris;
[b.]@}
[[Remove]] remove large quantities of snow or
[[Repair]] repair the parking lot; or
[[Respond]] respond to threat to a person's safety or
[c.](Q
health.
(2)
a
In
moving a vehicle within a parking lot, a property owner must:
[a.](A)
[[Take]] take reasonable care not to damage the
vehicle;
[b.l(fil
[[Pay]] MY any cost of moving the vehicle; and
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[c.](Q
[[Inform]] inform the vehicle owner where the
vehicle was relocated or return the vehicle to its original
location as soon as possible.
W
A vehicle must not be towed from private property solely for a violation
of failure to display a valid current registration under Section 13-411 of
the Transportation Article of the Annotated Code of Mazyland until 72
hours after a notice of violation is placed on the vehicle.
ill
UA
property owner or towing]]
[[service]] [[company must not employ
or use the services of an individual commonly referred to as g "spotter,"
whose primary task is to report the presence of unauthorized parked
vehicles for the purpose of towing or removal. For the purposes of this
subsection, "primary task" means an individual's job function that
accounts for more than 50% of the· individual's compensation or hours
worked.]] Except between 2:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m .. a towing company
must not monitor. patrol. or otherwise surveil [[private]] commercial
property for the purposes of identifying unauthorized parked vehicles for
towing and removal.
' 410
411
412
413
414
415
416
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421
[[30C-5]] 30C-6. Notice [[to police]].
(a)
[[If
a]] A towing [[service]] company that tows an unauthorized vehicle
from private property[[, the property owner or the owner's agent]] must
notify the County or municipal Police Department with jurisdiction over
the site of the tow before the towing [[service]] company leaves the
property. The [[owner or agent]] towing company must iell the Police
Department:
(1)
[[The]] the name of the towing [[service]] company;
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(d)
(2)
[[The]] the make, model, color, year [[(if known)]], vehicle
identification number and registration plate number of the towed
vehicle;
(3)
(4)
(5)
[[The]] the address the vehicle was towed from;
[[The]] the time the vehicle was towed; [[and]]
the reason the vehicle was towed: and
[[The]] the storage site where the vehicle will be stored.
Lfil
(b)
The [[property owner or the owner's agent]] towing company must
promptly notify the police department
if
the towing [[service]] company
moves the vehicle to another storage site.
(c)
The property owner [[or]] [the owner's agent] [[property manager]] and
the towing company must retain each tow [[slip]] authorization form
[[and, for those vehicles towed without a tow slip, a record of the
information furnished to the police,]] and. for those vehicles towed
without a tow authorization form. the towing company must retain a
record of the information furnished to the police for one year after the
tow. [[For each vehicle towed without a tow slip, the property owner or
[agent] property manager must record and retain the name of the owner
of the property and, if the tow was authorized by an agent, the name of
the agent.]] The Police Department, the Office, and the owner of any
vehicle towed by the service may inspect and copy [[this information]]
tow authorization forms at any time during normal business.hours.
The [[property owner or the owner's agent]] towing company must
promptly notify the County Police Department by telephone of each
vehicle that has remained in a towing [[service's]] company's possession
for 72 hours. The [[property owner or the owner's agent]] towing
company must tell the Police Department:
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450
451
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4 74
475
~
(1)
(2)
[[All]] all information required under subsection (a); and
[[The]] the vehicle identification number of the towed vehicle.
Within seven days after the towing or
remo~al
of the vehicle. the towing
company must notify the owner. any secured partv. and the insurer of
record by certified mail. return receipt requested. and first class mail. of
the same information required to be given to the Police Department under
subsection (a) of this Section.
ill
The towing Company must provide to the owner. any secured party. and
the insurer of record the itemized actual costs of providing notice under
this Section.
[[30C-6]] 30C-7. Handicapped vehicle owners.
A property owner must not authorize a towing [[service]] company to tow a
vehicle with a valid handicapped registration plate or valid disabled person's
parking permit conspicuously displayed from private property without the
consent of the vehicle owner unless:
(a)
[[The]] the tow is expressly authorized by a police officer at the request
of the property owner; or
(b)
[[The]] the vehicle is blocking a clearly marked fire lane or access to
another vehicle, the property or a building on the property.
[[30C-7]] 30C-8. Incomplete tows.
(a)
If
a vehicle owner returns
to
an unauthorized vehicle at any time after the
vehicle is attached to the tow truck but before it is towed from private
property, the towing [[service]] company must release the vehicle to the
owner ifthe owner pays a release fee as provided
in
Section [[30C-2(c)]]
30C-3Cc). The towing service must accept pavment by cash or credit card
as under Section 30C-9(b) and must not charge any other fee for attaching
or releasing the vehicle.
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(b)
A towing [[service]] company must not charge for releasing an
unauthorized vehicle unless the service has physically attached the
vehicle to the tow truck and lifted the vehicle at least 6 inches off the
ground before the vehicle owner returns.
If
the towing [[service]]
company has begun to attach the vehicle to the tow truck but has not
completed the attachment or lifted the vehicle, the towing [[service]]
company must release the vehicle without charging the owner any fee.
(
c)
A towing [[service]] company must not block an unauthorized vehicle
with a tow truck to obtain payment from the vehicle owner before
attaching the vehicle to the tow truck.
(
d)
The towing [[service]] company must provide a receipt that includes a
reference to the County Code provisions setting the release fee and meets
all of the requirements [[of section 30C- 8(f)]] for receipts under Section
30C-9Ce), indicating the release fee paid and the date of the incomplete
tow.
[[(e) A police officer or investigator employed
Qy
the Office may order a
towing service to release a vehicle, or to stop attaching a vehicle, at any
time.]]
[[30C-8]] 30C-9. Redemption and storage procedures..
(a)
Storage of towed vehicles.
A [[property owner must have an authorized
vehicle towed]] towing company must immediately deliver a towed
vehicle directly to a storage site that complies with the following
conditions:
(1)
A storage site must not be more than [[12]] 15 miles from the
origin of the tow. [[Each vehicle must be towed to the nearest
storage site available to the towing service.]] Every storage site
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503
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508
509
510
must be located in Montgomery County. unless the nearest storage
site is within one mile of the County line.
(2)
(3)
A storage site must be brightly lit at all times.
A towed vehicle must not
be
stored more than a reasonable
walking distance from a redemption area.
(4)
The towed vehicle and its contents must be kept secured at all
times.
(5)
The storage site must remain open and have personnel on-site for
redemption of vehicles at [[least 2 hours after the completion of
the last tow]] 24 hours per day. seven days a week.
511
512
513
,(§) .
The storage site must be identified by a sign at the entrance
indicating the name and telephone number of the tow service.
(b)
514
515
516
517
518
519
520
521
522
523
524
525
Payment and promise to pay.
(1)
Cash payment.
A trespass towing [[service]] company must accept
payment in cash, or by a traveler's check accompanied by
reasonable identification.
(2)
[[Options.
[a.](A)
Each trespass towing service must accept as full
payment either a credit card slip or a personal check, at the
option of the towing service, validly signed by the vehicle
owner or the owner's agent for the amount of all valid
charges.
[b.](fil
Each trespass towing service must notify the Office -
on the rate schedule filed under Section 30C-3 whether it
opts to accept credit cards or personal checks or both. The
towing service must notify the Office if it changes that
option.
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[c.].{Q
The option chosen by a trespass towing service must
be available to the owners of all vehicles towed by that
service without the consent of their owners.
(3)]]
Credit card [[option]]
pavment
[[[a.]®]]
Each trespass towing [[service]] company must
accept the [[2]] two most widely used major credit cards.
The Office must define,
in
regulations under method (2),
which major credit cards are the [[2]] two most widely used.
[[[b.]ill)
In
addition, if a trespass towing service accepts any
other credit card for any other purpose, it must accept that
credit card under this Chapter.
(4)
Personal check option.
A trespass towing service must, if it does
not accept the 2 most widely used credit cards under subsection
(c)(3), accept a personal check, with reasonable identification, if
the vehicle is registered in Maryland.
(S)]]Q)
Withholding payment.
If:
[a.](A)
[[The]] the vehicle owner withholds payment in a
credit card transaction with a towing service under this
Chapter; and
[b.].{ID
[[A]]~
court in any subsequent civil action finds that
the tow was valid and the amount charged was correct; the
vehicle owner must pay the towing [[service]] company, in
addition to the amount validly charged, liquidated damages
of [[2]] two times the amount validly charged (but not more
than $1,000.00) and all reasonable costs of collection,
including court costs and a reasonable attorney's fee.
[[(6)
Stoppingpayment.
If:
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No. 17-15
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557
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[a.](A)
The vehicle owner stops payment on a check written
to
a towing service under this chapter;
[b.]ill)
The towing service follows the procedures in state
law for collection of dishonored checks; and
[c.].(Q
A court in any subsequent civil action finds that the
tow was valid and the amount charged was correct; the
vehicle owner must pay the towing service, in addition to
the amount validly charged, liquidated damages of 2 times
the amount validly charged (but not more than $1,000.00)
and a collection fee of$25.00.]]
[[(7)]]~
Applicability.
This subsection applies to payment of any
charge arising from the towing or storage of a vehicle without the
owner's consent, and to payment for an incomplete tow under
Section [(30C-7]] 30C-8.
[[(8)]](2)
Purpose.
This subsection and Section [(30C-7]] 30C-8 do
not create or imply a lien in favor of a towing [(service]] company
when such a lien would not otherwise exist. This subsection and
Section ([30C-7]] 30C-8 do not give a towing [[service]] company
a right to retain possession of any vehicle it would otherwise have
to return to the vehicle owner.
(c)
Rates displayed.
Every trespass towing [[service]] company must display
prominently, at each redemption area, a copy of its current rates and a
statement that these rates do not exceed the rates filed with the Office.
Every trespass towing [[service]] company must also display prominently
a sign, furnished at a reasonable fee by the Office, listing the Office's
telephone number and summarizing the vehicle owner's rights under this
Chapter.
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(d)
Storage fee.
A trespass towing [[service]] company must not charge a
storage fee for any time before the vehicle actually reaches the storage
site [[or the service notifies the Police Department under Section 30C-5,
whichever is later]].
(e)
Receipt.
Upon receiving payment, a towing [[service]] company must
furnish the vehicle owner a receipt on a form approved by the Office. The
receipt must:
(1)
[[Record]] record the amount paid to redeem the vehicle, the
actions for which the vehicle owner paid, and the date and time of
the redemption;
(2)
[[Be]]
be
signed legibly by an agent of the towing [[service]]
company, and list the name, address and telephone number of the
towing [[service]] company;
(3)
identify the violation or event that precipitated the towing of the
vehicle;
ill
ill
include photographic evidence of the violation required under
subsection 30C-5(c)(l 1); and
[[Briefly]] briefly inform the vehicle owner that the Office can
explain the vehicle owner's rights and how to enforce them in small
claims court or another appropriate
~orum
if the vehicle owner
believes that any provision of County law has been violated, and
that the owner may obtain a copy of the law from the Office.
(f)
Damage waiver.
A trespass towing [[service]] company must not require
a vehicle owner to sign any waiver of the owner's right to receive
compensation for damages to the vehicle.
(gl
lns"{J,ection and retrieval o["{J,ersonal
"{2,rO"{J,er~.
A storage site that is
in
the possession of a towed vehicle shall make the vehicle available.
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: 610
without charge. to the owner. the owner's agent. a secured partv. or the
insurer of record. under the supervision of the storage site. for:
611
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632
633
634
635
636
(
c)
ill
(2)
inspection: or
retrieval from the vehicle of personal propertv that is not attached
to the vehicle.
[[30C-9]] 30C-10. Liability for damages.
(a)
Any trespass towing [[service]] company, and any private property owner
who authorizes, expressly or under a standing authorization, the towing
of a vehicle from private property, are liable for violation of any duty
imposed on the [[service]] company or owner by this Chapter with regard
to:
(1)
[[Any]] any towing of a vehicle that does not comply with this
[[chapter]] Chapter;
(2)
[[Any]] any towing of a vehicle in the mistaken belief that the
vehicle was not authorized
~o
park in the place from which it was
towed; and
(3)
[[Any]] any damages to a towed vehicle incurred during the tow
or storage and caused by a lack of reasonable care by the towing
[[service]] company, the property owner or an agent of either.
(b)
A property owner is not liable for the towing of a vehicle if the property
owner did not expressly authorize the towing, [[expressly or under a
standing authorization]] and does not otherwise have a business
relationship with the towing company.
Except as provided
in
subsection
(b),
a
[[A]]
property owner and a towing
[[service]] company are jointly and severally liable for the violation of
any duty imposed by this Chapter on the towing [[service]] company,
with a right ofcontribution or indemnification.
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(d)
A vehicle owner must mitigate any damages recoverable under this
[[chapter]] Chapter.
(
e)
Damages payable under subsections (a)(1) and (a)(2) are [[3]] three times
the amount of any towing, release or storage fees charged.
640
641
642
643
[[30C-10]] 30C-11. Rebates prohibited.
A
towing [[service]] company must not pay or offer to pay a property owner,
and a property owner must not accept payment, for authotj.zing the towing of a vehicle
from any private property.
644
645
646
64 7
648
30C-12. Enforcement. oolice power. subnoena authority.
(fil
The Office of Consumer Protection and the Montgomerv County Police
Department enforce this Chapter.
!!2)
A police officer or Office of Consumer Protection investigator may order
a towing company to release a vehicle. or to stop attaching a vehicle. at
any time to prevent a breach of the peace or if the investigator or officer
has reasonable cause to believe that the tow would be or was unlawful.
649
650
651
652
653
~
The Office may issue subpoenas to compel the production of documents.
papers. books. records. and other evidence relevant to the investigation of
a complaint filed with the Office in any matter to which this Chapter
applies.
654
655
656
657
658
ill
If any person does not comply with any subpoena issued under this
Chapter. the County may enforce the subpoena by appropriate
legal action.
659
660
661
662
al
Ql
Any court with jurisdiction may grant iniunctive or other
appropriate relief to enforce a subpoena.
A person must comply with any subpoena issued under this
Chapter.
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@
Any
violation of this Chapter is a Class A violation. The maximum civil
fine is $500 for a first offense. and $1.000 for subsequent offenses.
[[30C-11]] 30C-13. Immobilization [restrictions] prohibited.
(a)
Applicability.
A person must not immobilize a motor vehicle owned by
another person [without complying with all requirements of this section]
on private property, without the consent of the vehicle owner.
(b)
[Signs.
The owner of the property on which a vehicle is immobilized must
permanently post a sufficient number of signs which meet all
requirements of Section 30C-4(b)(1)-(5) on the property at least 24 hours
before a person immobilizes an unauthorized vehicle. The text of the sign
must reflect that vehicles may be immobilized rather than, or in addition
to, being towed, and must specify the rate charged to release a vehicle.
The Department of Housing and Community Affairs may by regulation
prescribe the text, graphics, symbols, shape, size, color, or other elements
necessary for a sign to comply with this section.
(
c)
Requirements.
A person must not immobilize an unauthorized vehicle
unless:
(1)
the owner of the property where the vehicle is located has
expressly authorized the person to immobilize unauthorized
vehicles on the property;
(2)
the person, and any business that employs the person to
immobilize vehicles, has registered
with
the Department of
Housing and Community Affairs under Section 3 lA-2 as if
Chapter 3 lA applies to that person and business;
(3)
the person has been adequately trained to apply an immobilizing
device;
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691
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·709
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711
(4)
signs meeting all requirements of subsection (b) have been
properly posted on the property;
(5)
the person attaches to the vehicle's front windshield a notice
prominently warning the operator not to move the vehicle;
(6)
(7)
the person takes reasonable care not to damage the vehicle; and
the owner of the property carries at least $25,000 in liability
insurance which will cover any damage to the vehicle.
(d)
Entrapment not allowed.
A person must not'immobilize a motor vehicle
on private property if:
( 1)
the property is a parking garage. or lot which is normally used for
paid public parking and operated by an attendant;
(2)
the vehicle entered the garage or lot between 6 p.m. and 8 a.m.;
and
(3)
the garage or lot was unattended, and access to the garage or lot
was not physically blocked, when the vehicle entered.
(e)
Release of vehicle.
A person who is authorized to release immobilized
vehicles must:
(1)
arrive as promptly as possible, but in any case within 30 minutes
after the owner or operator of an illlffiobilized vehicle calls the
telephone number listed on the sign posted at the property and
requests the release of the vehicle;
(2)
(3)
immediately release the vehicle after a lawful release fee is paid;
not require the vehicle owner or operator to waive any right to
receive compensation for damages to the vehicle; and
(4)
give the operator of the vehicle a receipt which legibly shows:
(A)
(B)
the release fee paid,
the date, time, and
loc~tion
of the release, and
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717
(C)
the name of the person who received the payment and any
business for which the person acted.
718
719
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727
728
729
730
731
732
733
734
735
736
737
738
739
740
(
f)
Maximum rate.
A person must not charge more to release an unauthorized
vehicle than a maximum rate set by the County Executive by regulation
un4er method (2). The Executive must set a maximum rate which fairly
compensates the property owner for the reasonable
cost of
immobilization, but which does not exceed $50, and must review the
maximum rate at least every 2 years.
(g)
Payment and promise to pay.
A person who is authofi?;ed to release
immobilized vehicles must accept payment:
(1)
in cash, or by a traveler's check accompanied by reasonable
identification;
(2)
by a personal check, accompanied by' reasonable identification, if
the vehicle is registered in Maryland; or
(3)
by the 2 most widely used major credit cards, as defined by the
Department of Housing and Community Affairs. In addition, if the
person, or the business which employs the person, accepts any
other credit card for any other purpose, the person must accept that
credit card for this purpose.
The remedies in Section 30C-8(b)(5)-(6) apply to any payment under this
section.
(h)
No lien.
This section does not create or imply a lien in favor of any person
when such a lien would not otherwise exist. This section does not give
any person a right to retain possession of any vehicle it would otherwise
have to return to the vehicle owner.
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751
752
753
I
(i)
Public property.
Only a properly authorized agent of a government
agency with jurisdiction over a public road or other public property may
immobilize a motor vehicle on that road or property.
G)
Enforcement; police power.
The Department of Housing and Community
Affairs and the Police Department enforce this section.
A
police officer
may order a person not to immobilize a vehicle, or to release an
immobilized vehicle without payment, at any time to prevent a breach of
the peace or if the officer has reasonable cause to believe that the
immobilization would be or was unlawful.
(k)]
Civil remedy.
Any person whose vehicle has been unlawfully
immobilized, unlawfully held after being lawfully immobilized, or
damaged while immobilized, may recover from the owner of the property
or any other person responsible for immobilizing the vehicle, in a civil
action, the greater of:
( 1)
(2)
all actual damages sustained; or
liquidated damages of$100.
754
755
756
757
758
This remedy does not replace or limit any other remedy available by law.
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No.
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759
760
Approved:
761
~
George Leventhal, President, County Council
762
Approved:
763
Isiah Leggett, County Executive
Date
764
765
This is a correct copy ofCouncil action.
Linda M. Lauer, Clerk of the Council
766
Date
- 31 -