|Towing Vehicles From Private Property|
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OLR Research Report
April 1, 1999
TOWING VEHICLES FROM PRIVATE PROPERTY
By: James J. Fazzalaro, Principal Analyst
You asked what the current statutory requirements are for towing vehicles from private property and if the vehicle owner must get prior notice of the intention to tow or a sign is sufficient.
Connecticut has separate laws governing removal of vehicles from private property (CGS § 14-145 et seq. ) and public highways (CGS § 14-150). With respect to private property, the law prohibits anyone from leaving a motor vehicle on private property without the property owner's permission. A private property owner or lessee, or his agent, may remove a vehicle left on his property without authorization. A licensed tower removing a vehicle must be acting on express authorization of the owner, lessee, or agent and must notify the local police department within 24 hours of the removal. The tower cannot charge any storage fee until he makes this notification.
While it is common to see private property posted with signs stating that unauthorized vehicles will be removed at the owner's expense, there is no requirement in the law for such signs or notice prior to removal. But a private property owner or lessee who improperly causes the removal of a vehicle is liable to its owner for any towing and storage costs and any reasonable attorney's fees (CGS § 14 145c).
The towing company's storage site must be open from 8: 00 a. m. to 5: 00 p. m. from Monday through Friday and “reasonably available” on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays for vehicle redemption. The vehicle must be released to its owner who makes a demand for it during the required weekday hours, or at a reasonable time on any other day, and presents proof of registration and pays the towing and storage costs, or signs a declaratory statement that it was removed illegally. The owner or his agent has the right to inspect the vehicle before claiming it and the tower cannot require a general release from damage liability as a condition of release. The tower must provide the person paying the charges with a receipt showing its name and itemized charges (CGS § 14-145b).