Arlington takes action on aggressive trespass towing

WASHINGTON — Drivers who illegally park on private property will get some additional protection from predatory towing services under amendments to Arlington County, Virginia’s trespass towing ordinance.

“These amendments provide important protections to vehicle owners whose vehicles are taken without their consent,” said Arlington County Board Vice Chair Jay Fisette, liaison to the Trespass Towing Advisory Board, in a news release.

“We believe these reasonable requirements support the rights of Arlington County property owners and their tenants to enforce restrictions on their property while providing common sense standards for how vehicles are removed.”

Among the changes are new requirements that tow truck drivers document a vehicle’s condition before it is towed by taking pictures of the vehicle at all four corners. The receipts given to owners retrieving their towed vehicles must include a disclosure that photos taken before the tows are available upon request.

The amendments also require property owners to provide more signage and markings about parking restrictions on their properties, and require real time authorization by property owners for tows during business hours.

Tow companies also get a little more opportunity to contract with businesses.

One amendment extends the eligible area for the location of tow lots from 3 miles to 3 1/4 miles from the contracting businesses property.

Amendments also allow for two additional fees of $25 per instance for towing a vehicle in the evening or on a weekend or holiday, as required by a state code that took effect earlier this year. As a result, towing charges for parking violations on private property will range from $135 to $185.

The tresspass towing ordinance prohibits the towing of any federal, state or local public safety vehicle.

The Arlington Board passed the amendments to the ordinance 5-0.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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