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FAQ

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

We have answers

Contrary to what you may feel, living in a Homeowner Association that is governed by Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (usually known as CC&R’s) is a great advantage which ensures the quality of life of the entire association by encouraging compliance to these rules.

We enforce the rules and regulations of your homeowners association, building management or property administration on their behalf. That being said, we don't replace or take jurisdiction away from the local police department. Instead, we enforce the rules and regulations that have been set forth.

PATROL MASTERS enforces the rules and regulations of your homeowners association, building management or property administration on their behalf. We do not replace or take jurisdiction away from the local police department. We never claim to do so. We rather enforce the rules and regulations that the homeowners association, building management or property owners and administrators ask us to enforce; rules and regulations over which the police department or city governments have no jurisdiction.

According to CVC section 22658,, an "association," as defined in subdivision may cause the removal of a vehicle parked on that property. For more info, we encourage you to check the entire CVC section 22658.

Ignorance of laws, rules or regulations is no effective defense against it. As a homeowner, you are given a copy of the neighborhood CC&Rs and parking regulations upon Escrow. It's your duty to read these rules and abide by them. Therefore, we won't be unable to refund your towing charges unless you can prove your vehicle was wrongfully towed.

It is your responsibility as a homeowner to inform your guests of the parking rules and regulations. You must make sure they know when, where and how to park when they visit. For this reason, they cannot get a refund.

No. According to the California Vehicle Code Section 22658, the association is only required to have one fire lane parking sign per each entrance to the community only. "22658. (a) Except as provided in subdivision (b), an "association," as defined in subdivision (a)

Please contact your Homeowner Association management company and they will provide you with one.

We take pictures of the vehicles we tow to avoid this issue. You can expect us to submit the report, the history of the infraction and all pertinent evidence of the tow to the authority that manages your property the same day it occurs. This report includes a picture of the car that was towed and documents the infraction. To obtain a copy, please contact your property management company.

The statute of what constitutes parking and storage depends on the Homeowners Association's CC&R and may vary from case to case. However, having a vehicle parked in a common area for extended periods of time is not desired by any Homeowners Association. Therefore, most associations require that we monitor and track common parking areas for vehicles that appear to be immobile for a period of time. The citation you received is nothing but a courtesy notice alerting you to the fact that your vehicle is now being monitored. After a specified amount of time (which may be anything between 24 to 96 hours, according to your neighborhood's CC&Rs) the patrol officer will check back on the vehicle. If still unmoved, the vehicle will be considered to be in storage and subject to be towed at the owner's expense. If according to our monitoring system the vehicle has been moved during the monitoring period, the citation is no longer valid and by your ruling CC&Rs, your vehicle will not be towed.

The statute of what constitutes parking and what constitutes storage depends on the Homeowners Association’s CC&R and may vary from case to case but having a vehicle parked in a common area for extended periods of time is not desired by any Homeowners Association. It is for this reason that most associations require that we monitor and track common parking areas for vehicles that appear to be immobile for a period of time. The citation you received is nothing but a courtesy notice alerting you to the fact that your vehicle is now being monitored. After a specified amount of time (which may be anything between 24 to 96 hours, according to your neighborhood’s CC&Rs) the patrol officer will check back on the vehicle. If still unmoved, the vehicle will be considered to be in storage and subject to be towed at the owner’s expense. If according to our monitoring system the vehicle has been moved during the monitoring period, the citation is no longer valid and by your ruling CC&Rs, your vehicle will not be towed.

The ticket or inventory window is the look-back period of time for determining repeat citation or towing status and is based on previous citations. Most ticket windows are on a "continuing" mode, not calendar windows. Lets say your vehicle was first cited in March and your CC&R specifies a ticket window of 180 days, In this case, teh citation is valid and will count toward future actions against this vehicle until September.

We do not discriminate against anyone or play favorites. Our patrol officers do not know who is who or which car belongs to which person and strive to enforce all rules evenly, across the board, as specified by your ruling CC&R. If your vehicle was towed and your neighbor's vehicle was not, it is probable that there are other circumstances to which you are not privy to.

While this may feel like the most logical, courteous and effective measure, this system does not work for several reasons. Past experience across the entire industry indicates that while undoubtedly good natured, it backfires and rather than increasing parking compliance, it drastically decreases it. To avoid any confrontations, enforce established parking rules and achieve maximum results, we issue notices and tickets and tow rather than knocking on doors.

The property management authority may either wish to keep control of permit issuance and ask us to simply enforce parking regulations or allow us to fully manage all aspects of parking on their behalf. If your homeowners association is in charge of issuing parking permits, you may want to get in touch with them. If we are managing the process, please contact us.

This feature is popular with office-buildings that offer parking spaces, somewhat popular in homeowner associations depending on the scarcity of parking spots and security concerns and nigh-inexistent in shopping centers and malls. It is usually issued in places where parking spaces are a premium and restricted. These types of permits are becoming popular among residential properties nowadays since it is a great tool to enforce parking discipline among residents and avoid parking abuses. In some cases a parking permit is associated with a specific parking space that is issued and reserved just for you. Failure to comply with the parking rules or properly display your permits will usually provoke either immediate fining and/or towing of your vehicle. In cases in which you are issued a specific parking space, failure to park within that same parking space (even if you were parked in the space right next to it) is an offense. Parking permits come in many forms, shapes and sizes but usually take the form of hang tags to be placed in the arm of your rear-view mirror or actual stickers which adhere to the inside of your windshield.

Understand Towing Rights in California

1. How do I know my car was towed?

The private property owner is required to notify the local law enforcement agency within 1 hour of authorizing a tow. Also, the towing company must notify the local law enforcement agency of the tow no later than 30 minutes after removing the vehicle, or 15 minutes after arriving at the storage facility, whichever is earlier.

2. How was I supposed to know not to park there?

Before a car can be towed from a private property, the property owner must post a visible sign (at least 17"x22" with 1" letters) saying that parking is prohibited and that vehicles will be towed at the owner's expense. No sign is required to tow from private property in these situations:

  • If the vehicle was issued a notice of the parking violation at least 4 days (96 hours) before the tow.
  • If the vehicle is missing major parts, and the property owner notified local law enforcement of the parking violation at least 24 hours before.
  • The property is a single family dwelling.
  • 3. What happens if I was parked in a public parking lot?

    You may be towed from private property if you're parked in a private parking lot that is open to the public without a fee (like a supermarket or mall) if you're parked in violation of parking restrictions that are posted on the property. However, you can't be towed from a private lot that is free to the public until you've been illegally parked for at least one hour unless you are parked in a disabled space, within 15 feet of a fire hydrant, or in a fire lane or blocking the entrance to or exit from the property. You can be towed immediately if you're parked in the parking lot of a residential apartment complex or in a hotel parking lot if the space you are parked in is marked for a specific hotel room.

    4. I came back when they were still hooking up my car and they didn't allow me to go. Why is this?

    If you return to your car after it's hooked up to a tow truck and before it leaves the property, you do have the right to have the vehicle released from the tow truck. The only caveat is that you must pay half the normal towing fee.

    5. Who authorized them to tow my car?

    You may only be towed from private property If:
  • The property owner or their employee, or their agent OR
  • The commercial tenant or their employee, OR
  • A tenant of an apartment building of fewer than 15 units that does not have an on-site manager
  • The tenant provides a written request to the property owner within 24 hours of the tow that the vehicle was parked in their assigned parking space AND IF the property owner provides a statement to the towing company within 48 hours of the tow that the tow is authorized.
  • 6. What is a written authorization?

    In order for your car to be towed, there must be a written authorization for your vehicle that includes:

  • Make, model, VIN, license # of the vehicle
  • Name, signature, job title, residential or business address and working telephone number of the person authorizing the tow
  • Reason for the tow
  • Time when the vehicle was first observed parked on the property
  • Time that the authorization to tow was given
  • 7. My car was towed in the middle of the night and no one signed to authorize it. What are my rights?

    A vehicle may be towed from private property even if no person is present to authorize the tow if the property owner has signed a general authorization with the towing company. However, even with a general authorization, a vehicle may only be removed if it is:
  • Parked within 15 feet of a fire hydrant, OR
  • Parked in a fire lane, OR
  • Parked in a way to interfere with the entrance to and exit from the property
  • 8. Where are they allowed to take my car?

    The vehicle must be stored within a 10 mile radius of the property from which it was removed. A towing company can only take a car farther than 10 miles if they have written permission from a local law enforcement agency.

    9. How can I get my car back?

    You have the right to be able to contact the towing company and arrange for release of your vehicle 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. In addition, you have to receive a copy of the written authorization for the tow signed by a representative of the property owner (with personal information blocked out), or the General Authorization if no person was present to sign when the car was towed and a copy of a photo clearly showing the violation at the time the vehicle is released.

    Lastly, you have the right to receive a separate notice from the towing company with the telephone number of the local law enforcement that you can call if you believe that you have been wrongfully towed.

    10. How much can they charge me?

    You have the right to pay no more than the maximum legal towing and storage charges. Until July 2009 the maximum rate is:

  • $250 for the tow (Standard size car and no special handling)
  • $80 for each day of storage
  • No more than half of the initial tow charge as "gate fee" if your reclaim your car between the hours of 5pm and 8am
  • 11. Isn't someone required to notify me that my car was towed?

    The towing company is required to deliver a written notice of the tow to the registered owner, including grounds for removal, the mileage before the vehicle was towed, the time it was towed and the location of the vehicle. However, if they cannot find the name and address of the registered owner in Department of Motor Vehicle records, the towing company must report the vehicle to the Department of Justice as a potentially stolen vehicle.

    12. What are the penalties for towing a vehicle in violation of private towing laws?

    A towing company who fails to notify local law enforcement within 30 minutes of removing the vehicle may be liable for three times the towing and storage charges. Also, a property owner who fails to notify the local law enforcement within one hour of the tow is guilty of an infraction.

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