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Car Towing
Posted September 15, 2021 | 11:20 AM

Things to Know About Trespass Tow

Most complaints about towing companies involve vehicles that were towed from private property without the vehicle owner's consent, also known as a trespass tow. Hillsborough County has rules intended to protect motorists and regulate towing services.

Here are five things you need to know about towing regulations:

  1. Towing services need permission to tow from private property, and must post signs, with telephone numbers, saying that trespassing vehicles will be removed. Look for such signs when deciding where to park. If your vehicle is missing, look for a sign and call the number.
  2. Law enforcement can help motorists determine if their vehicle has been towed. If you don't see a posted towing sign, call authorities on a nonemergency line.
  3. Even if a vehicle already is connected to a tow truck, the truck operator must release the vehicle to its owner for no more than half of the towing rate.
  4. Towing services can only charge rates approved by Hillsborough County.
  5. Vehicle owners may retrieve personal property from their vehicle, regardless of whether payment for the tow has been made.

Full rules and regulations for trespass towing are available in Hillsborough County Code of Ordinances and Laws Sec. 50-171 through 50-199.

Complaints about improper towing can be reported to Code Enforcement Regulatory Compliance. However, Regulatory Compliance does not give legal advice and cannot take legal action on behalf of a complainant. Any alleged violation reported to the County will result in an investigation with all records, including the complaint, representing a public record.

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