Towing of Vehicles - Towing Chart

Effective January 1, 2007, the California Vehicle Code was amended so that associations may tow vehicles for parking violations only if at least one of the following has been satisfied:

  • The required signage has been posted in accordance with the law;
  • The vehicle has been issued a notice of parking violation and 96 hours have elapsed since the issuance of that notice;
  • The vehicle is inoperable and the local traffic enforcement agency has been notified at least 24 hours prior to towing; or
  • The property upon which the vehicle is parked is improved with a single – family dwelling.

Associations should enter into written agreements with a towing company, which must be identified on the towing signs, requiring the towing company to comply with the requirements of the California Vehicle Code, including:

  • Providing notice to the local traffic enforcement agency within 1 hour of receiving authorization by the association to tow a vehicle;
  • Immediately giving notice to the owner of the vehicle of the reason for the removal, and the place to which the vehicle has been towed; and
  • Providing a copy of the notice to the proprietor of the facility (such facilities must be within a 10 mile radius of where the vehicle was removed), if the vehicle is stored in a storage facility.

Except as set forth below, each time a vehicle is towed: (1) the association must provide a specific signed authorization to the towing company and (2) a representative of the association must be present when the vehicle is towed. The towing request must contain the following information:

  • The make, model, vehicle identification number, if visible, and license plate number of the removed vehicle;
  • The name, signature, job title, residential or business address, and working telephone number of the person authorizing the removal of the vehicle;
  • The reason for the removal of the vehicle;
  • The time when the vehicle was first observed parked at the private property; and
  • The time that authorization to tow the vehicle was given.

Associations may provide written general authorizations to companies to tow any vehicle unlawfully parked within 15 feet of a fire hydrant or in a fire lane, or in a manner which interferes with an entrance to, or exit from, the property.

Any time an association needs to tow vehicles from handicap parking spaces, they need to ensure that their signage and procedures comply with Vehicle Code S22511.8.

Towing Sign Requirements


As provided for in California Vehicle Code Section 22658(a)(1), associations may tow vehicles, without first issuing parking violations, if they install proper signage. Signage at the entrances of developments must meet the following requirements:

  • They must be in plain view at all entrances to the property;
  • They must measure, not less than 17 inches by 22 inches in size, with lettering not less than 1 inch in height;
  • They must state that public parking is prohibited and unauthorized vehicles will be towed at the owner’s expense;
  • They must provide the telephone number of the local traffic enforcement agency; and
  • They must provide the name and number of the towing company that has an agreement with the association to tow vehicles.

Fire Lanes


Associations may give written general authorizations to towing companies to tow any vehicle unlawfully parked within 15 feet of a fire hydrant or in a fire lane, or in a manner that interferes with an entrance to, or exit from, the property.

Fire lanes must be properly marked. If the fire lane is not on a public street and is controlled by the association, the board can tow vehicles without further notice and without specifically authorizing each tow, provided the association has complied with all statutory requirements.

Boards should check with their local fire departments for requirements in their areas. Following are guidelines for marking fire lanes:

  • Curb tops and sides shall be painted red and the words “Fire Lane” shall be stenciled on the top and side of all curbs at a maximum interval of 50 feet. Letters shall be three inches (3”) in height with a minimum ¾ - inch stroke.
  • If the fire lane has no curbing, a 12 – inch wide red stripe with the words “Fire Lane” in white shall be painted along and parallel with the edge of the fire lane. The lettering shall be 8 – inches high with ¾ - inch stroke.
  • Signs must be 12 – inches wide and 18 – inches high, and read: “No Stopping – Fire Lane” Lettering shall be not less than one – inch in height and clearly visible and unobstructed by foliage.

Towing Chart


Violation (Language from Vehicle Code)When HOA Can Tow
Illegally parked within fifteen feet of a fire hydrantImmediately
Illegally parked in a fire laneImmediately
Illegally parked in a manner that interferes with an entrance to, or exit from, the private propertyImmediately
Illegally parked in a parking space or stall legally designated for disabled personsImmediately
Any area designated “No Parking” so long as signage is posted in accordance with the Vehicle CodeImmediately
A vehicle that has been issued a notice of parking violationUpon twenty-four (24) hour notice to the local traffic law enforcement agency
A vehicle that is parked upon a lot or parcel that is improved with a single-family dwellingImmediately

Coast Management of California