Where is My Car? Ethics of Towing
Parking issues are often the cause of problems in a condominium because of limited space available in private parking areas and private roadways. The limited number of not only reserved parking for residents, but guest parking, becomes a factor. We have all heard complaints from board members about an owner being assessed fines for parking violations, only to have those fines paid and the owner to continue parking in the same unauthorized area.
The board has the power and authority to regulate the common elements in the Ohio Condominium Act, §5311.081(B)(4) and (B)(5), which includes the power and authority to regulate parking. Parking rules and regulations, like any other rule or regulation adopted by the board, must be reasonable. In addition, there are safety considerations with private roadways for fire lanes and ensuring there is sufficient space for other safety vehicles to enter and exit the condominium property.
An association may establish a “private tow away zone” pursuant to Ohio Revised Code 4513.60(B)(1) and (B)(2). These provisions permit the association to tow vehicles from any unauthorized parking area as long as the appropriate signs have been posted at all entrances of the condominium property. There are specific statutory requirements regarding the size of the signs, as well as, the language and statements contained within the sign. Before the board begins towing vehicles, be sure these statutory requirements have been met. In addition to the state statute 4513.60(B)(1) and (B)(2), a municipal ordinance may also apply depending on where the condominium property is located.
Although towing of vehicles should not be the first action taken by the board in enforcing parking rules and regulations, it is a strong tool that can be used when the need arises.
Be sure to contact our firm if you have any questions or need assistance with properly towing vehicles from unauthorized parking areas.
Ms. Strohm has been practicing law since 2004 and is a principal of the firm Williams & Strohm, LLC. As a member of the Ohio and Columbus Bar Associations, she is admitted to practice in all Ohio courts and the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. Read Robin Strohm's full bio.