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Hi, my car was illegally towed from the street behind my apartment. Can I sue the tow company and the city?

Houston, TX |

The new sign that was apparently built last week had NO information about the tow company, which violates State law. They also only put ONE"no parking without permit" sign at each end of the street even though the other side of the apartment has MANY "no parking" signs on the street. Also, neither the house tenants on the street or the apartment managers were notified of these signs that suddenly popped up, and in fact, a guy had his own car towed from his own backyard last week. AND on top of that, the new sign has its arrows pointing RIGHT AT THE visitor parking area instead of the street, further confusing me. The visitor parking lot of the apartment they are pointing at actually has a big "tow away one" sign with the tow company name and number.

Attorney Answers 1

Posted

There may be important facts not included in your request. For openers, is this a private or a public street? The laws are different for each. Was the car towed by a municipal agency or agent or by a private tow company enforcing private "no parking" laws? Even if the tow would be unlawful because of non-conformity with applicable statutes regarding notice and signage, your target may not be the city if the tow company was enforcing a private parking restriction.

If you want to pursue this matter rather than just pay the towing and impound fees to get your car back, you will need to consult with an attorney in your area to be sure of your legal grounds based on the relevant facts.

"The law" is a very complex profession, and all specific legal questions will depend on a variety of facts that you may not think to include in your questions on this forum. I am not your attorney, and in answering your question you must understand that I cannot and do not give you legal advice upon which you are entitled to rely. At best, I hope that my answer, and others you find here, will give you a basis for better understanding of the issues you face so that you can provide complete information to a lawyer that you retain to give you advice and representation on which you can confidently rely.

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It was on 2200 Bellefontaine, between a street of houses and the The Maroneal apartment, where I live. The Maroneal has a contract with a different towing company. It was towed because they put up two new signs on the street for "no parking without permit 9-4." Since the sign was pointing toward the visitor parking lot, and I had a parking permit from The Maroneal, I assumed I was fine. I wasn't parking without a permit in the visitor parking lot! Plus, that sign did not exist before last week, and to me it looked like it was built to prevent too many non-visitors from parking in the visitor parking lots, which are pretty competitive. And when my apartment manager called the City of Houston, they said that starting in January of this year, they began issuing "residential area street parking permits" for each "zones." My apartment manager has never heard of it and thus could not warn any of us about it. Also, when the agent looked up the exact location where I was towed, she said no permit was even being issued for that particular spot, which confused both of us. They aggressively towed 7 cars from the same street last week, including some from people's houses, without notice or warning. To me, it just looks like the city is stealthily trying to make money off us innocent, hardworking residents, which really upsets me because they are using our tax money to do this. On top of that, when I asked the storage lot who gave them permission to tow my car, the male agent refused to answer me and said they are just a parking lot. However, after I paid, my receipt clearly stated that the tow company and storage lot has the same phone number and address. This whole deal is very unreasonable, fishy, and NOT transparent at all.

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