36-144 Parking in driveway or on private property; tow truck operators.

A.    No person shall park a vehicle in any private driveway or on private property or private parking areas without the express or implied consent of the owner or person in lawful possession of such property.

B.    The owner or person in lawful possession of any private parking area shall be deemed to have given consent to unrestricted parking by the general public in such parking area unless such parking area is posted with signs as prescribed by this section which are clearly visible and readable from any point within the parking area and at each entrance thereto. Such signs shall contain, as a minimum, the following information:

(1)    Restrictions on parking.

(2)    Disposition of vehicles found in violation of the parking restrictions.

(3)    Maximum cost to the violator, including storage fees and any other charges that could result from the disposition of a vehicle parked in violation of parking restrictions.

(4)    Telephone number and address where the violator can locate the violator’s vehicle.

(5)    Each sign shall state "Phoenix City Code Sec. 36-144."

No private towing carrier acting under the authority of this section shall tow a vehicle from a private parking area unless the signs are posted as required by this subsection and contain all the information specified in this subsection, nor shall the private towing carrier charge fees in excess of the amounts specified on the signs.

C.    The fee that may be charged by a private towing carrier for, or in connection with, a tow from any private driveway, private property or private parking area, without the express permission of the owner or operator of the vehicle, shall not exceed the lesser of a reasonable fee or a fee limited as follows:

1.    The total charge to tow a vehicle, including all related services, that has reached the storage area shall not exceed one hundred five dollars.

2.    The total charge to load and unload a vehicle for which demand to release has been received prior to leaving the vehicle’s original location shall not exceed twenty dollars.

3.    The total charge to load, transport, and unload a vehicle for which demand to release has been received while in transit to the storage location shall not exceed forty dollars.

4.    No charge shall be permitted in connection with the release of the vehicle, including providing such access as may be necessary to view, prepare for removal or remove the vehicle.

5.    The charge to store the vehicle shall not exceed twelve dollars per day. For purposes of this paragraph the charge may be assessed for each calendar day or portion of a calendar day that the vehicle is stored, excluding the day of release if the day of release is subsequent to the first day of storage. Notwithstanding the foregoing, no storage charge may be made for a day for which:

(a)    The vehicle is recovered within two hours of its delivery to the storage location from which it is released.

(b)    Access to the vehicle was not available for a consecutive eight-hour period.

(c)    The vehicle was not available for release for two consecutive hours after the vehicle reached the storage location from which it was released.

(d)    The vehicle is recovered within the first two hours that the storage location was open for the recovery of that vehicle, if that day represents the first day that the vehicle was available for release for a consecutive two-hour period after it reached the storage location from which it was released.

All towing charges set forth in this section shall apply to the tow of a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight of ten thousand pounds or less. For vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of more than ten thousand pounds but less than or equal to twenty-six thousand pounds, all towing fees set forth in this subsection shall be doubled. For vehicles with a gross vehicle weight in excess of twenty-six thousand pounds, all towing fees set forth in this subsection shall be quadrupled.

D.    It is unlawful to tow or transport a motor vehicle from private property without the permission of the owner or operator of the vehicle unless such person receives a request from a law enforcement agency or the express written permission from the owner or the agent of the owner of the property that has complied with subsection B. A person removing a vehicle from private property under the authority of this section shall not act as the agent of the owner. The owner or the owner’s agent shall either sign each towing order or authorize the tow by a written contract that is valid for a specific length of time.

E.    No person shall hold or attempt to hold any vehicle towed without the consent of the owner of the vehicle as security for accrued towing or other charges. Nor shall any person require the owner of such a vehicle to give any security as a condition precedent for the release of such vehicle. A person may require the display of a driver’s license or other reliable means of identification from the person claiming such vehicle to assist in the billing and collection of towing and storage charges.

F.    The owner or any person authorized to represent the owner of a vehicle being towed or transported pursuant to this section may demand the release of the vehicle at any time prior to the transportation of the vehicle to a storage area. Upon such demand, the towing or transportation of the vehicle shall be considered complete and the tow truck operator shall release the vehicle pursuant to the requirements of subsection E.

G.    It shall be unlawful to demand or charge any fee in excess of that permitted by subsection C. In addition, any person demanding or charging a fee in excess of the fee permitted by subsection C shall forfeit its claim to any fee in connection with the towing or storage of the vehicle.

H.    Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, an abandoned vehicle may be towed from any private parking area pursuant to a written order from the real property owner or his agent. A private towing carrier shall not act as the agent of the real property owner. The real property owner or his agent shall sign the towing order, which shall specify each vehicle to be towed and shall not authorize the towing of an unknown vehicle at a future date. A private towing carrier shall not tow or transport a vehicle unless the towing order is in his possession. For purposes of this section an "abandoned vehicle" is a vehicle left in a private parking area for more than fifteen days, when it has not been left under a written contract of storage and has not, during that period, been removed by the person leaving it.

I.    A violation of subsection A shall constitute a civil traffic violation, and the violator shall be subject to a civil sanction of not less than sixty-five dollars nor more than two hundred fifty dollars. Any other violations of this section shall constitute a Class 1 misdemeanor. In addition to any other penalty that the court may impose upon a person who is convicted of a violation of subsection D, the court shall order the person to pay a fine of not less than two hundred fifty dollars.

J.    Any tow truck operator removing a vehicle under the authority of this section who shall fail to comply with each and every provision of this section shall forfeit its claim to a towing charge, a storage charge, or any other charge of any description, for or in connection with that tow.

K.    It shall be unlawful to attempt to collect a towing charge, a storage charge, or any other charge of any description, from the owner of a vehicle, or the agent of the owner of a vehicle, that was towed in a manner that was not in full compliance with this section.

L.    For purposes of this section, "private towing carrier" means any person who commercially offers services to tow, transport or impound motor vehicles from private property without the permission of the owner or operator of the vehicle by use of a truck or other vehicle designed for or adapted to that purpose.

(Code 1962, § 37-50.12; Ord. No. G-1486, § 1; Ord. No. G-2320, §§ 1, 2; Ord. No. G-2579, §§ 1—5; Ord. No. G-2873, § 1; Ord. No. G-3543, § 1; Ord. No. G-4248, § 1, passed 3-15-2000, eff. 4-14-2000; Ord. No. G-4709, § 1, adopted 6-15-2005, eff. 7-15-2005)

Cross referenceParking in violation of Zoning Ordinance, lot registration, § 36-148.