NJ Towing Regulations – An Overview of Private Property Towing Guidelines and Rules in New Jersey
No one likes to have his or her car towed! Imagine the anger that will be directed toward you if you are the culprit behind that car being towed? Now imagine if the car was towed illegally and you had to pay for damages! Rules and regulations constantly change so it’s important to keep abreast of them. With respect to NJ towing regulations as it pertains to private property non-consensual towing in New Jersey, otherwise known as the Predatory Towing Prevention Act, it’s important to understand the bare minimum guidelines as outlined by NJ Division of Consumer Affairs (“DCA”) – Office of Consumer Protection. Our understanding of the critical guidelines are:
1) At All Entrances a Detailed 36 in. x 36 in. New Jersey DCA Approved Sign Must Be Posted
Read that guideline again. Most signs do not meet the three (3) feet x three (3) feet REQUIRED dimension – this alone is grounds for the putting you at risk. The sign must also include the following information:
- The purposes for which parking is authorized;
- The times when parking is permitted;
- That unauthorized parking is prohibited and unauthorized vehicles will be towed at the owner’s expense;
- The name of, and contact information for, the towing company and the address of the storage facility–which must be secure and located within a reasonable distance of the property–to which the vehicle will be towed;
- The charges for towing and storage and the times during which the vehicle may be redeemed; and
- Contact information for the Division of Consumer Affairs (1-800-242-5846).
- Click Here for the DCA Sign (not the most attractive)
2) The property owner and the towing company have a contract for the towing and the property owner has authorized the towing company to remove the particular vehicle.
It’s important that you have a contract with a reputable, courteous towing company. You will be spending money on sign creation, tenant notice and awareness. It’s best to make sure that you benefit economically since this can be costly. Equally important, you want to ensure that the other guidelines are met.
3) The tow company must adhere to the Predatory Towing Prevention Act which prohibits the tow company from the following:
- Failing to release a vehicle hooked or lifted, but not actually removed from private property, upon request of the vehicle’s owner;
- Trolling (cruising) for vehicles parked without authorization;
- Paying for information about vehicles parked without
- Refusing to accept an insurance company check or a debit card, charge card, credit card or check for towing or storage services, if the towing company ordinarily
- accepts such payment at its place of business;
- Charging for a towing or storage service not on the Division’s schedule of services; and
- Charging an unreasonable or excessive fee.
4) The tow company fees must be reasonable.
- “A reasonable fee is considered one that is no more than 25% greater than the company’s fee for the same consensual (vehicle-owner approved) towing services, or no more than 50% above the fees charged by other towing companies in the community for the same towing services without the vehicle owner’s permission.”
- Towing and storage charges cannot exceed rates set by town ordinance. Please be sure to check with your local municipality to verify that these rates are not exceeded by the tow company
5) The tow company must provide safe, secure and accessible tow storage during normal and after-hours
The vehicle must be stored in a secure facility;
The facility’s business office must be open to the public between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. at least five days a week; and
A towing company must make reasonable accommodation for after-hours release of stored vehicles. The towing company may charge for after-hours release.
This is just an overview. If we are missing anything, feel free to let us know. Good Luck and Happy, Safe Towing!