NJ Towing Regulations – An Overview of Private Property Towing Guidelines and Rules in New Jersey

NJ Towing Regulations – An Overview of Private Property Towing Guidelines and Rules in New Jersey
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VMC Management Private Property Towing Guidelines

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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
  • authorization;
  • 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!

20 Responses to NJ Towing Regulations – An Overview of Private Property Towing Guidelines and Rules in New Jersey

  1. Patty March 4, 2016 at 1:54 pm

    Where can you purchase the NJ tow away sign that fits the regulations

    • VMC November 3, 2016 at 3:47 pm

      You best option is to choose a towing company first. The towing company usually provides the appropriate signage for free or minimal cost.

  2. Rick Hoteck November 2, 2016 at 8:04 pm

    My Homeowners Association put up these NJ DCA Approved signs at the two entrances to our townhouse complex, one on the main entrance and one in our overflow parking lot. The sign in the main entrance is “really ugly” in our beautifully landscaped entrance.

    I have a few questions:
    1) The signs were posted to stop non-owners from parking in our overflow lot and in the Marina in the back of our complex (which is for dock renters only). Do we have to have a sign in the main entrance, or just in the entrance to our overflow and back by the Marina?

    2) Does the sign in the main entrance need to be within a certain distance from the main road, or can it be placed back 20 or 30 feet from the main entrance (’cause it’s so ugly)?

    • VMC November 3, 2016 at 4:50 pm

      The guidelines state that the signs must be placed at the entrance. I would suggest placing them in other areas as well co-mingled with other signs identifying those who can and cannot park in any respective area. You can “spruce” up the sign a bit though the use of color, border trim, etc. Just be sure that the signage content and size requirements are met.

  3. mark thanhauser November 3, 2016 at 8:02 pm

    Is a Pennsylvania tow company aloud to tow a car on private property in new Jersey

    • VMC November 3, 2016 at 9:34 pm

      I don’t think this would pose any problem. The NJ Department of Community Affairs “NJ DCA” has strict registration guidelines and towing capability physical and financial requirements (e.g insurance, reasonable rates, pickup location and hours, etc.), which are outlined in the NJ Predatory Towing Prevention Act. The intent I presume is to act as a barrier of entry to the market to those owners or towing companies to those who may take advantage of the situation because tow rates aren’t cheap.

  4. Julie Papocchia January 28, 2017 at 9:46 am

    I watch my granddaughter during the daytime at my daighters apartment complex and I back my car in because it’s an old car and should it need a jumpstart the front end is easily accessible. My dsughter received a notice that if I don’t frontin park my car I will be towed, is this legal?

    • VMC February 9, 2017 at 8:04 pm

      It’s uncertain. Some communities have additional restrictions such as having its residents back in or pull forward from parking spaces. These restrictions may be embedded in the bylaws of the association or perhaps in a parking rider. I would check these documents. I would also seek a variance from the complex stating the reason why. In addition, I would check with the Division of Consumer Affairs by calling 1-800-242-5846. In the meantime you may want to invest in 25’+ Cable Starter Booster Cables.

  5. Olga Ramirez February 14, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    My car was towed from the lot in my building’s parking property. I pay for my space but, because of the snow, i parked on the spot next to me. My neighbor, who parks next to me, had my car towed over the weekend without me being notified that I was illegaly parked. When I went to pick up my car on Monday I realized that my car was gone. Management called the towing company that had towed my car and they said that they would bring my car to me; they did not want me to go pick it up. When the driver of the tow truck came to me he asked me to give him the money and then he would tell me where my car was parked. It so happens that my car had been parked 8 blocks from where I live in a lot small shopping center and it had been parked there since it had been towed according to a neighbor of mine that saw it and thought it looked similar to my car but did not know that it was actually my car. I was not given a receipt because, according to the tow truck driver, I was given a good deal therefore, he was not able to give me a receipt. My card was towed by a truck from Garfield but was towed to Union City, NJ. I feel that there was something illegal with this whole procedure. Am I correct? Please advise.
    Thank you.

    • VMC March 24, 2017 at 12:35 am

      Sorry for the delay. Please call the NJ DCA Consumer Service Center at (973) 504-6200 immediately!

  6. Joseph March 19, 2017 at 5:29 am

    Are the signs really needed in store parking lots. The lot is for customers and once they are done shopping they take their car with them.

    • VMC March 21, 2017 at 9:16 am

      NJ Towing Regulations must be adhered to in any instance one plans to engage in towing vehicles off of the property.

  7. Vince March 23, 2017 at 10:30 am

    My HOA placed No parking/tow away signs along streets, but there is no actual sign that states who the company is, how much fees, where car will be towed etc… Isn’t this illegal or at least contrary to the NJ private property towing laws?

    • VMC March 24, 2017 at 12:09 am

      Take a look at the attached sign VMC Managment Towing Sign Examplebecause it should have information similar to it. If it doesn’t have this information, call the Consumer Service Center at (973) 504-6200.

  8. Laura Robinson March 24, 2017 at 12:06 am

    My issue is that my back yard is adjacent to an alley, and people keep parking their car in my yard. Im having a fence installed within the next 2 weeks, does the same posting rules apply if its not a parking lot?

    • VMC March 24, 2017 at 12:24 am

      As usual, it depends. It most likely isn’t necessary if the motor vehicle is parked:
      1) On a lot or parcel on which is situated a single-family unit;
      2) On a lot or parcel on which is situated an owner occupied multi-unit structure of not more
      than six units; or
      3) In front of any driveway or garage entrance where the motor vehicle is blocking access to
      that driveway or entrance.
      If there is any doubt, you can always call your local police department to ticket the car, then have it removed.

  9. Amanda May 5, 2017 at 11:45 am

    I work at a warehouse with a pretty small lot for the amount of people employed. The management has sanctioned (by painting numbers on) certain parking spots for management. My question is, can I be towed if i park in a numbered spot? (There is no signage anywhere in the lot, except the standard handicapped.) Thanks!

    • VMC May 5, 2017 at 3:50 pm

      You can be towed, albeit illegally.

  10. Lukman May 18, 2017 at 9:47 pm

    My vehicle was towed from orange train station for expired registration.
    After getting the release form, i was charged $45/day for storage at the towing company along with the elizabeth parking tax, towing and impound fee, is this beyond the state allowed rate?
    Is there anything like parking tax?

    Thank you

    • VMC May 27, 2017 at 11:37 am

      Anyone who has had their car towed can empathize with the financial drain is causes. While I’m not sure why you are paying the City of Elizabeth’s Tow and Storage Fees and not those of the City of Orange, ALL municipalities have charges such as this. If you would like to confirm those charges, you can usually speak with the appropriate individual(s) at City hall. You can also check to see if those fees are online. For example, the related towing fees for the City of East Orange can be found online at the following url -> http://ecode360.com/9567069.


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