Establish Your Parking Lot as a Tow-Away Zone

Car being towed from tow-away zoneTow-away zones are regulated by Ohio law – are you in compliance?

Maintaining your parking area and preventing unauthorized parking in your parking lot is important.  Ohio law establishes the rules that private property owners must follow in order to establish their property as a private tow-away zone.  Recently, the law in Ohio has changed as to how a private property owner establishes a private tow-away zone.  In March 2015, Ohio Revised Code Section 4513.601 was revised and set forth new criteria for establishing your private property as a private tow-away zone.

Under this law, any owner of private property may establish a private tow-away zone only if all of the following criteria are met:

  • The owner posts a sign that is at least 18 x 24 inches in size and is visible from all entrances to the property.
  • The sign must include all of the following information:
    • A statement that the property is a tow-away zone
    • A description of those authorized to park on the property.
      • if the property is residential property, the statement may say that only tenants and guests may park, subject to the terms of the property owner
      • if the property is commercial property, the owner may include a statement that only customers may park in the private tow-away zone.
      • if it is not apparent which persons may park in the private tow-away zone, the owner shall include on the sign the address of the property on which the private tow-away zone is located or the name of the business that is located on the property designated as a private tow-away zone.
    • If the tow-away zone is not enforceable at all times, the times during which the restriction is enforced must be on the sign.
    • The telephone number and address of the tow yard where the vehicle can be recovered
      • Must be able to be recovered at any time – day or night.
    • That failure to recover the vehicle may result in the loss of the title provided by R.C. 4505.101(B).
  • The towing service must ensure that the vehicle  towed is taken to a location that is:
    • Located within 20 linear miles of the tow-away zone, unless not practicable
    • The tow yard is well-lighted
    • It is on or within a reasonable distance of a regularly scheduled route of public transportation, if available.

This new law has more stringent requirements on property owners when it comes to establishing a private tow-away zone.  In addition, the law has placed additional and stricter rules on the towing services.  Once you have established your private tow-away zone, you will need to locate a towing service that agrees to comply with its obligations under R.C. 4513.601 and stores the towed vehicles within 20 linear miles of your property.