Notice to Remove Illegally Parked Vehicle (actual, windshield notice and/or certified mail notice)

Purpose of the Form
This form allows you to comply with the statutory towing requirements in the event that a car is “dumped” or otherwise illegally parked on your property. It is not appropriate for use if you have, for example, a tenant who has not paid rent on a parking space.

When to Use
You would not use this form if the vehicle in question belongs to a tenant who has leased parking from you. However, you would use this form potentially if anyone, including a tenant renting another unit, for example, had no authorization to store a car on your property, yet left a vehicle on the property for any amount of time.

Obviously tenants do not need to rent parking space from you in the normal course of accessing their “ordinary/self-storage” units. If anyone parks a car on your property without authorization, you may use this form in order to be able to tow a vehicle. We normally call these types of vehicles “dumped” vehicles – they are vehicles parked, sometimes in the dark of night, and abandoned for some length of time. Maybe it is someone who has left town and your facility is near the airport. Maybe it is someone who wants to park at your property while they are visiting a friend, etc.

In the bigger picture, there are several ways to deal with these “dumped” cars. You may tow without any further notice if your written or oral notice that parking where they are parked is not allowed was actually received by the vehicle owner or operator. So if you see a vehicle owner parking and walking to the airport, for example, if you tell him to move his car because he may not park it there and he does not move it, you may tow the car without any further risk.

Probably the most common and “safest” way to deal with “dumped” cars is having the red and white towing signage at all entrances to your property. If you have the red and white signage at every entrance to your property detailing who may park there, giving the towing company phone number, etc., then if someone parks illegally on your property you may tow without any further notice. There are very detailed requirements for the font size, placement, and other requirements for these towing signs. These are described in detail in the TSSA Goldbook®, and are included in the “Texas Towing Statute” legal article behind the Goldbook® Legal Articles tab.

If you do not have the red and white signs posted at your facility entrance and you are not able to immediately give notice to an owner you see parking illegally, sending this form is your next best bet for getting a “dumped” car off of your property. You would fill out this form completely, as the form must be filled out completely in order to comply with all statutory requirements. Then you would put this form on the car’s windshield and you may then tow after either one of these occurrences: 1) the same vehicle is found parked later in another unauthorized parking space; or 2) you send this notice (certified mail) to the vehicle owner according to TxDMV records and the vehicle is not moved within 15 days of mailing the notice.

So, if the car is dumped on the property and just sits there, the earliest you could get the car towed is 16 days after the car is dumped. This is because you have to put this note on the vehicle, find out from TxDMV the vehicle owner’s mailing address, mail this same notice via certified mail to the address TxDMV has for the owner, and then on the 16th day, if the property has not been removed, a towing company can remove the vehicle.

In order to get the vehicle owner’s address from the Texas Department of Transportation, you must submit TxDMV’s Request for Motor Vehicle Information to either TxDMV or the county tax office, and you must give them the VIN.

Tips for Use
Make sure the form is filled out completely, attach it to the windshield of the car (under the windshield wiper is okay), find out the name and address of the registered owner from TxDMV, and mail the same notice via certified mail, return receipt requested, to that owner. Keep a copy of the notice and make note of the certified mailing number for tracking purposes. Keep a “tickler” for 15 days after you send the notice. At that time you may call a towing company to have this car removed.

If you have ongoing problems with cars being “dumped” on your property, you may wish to consider having the red and white towing signs installed at every entrance to your property in accordance with state law. A towing company is normally willing to assist you with the installation, and it is by far the most expedient way to remove unauthorized vehicles.

Lastly, before you remove a vehicle, I would recommend that you check and double-check that it is not the vehicle of one of your parking tenants inadvertently parked in the wrong space. While it is true that the car is illegally parked in a space not assigned to the tenant, it would seem best from a business perspective to first give the tenant a call and ask that the car be moved immediately before going through the towing process. This is one of the many reasons why it is so important to have a list, for all of your parking tenants, of license plate numbers, VIN numbers, makes of cars, etc.