If you own or manage private property in Los Angeles, California, it’s essential to understand the local laws governing the towing of unauthorized vehicles. Below are the key legal requirements and procedures to ensure compliance and avoid potential legal issues.

California State Requirements (California Vehicle Code Section 22658)

Written Authorization

Before a vehicle can be towed, the towing company must obtain written authorization from the property owner or their agent, who must be present at the time of removal. This authorization must include details such as the vehicle’s make, model, VIN, license plate number, and the grounds for removal. For residential properties with 15 or fewer units, the property owner or agent does not need to be present if the tenant has verified the violation and requested the tow in writing within 24 hours. This request must be provided to the towing company within 48 hours [source].

Proper Signage

Signs must be posted at all entrances and exits of the property, clearly stating that unauthorized vehicles will be towed at the owner’s expense. These signs must be at least 17 inches by 22 inches in size, with lettering not less than one inch in height, and include the contact information of the towing company and local law enforcement. The signs must also include the section code 22658 CVC [source] [source].

Fire Lane Signage

Vehicles parked in fire lanes can be towed if there are signs indicating “No Parking – Fire Lane” or if the curb and ground are marked accordingly [source].

Immediate Notice

Once a vehicle is towed, the property owner or manager must notify local law enforcement within one hour. The towing company must also notify the vehicle’s owner of the tow, including details about where the vehicle is stored and the reason for towing. The vehicle must be entered into the Vehicle Impound Program (VIPU) system so that owners can locate their vehicles through a website or by contacting local police [source].

Storage Facility Requirements

The vehicle must be towed to a storage facility within a 10-mile radius of the towing location. The storage facility must be properly licensed and meet specific standards set by the state [source] [source].

Owner’s Right to Halt Tow

If the vehicle owner arrives before the vehicle is removed from the property, the tow truck operator must release the vehicle. However, a fee of up to half the standard towing rate can be charged if the vehicle has already been hooked up to the tow truck but not yet removed [source].

Tenant and Owner Responsibilities

Tenants and property owners must follow the parking rules and regulations of the property. Many properties have their own set of rules, and anyone may request these rules from their HOA, property manager, or, if leasing, the property owner [source].

Practical Steps for Compliance

To legally tow a vehicle from your private property in Los Angeles, follow these steps:

Post Proper Signage

Ensure that all entrances and exits have the required signs, with clear information about towing policies and contact details.

Secure Written Authorization

Obtain and maintain detailed written authorizations for all tows, ensuring all required information is included.

Notify Authorities Promptly

Contact local law enforcement within the required timeframe after a tow to comply with notification requirements.

Work with Licensed Towing Companies

Partner with reputable, licensed towing companies that understand and adhere to California and local laws.

Keep Records

Maintain detailed records of all towing activities, including written permissions and communications with law enforcement. This documentation is essential if any legal issues arise.


Understanding and complying with California towing laws is essential for property owners and managers in Los Angeles. By following these guidelines, you can legally manage parking on your property and ensure unauthorized vehicles are dealt with appropriately while avoiding potential legal issues. For professional assistance, Keystone Towing provides reliable towing services that adhere to California’s legal requirements.

For more detailed information, you can refer to the full text of the California Vehicle Code Section 22658 and other relevant local ordinances here.


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