Background Tow Ordinance – Chapter 35, Orange County Code – Adopted in 1998, amended in 2008 – This update Met with business owners, tow professional association, tow companies, Code Enforcement, Consumer Fraud, Sheriff’s Office Reviewed other recently updated ordinances (jurisdictions throughout Florida), tow data and complaints BCC work session July 29 PZC public hearing August 21
Background Ordinance covers – Trespass towing – Nonconsensual towing – Immobilization Towing is regulated by – Florida Statutes – Orange County Code – Some city codes
Background Recent issues – Increase in towing activity – Increasing percentage of towing in International Drive/tourist area Addressing issues – Update ordinance – Compliance – Awareness – Enforcement Towing Activity Towing in I-Drive/Tourist Area 3.5% 15.5% 7.7%
Proposed Ordinance Revisions Authorization for each tow Roam towing Signage Insurance Storage sites Rates Payment options Prohibitions
Proposed Ordinance Revisions Authorization required for each tow – Property owner/agent must provide authorization for each vehicle towed – Agents must be listed in towing agreement Roam towing – For multifamily residential – Towing from 12:00 midnight to 7:00 am without individual authorization – Additional signage and notification requirements – Photographs required
JurisdictionAuthorization required for each tow Roam towing for multifamily Certification/ licensing process Orange CountyProposedMidnight to 7 amNo OrlandoNoN/AYes Broward CountyYesNoYes Miami-Dade CountyYesNoYes Palm Beach CountyYesNoYes Lee CountyYesNoYes Leon CountyYesMidnight to 7 amYes GainesvilleYes24 hoursYes TallahasseeYesMidnight to 7 amYes Deerfield BeachYesNo Authorization for each tow, roam towing, and certification/licensing Proposed Ordinance Revisions
Signage – Tow signage required by Florida Statutes – Requirements added to code (including consumer information)
Proposed Ordinance Revisions Signage
Insurance – Liability and cargo coverage required – Insurance certificate filed with Sheriff’s Office Storage sites – Fencing – Lighting – Signage – Must meet all other code requirements Proposed Ordinance Revisions
Rates – Last updated 2008 – Set by vehicle class – Proposed increase in storage rate for Class A and B vehicles by $5 per day – Research fee of $5 for ownership search (expired tag) – Rates must be posted, along with other consumer information Proposed Ordinance Revisions
Payment New requirements – Accept credit and debit cards – Provide change for cash payment Acceptance requirements – other jurisdictions – Broward, Leon, Palm Beach counties, as well as Gainesville and Tallahassee require acceptance of credit/debit (Palm Beach County also requires acceptance of personal check) – Miami-Dade requires acceptance of either credit card or personal check – Orlando requires cash, money order, cashier’s or bank check Proposed Ordinance Revisions
Prohibitions – Employing spotters – Demanding drop fee if tow truck is not capable of towing vehicle – Requiring registration renewal before releasing vehicle – Providing false information Proposed Ordinance Revisions
Enforcement – Clarifying enforcement provisions – Designating Consumer Fraud as code inspectors – All law enforcement authorized to enforce in respective jurisdictions – Special magistrate process – Chapter 162 FS Proposed Ordinance Revisions
Revisions based on coordination with towing companies Proposed Ordinance Revisions
Revisions based on coordinating with tow companies – Issue: identifying tow truck drivers by name – Revisions: Use an identification number Proposed Ordinance Revisions PageItemLanguage 10(f)(2)d.Name of towing or immobilization service and the identification number of the tow vehicle operator 12(h)(1)b.The full name identification number of the driver initiating the tow 19(o)(5)d.The name of the towing or immobilization service, as well as the full name identification number and signature of the driver initiating the tow
Revisions based on coordinating with tow companies – Issue: identifying tow truck drivers by name – Revisions: File names and ID numbers with Sheriff’s Office Also adds requirement for photos of signage at storage site Proposed Ordinance Revisions PageItemLanguage 6(b)(3)Along with the agreement, the towing or immobilization service must submit: a.A map showing the location of the real property from which vehicles will be towed, with a ten-mile radius drawn around such property, and the location of the storage site to which vehicles will be towed; b.Photos showing the signage at the storage site; and c.A list of driver names and identification numbers.
Revisions based on coordinating with tow companies – Issue: changes to towing agreements would require towing to stop until change is filed with Sheriff – Revision: for the list of agents who authorize tows Proposed Ordinance Revisions PageItemLanguage 6(b)(4)Any modification to the agreement on file with the Sheriff’s Office, including If any change in the ownership of either the towing or immobilization service or the subject property changes or is modified in any way, requires that a new written agreement meeting the requirements of this article must be executed and filed with the Sheriff’s Office prior to any trespass towing from the subject property. For changes to the list of duly authorized agents, an addendum to the agreement must be executed and filed with the Sheriff’s Office prior to any trespass towing from the subject property.
Revisions based on coordinating with tow companies – Issue: requirement to keep certain documents in tow trucks – Revision: remove requirement to keep parking rules in tow trucks Proposed Ordinance Revisions PageItemLanguage 11-12(g)(4)…A copy of these provisions must be posted in the rental office, as well as a common or public area of the complex where they can be accessed at all times. A copy also must be maintained in each tow vehicle removing vehicles from the property.
Revisions based on coordinating with tow companies – Issue: roam towing not allowed for vehicles with expired tags; 10-day notification required prior to towing – Revisions: Require 3-business-day notification if tag is expired by a month or less Vehicles expired for longer than a month and vehicles that have received notice may be towed with no further authorization from property owner Proposed Ordinance Revisions
– Vehicles with expired tag Proposed Ordinance Revisions PageItemLanguage 12(g)(6)Exceptions to roam towing. Roam towing is not allowed for the sole reason that a vehicle’s registration has expired unless the registration has been expired for a period greater than one (1) month, or unless vehicles with expired registrations. For such vehicles, the property owner or the towing or immobilization service first notifies must notify the vehicle owner by affixing upon the window adjacent to the driver's seat of the vehicle, a sticker with a completely removable adhesive containing a warning that the vehicle will be towed unless the registration is renewed within three (3) business ten (10) calendar days. A photograph shall be taken documenting that such notice has been provided. If the registration is not renewed, the property owner may have the vehicle removed by providing express written authorization to the towing or immobilization service to remove the vehicle.
Additional revisions (clarifications/corrections) Proposed Ordinance Revisions PageItemLanguage (a) This ordinance shall be effective throughout the unincorporated area of Orange County, and within any municipality as provided by Section 704 of the Orange County Charter, as it may be amended from time to time, unless a municipality chooses to enact an ordinance covering the same subject matter, activity, or conduct as the County ordinance regulating towing, immobilization, and storage of vehicles. If a municipality has adopted its own ordinance covering the same subject matter, activity, or conduct as the County ordinance regulating vehicle towing and immobilization, then the County's ordinance shall not apply within such municipality… 9(e)(1)The facility is surrounded by a chain-link or solid-wall type fence at least 6 feet in height; and 21(a) (Rate Table) 4Nonconsensual tow, time beyond initial thirty (30) minutes at scene, per fifteen (15) minute block 5Trespass or nonconsensual tow daily storage per day (after initial non-fee period)