Proposed Changes to Towing Regulations Could Negatively Impact HOAs
On January 25th, a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was published by the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (“DORA”) in The Colorado Register to address a wide variety of issues – including the towing of vehicles from private property.
Currently under Colorado law, HOAs are permitted to enter into a contract with a towing company to have the company act as an agent of the association to determine whether a vehicle should be towed. In other words, associations can currently hire a towing company to periodically patrol for parking violations and tow vehicles which are parked in violation of an association’s covenants, rules and regulations.
While some associations contract directly with a towing company to patrol for parking violations and to tow when appropriate, other associations utilize a practice where a member of the board or a managing agent contacts the towing company to request that a vehicle be towed.
While upon initial review it doesn't seem this latter practice would be impacted by the proposed changes to the Public Utilities Commission rules regulating towing, the former practice would not be permissible. However, in addition to dealing with the issue of towing companies acting as the agent for associations, the proposed rules should be clarified to ensure that managers and managements companies have the authority to authorize a tow.
The proposed rules would also require significant signage relating to towing. Section 6508 (a) (III) provides as follows:
“A towing carrier may not enter into a contract with an owner or manager of a private property parking lot and nonconsensual tows may not be performed from private property parking lots without signage warning that unauthorized vehicles will be towed at the vehicle owner’s expense. Signage must be consistent with any applicable city ordinance. If no such ordinance exists, there shall be upright, permanent signs posted at the head of the parking spaces within the private parking area, numbering at least one sign per each ten designated parking spaces. Signs must warn unauthorized parkers that vehicles illegally parked will be towed away. All signs shall be no less than one square foot in size and with lettering not less than one inch in height. All lettering must contrast sharply in color with the background on which the letters are placed.”
To review all of the proposed changes to the rules regulating towing, take a look at Sections 6500 through 6514 of the proposed rules.
A hearing on the proposed rules will be held on March 11, 2013 at 9:00 am at the Commission Hearing Room located at 1560 Broadway, Suite 250 in Denver. Any associations, managers or managing companies wishing to testify on this issue are encouraged to attend and participate.
In addition, written comment on the proposed rules may be submitted by no later than February 11, 2013 through the Commission’s Electronic Filing System at http://www.dora.state.co.us/pls/efi/EFI.homepage. When submitting comment, you should reference docket number 13R-0009TR.
CAI’s Colorado Legislative Action Committee (“CLAC”) is currently carefully reviewing the proposed rules and will be submitting comment to the Administrative Law Judge on behalf of CAI. CLAC will also be sending out a Call to Action to members of CAI later this week which will include talking points and a template associations, managers, management companies and other interested parties can utilize to submit their comments to DORA. We will post that Call to Action on this blog once it has been sent to CAI members.
Winzenburg, Leff, Purvis & Payne will be drafting and submitting comments to the Administrative Law Judge on this issue and will post our comments on this blog. As always, stay tuned to this blog for timely information on all legislative and regulatory initiatives impacting HOAs!