(407) 836-5301 or Laureen.Martinez@ocfl.net
New Towing Ordinance Enforcement Begins in Orange County
Orange County, FL – A new towing ordinance takes effect in Orange County on Nov.1, 2014, protecting drivers from illegal towing. This ordinance provides clearer and more enforceable regulations to prevent wrongful, predatory towing of vehicles, which includes deceptive practices by towing companies and drivers, the employment of “spotters” who prey on uninformed visitors, and the towing of vehicles parked in areas that are void of any clear towing signage.
The new ordinance was created by the County’s Community, Environmental and Development Services Department following meetings with business owners, professional towing associations, Orange County Code Enforcement, Consumer Fraud and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.
The new ordinance regulates and requires additional signage that mandate links, via a QR code, to consumer information. Additional regulations include:
- Requiring additional documentation from towing companies, including company contact information and proof of insurance;
- Requiring authorization in writing from the property owner for each tow, with allowances for late-night towing in student housing complexes between the hours of midnight and 7 a.m.;
- Requiring towing companies to provide parking at their sites for people picking up cars;
- Additional storage site requirements with improved lighting, fencing, and signage;
- Requiring towing companies to take major credit or debit cards and provide change for cash payments;
- Prohibiting spotters who watch drivers park for the specific reason of calling a towing company;
- Penalties for tow companies, as well as a process for enforcing code violations.
The Orange County Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved the update to the towing ordinance after receiving complaints from residents and visitors. Several issues were identified during a year-long analysis by Orange County staff who reviewed the number of towing complaints. They found 116 complaints were filed with Consumer Fraud between October 2006 and June 2013. Thirty-three of the complaints came from visitors to the area. The volume of towing activity in Orange County has more than doubled since 2005 with more than 11,500 tows. The largest increase occurred in the tourist corridor along I-Drive.
The towing ordinance was first adopted by Orange County in 1998 and was previously amended in 2008. For more information on parking and towing, please visit our Towing and Parking Information page.